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Wire Pass to Buckskin Gulch, UT

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Guide 28 Triplogs  1 Topic
Rated  Favorite Wish List UT > Southwest > Jacob Lake N
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Difficulty 0.5 of 5
Distance 3.4 miles
Trailhead Elevation 4,914 feet
Elevation Gain 180 feet
Accumulated Gain 183 feet
Kokopelli Seeds 4.01
varies or not certain dogs are allowed
editedit > ops > dogs to adjust
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29  2018-05-08
Wire Pass to Lee's Ferry
outdoor_lover
14  2017-11-10 friendofThunderg
5  2017-10-02 rcorfman
9  2017-07-30 Hansenaz
43  2017-04-01
Buckskin Gulch TH to Wire Pass
cdeperro
42  2017-03-31
Buckskin Gulch TH to Wire Pass
cdeperro
42  2017-03-11
Wire Pass - Buckskin Gulch - Paria Canyon
ddgrunning
8  2016-10-06 AZBeaver
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Author HAZ_Hikebot
author avatar Guides 16,882
Routes 16,052
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Trips 1 map ( 6 miles )
Age 22 Male Gender
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2010-03-10
    WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

    Most recent Triplog Reviews
    Wire Pass to Buckskin Gulch
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    Gosh do I wish I could have got on @Chumley and @John9L's backpacking trip last year after hiking a little bit of this one on Friday! This area speaks for itself and really needs no praising or hype. It is truly a special place.

    In terms of day hiking, unless going along way, I don't think an early start is absolutely necessary, as you will be in the shade most of the morning. We started around ten and seemed to get some pretty good light at times, in fact, the Iphones rarely saw our pockets on this day. I love the fact that this canyon is dog friendly and we had no problem paying the six bucks admission per pup. Although, we carried our ticket with us not realizing we were suppose to put it on display in car, so even despite paying, we got a written warning, oops! We did not see too many people either, a few tripod carrying photags on the way out, but that was about it. An amazing place and worth the drive. I hope to backpack the entire length to Lee's Ferry in future.
    Wire Pass to Buckskin Gulch
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    Wire Pass - Buckskin Gulch - Paria Canyon
    I have had this trip on my radar screen for several years. When @chumley and @John9L posted detailed triplogs, photos, and route information from their adventure last March (thank you!), I could resist no longer.

    So, with my three teenagers (17, 14, and 13) heading into Spring Break, I targeted the permit timeline and put in for a trip down what is touted as the longest slot canyon in the world, and then beyond.

    My wife was a little hesitant to sign on, but when I told her: (1) there would be no way to escape a flash flood for miles--making this one of Backpacker Magazine's 10 most dangerous hikes in the U.S.; (2) there would be freezing cold pools of water to wade through (and perhaps-- :o --swim through); (3) there would be quicksand to navigate; and (4) everyone would have to use "wag bags" and carry around their poop for four days--she was ALL IN!! :lol: :y:

    Permits:
    A couple of notes.
    Overnight entry is limited to 20 people per day (no limit on day hiking, which involves a self-pay permit at the TH). You can apply for overnight permit 3 months in advance via the BLM's on line permit system (e.g., permits for March are available on Dec. 1). The glitch we had with the permit system was that they make you pick them up in person. They say this is so that: (a) they can give you your wag bags (which come with the cost of the permit) [a crappy reason--pun intended], and (b) so they can size you up and see if you are really prepared for this kind of adventure [perhaps a better reason, but still a pain in the rear for someone coming from out of Arizona]. Normally, people like me can get around this by picking up the permit on the way to the trailhead at the Paria Contact Station just off of Highway 89. That wasn't an option for us, since the station is closed in the winter months and doesn't open till around March 15.

    After a few phone calls and emails with the BLM ranger, including sending him confirmation that we had purchased our own wag bags and sending him a detailed trip itinerary, he agreed to mail me my permit.

    Planning:
    In addition to the great triplog resources of HAZ, I took @Chumley's advice to search hashtags on social media in an effort to get the most current conditions. This was surprisingly successful, as I was able to get feedback from several folks who had been in the slot in the couple of weeks prior to our trip.

    Day 0--Friday March 10: Lee's Ferry Campground
    Traveled to Lee's Ferry Campground after the kids got out of their 1/2 day of school. Earlier that morning, I got a call from our shuttle driver, wondering where we were. Confused, I told/reminded him that our shuttle was for tomorrow morning. He had written down the wrong date. Oops! ](*,)

    We arrived at the campground in the early evening, set up camp and then went down and enjoyed the moonrise to the sound of the Paria Riffle on the "beach" just down stream from the boat launch. The full moon was scheduled for Sunday, so we were in for some bright evenings in the canyon.

    Day 1--Saturday, March 11: Wire Pass to just shy of Buckskin/Paria Confluence (14 mi.)
    We awoke early and packed up for the shuttle to Wire Pass TH, where we would start our adventure. We went with Grand Staircase Discovery Tours ($175 for 4 people; an extra $50 for each person beyond that). Our shuttle driver, Jim, was good company on the drive. He indicated that most people had been scared off of starting at Wire Pass, due to the number and depth of the freezing cold pools in Buckskin. He applauded our chutzpah for tackling it anyway. Most recent intelligence on trail conditions was from the BLM Ranger, who emailed me after hiking from Middle Route exit back to Wire Pass TH the Wednesday before our trip:

    "There are quite a few pools of very cold water for a few miles before middle route that were waste deep on me and I am about 6'2". The main problem I ran into was the slippery mud surrounding and within these puddles. I highly recommend bringing trekking poles to help keep you balance, and to test water depth. I believe that the longest pool was about 100 ft long but I am not very good at judging distance when I am that cold. The temperature of the canyon was actually pretty pleasant with a light jacket on, just be careful not to slip into the pools. The temperature of the pools was enough to make my legs go numb for a while."

    Back to the shuttle: Instead of going around through Page, Jim took us up from the south side on House Rock Valley Road, which peels off to the right, just as you hit the base of the climb up to Jacob's Lake on 89A. The road was dry but heavily rutted, indicating it would be a real pain to drive this road after a solid rain. On the drive in, we stopped at the Condor Release site, saw a group of 8 pronghorns, passed by the State Line campground, and arrived at the Whitehouse TH about 8:15 a.m.

    After strapping on our packs and hitting bathroom for the last time before wag-bagging it kicked in, we were off. The weather turned out to be perfect. It was unseasonably warm outside the canyon (low 70s) with nothing but sunshine in the forecast for the area, all the way up to Bryce Canyon (where the drainage to Buckskin begins).

    Shortly after entering the slot (about 1.4 miles into the hike), we hit the "chock" which involves a 8-10 ft drop. Jim had told us there is an alternate way around the chock, which is accessed via a side path to the right, just before you enter the slot, which then goes up and over/past the chock and drops back into the slot. We did it both ways just for fun. The side route is a little easier to navigate, but still involves a somewhat slippery descent back into the slot.

    From that point on, it was a lot of photos and oogling at the amazing slot. We took our time; stopped at the petroglyph panel at the confluence with Buckskin and then headed down. We hit our first unavoidable pools about 3 miles or so in, but there were just a couple and they were very short. Finally, about a mile or two before Middle Route Exit we began the real pool-hopping. My kids kept track of the numbers. In all we crossed through 32 pools before hitting Middle Route. They were--as advertised--freezing cold! The 100-ft estimate from the BLM ranger proved a bit exaggerated. Only about 3-4 were more than 30 feet long (longest maybe 40-45 ft.) and only one or two were waist-deep. Despite the nice temperatures above on the rim, we could see our breath in the slot. For footwear, we wore retired running shoes and thick wool socks. They did a great job of insulating and we were happy with that choice.

    At Middle Route exit, we dropped our packs, scrambled up to the petroglyph panel and tested how difficult it would be to scramble out. Not too bad, if the rock is dry and without a pack. With a backpack on, it would be a definite challenge.

    After a short break, we moved on. We didn't expect to have to cross through any more pools, so we were surprised when there turned out to be 4 more required wadings. All were short though.

    At the Rockfall, the Rabbit Hole was open, but had been washed out, leaving a fairly significant drop 6-8 feet into a decent-sized pool of water. At a minimum, it did not present a better option than the other two routes. We ended up using the "middle" route down, lowering our packs by rope (which we brought) and then awkwardly scrambling down, using some mule tape. The drop is not all that far, but the angles of the rock make the descent difficult and truly awkward. Traversing this obstacle took us a lot more time than I was anticipating.

    Given our time at the Rock Fall and our generally leisurely pace, we ended up not getting to our campsite, 1/2 mi. upstream from the Buckskin/Paria Confluence until after dark, and we hiked the last mile with headlamps. Despite that, only one other group was at the camping area, and we ended up with a great spot. We were beat and at that point were happy that we carried enough water in that we did not have to go filter in the dark. The evening was cool, but not bad. Everyone was in bed before 9 p.m. Total hiking time: 10 hours 30 minutes.

    Day 2--Sunday, March 12: Paria Confluence to 3/4 mi. past Judd Hollow (14 mi.)
    We awoke on Sunday, cleaned up camp and headed down to the confluence, which was basically, "around the corner." We dropped our packs and marched the 0.6 mi. up the Paria to check out Slide Rock Arch. We were surprised how cold the Paria was. We had read it would be warmer, and it did feel warmer later in the day--perhaps it was because the ambient temperature had not warmed up as much.

    After Slide Rock Arch, we returned to the confluence, strapped on our packs and soldiered on. Going down the Paria seemed a lot more like hiking the Narrows at Zion--generally a bit wider that the slot of Buckskin, but with towering, sheer cliffs on both sides. This continued for day 3 as well.

    Along the way, we stopped for lunch and took the side trip around the abandoned meander at Oxbow. At Big Spring, we ran into a group of 8 college students who were also on their way to Lee's Ferry, but were spreading it out over 5-6 days, so were not on nearly as aggressive a schedule as we were. They were the last humans we saw for the rest of the trip, until just before we arrived at Lee's Ferry.

    We experienced quicksand all along the way. It is more fascinating than dangerous. As long as you step quickly after getting sucked in, it's usually not a problem to avoid getting stuck. But is kind of amazing to step on what you thought was solid and all of a sudden sink down to mid calf or knee--especially if the person in front of you "primed" the spot with his/her stepping on it.

    Navigation is of course not too hard, and on day 2 it was generally easy to know where you should cross or which side of the river to travel on. That got a little less clear on days 3 and 4.

    The biggest question/risk, was often whether to try "cutting off" a big bend in the river by going overland. I say risk because, some of the overland routes end up being choked with dense foliage--just ask my calves and my broken hiking pole ... : rambo :

    We saw some petroglyphs and passed the pump at Judd Hollow and arrived at the prime camping spot where @Chumley and @John9L stayed. What a great location. The spring just up river was great. Total hiking time: 8.5 hours.

    Day 3--Monday, March 13: Judd Hollow to 1/2 mi. before high and dry route (12.5 mi.)
    At exactly 4:18 a.m., we were awoken by the sound of rock sloughing off the canyon wall and crashing down into the base of the canyon. When we got up in the morning, we could see where the rock had broken off about .25 mi. upstream and about 100 feet or so up on the canyon wall, with signs of the rock leaving scrape marks on the walls as it dropped to the floor of the canyon. It was a cool reminder of the "living" and ever-changing nature of the canyon.

    We headed down stream to Wrather Canyon, where we dropped our packs and hiked up to Wrather Arch. This side canyon had a great spring/stream and is a very lush, riparian area. The final climb to the arch in the sun was a little warm, but well worth it. Because of the angle of approach, you can't actually see the arch until you are almost right under it. What an impressive feature!

    After oohing and aahing and taking a bunch of pictures, we headed back, ate lunch and then continued on our way. We saw more petroglyphs around what Chumley dubbed the "rocky rapids" area; tanked up on water at the "last reliable spring," and were glad we did, as there wasn't much to filter at Bush Head Canyon, another mile down.

    In the last part of day 3, it became a little more challenging to figure out the best path down the canyon (which side to be on; where to cross; etc.) No big deal, though. In our group, we often all went a little different routes.

    Arrived at our final camp, which was a great little spot about 3/4 mi. shy of the beginning of the high and dry route. There was some grass, trees and some good rocks/logs for makeshift chairs.

    We watched the moon rise on what was now an ever-widening canyon, and then hit the hay for the last time on our trip.

    Day 4, Tuesday, March 14--to Lee's Ferry (11 mi.)
    At the end of Day 2, I had develop shin splints, especially on my left leg. I had never experience this before. It was a pain and I was worried about my ability to make it the last 25 miles. My 17 year old daughter was nursing a couple of rolled ankles and my 13 year old daughter had had some feet issues as well. Ultimately, we all just powered through and still managed to enjoy the rest of the trip (though my leg/foot remains sore several days after ....).

    Shortly after starting the high/dry route, we came to the somewhat sketchy traverse. My wife opted out and just dropped down to the bottom of the wash and hiked past the traverse to where she could connect back up. Frankly, in hindsight, that's probably the best option and really not any slower than carefully managing the traverse.

    The canyon really opens up on the last day, and it got pretty warm. Although still beautiful, it was hard not to feel that the scenery was a bit more monotonous. For diversion, our hiking was broken up by a pair of paragliders coming down into the canyon off the nearby cliffs. At first, we wondered whether they were planning to just hike out, but then we heard and then saw the helicopter fly in and pick them up. Wonder how much that cost?

    We stopped for lunch at the Willis Ranch ruins. Nothing more than a seep of water there, and then continued out the rest of the trip. Took some photos at Lonely Dell Ranch and then finished off the hike.

    I found it interesting that one of the most beautiful backpacking trips I have ever done ends with a 1/2 mi. hike on the paved road back to the parking lot ... :-k

    We stopped at the Marble Canyon Lodge for hot showers ($2.50 in quarters), then headed to Flag for dinner and on to the Valley that evening.

    What a fantastic place and a wonderful trip. Glad to have enjoyed some quality "unplugged" time with my family. Great memories. :y:

    I think I literally took 1,000 photos. When I pare them down a bit, I'll post them.
    Wire Pass to Buckskin Gulch
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    Wire Pass - Buckskin Gulch - Paria Canyon
    This was an excellent short-notice trip that came about by way of a couple of cancellations to a trip a friend had been planning. I was happy to take up the slack and it was great that 9L was also able to come along.

    We drove to Lees Ferry and spent the night at the campground before catching a shuttle to Wire Pass at dawn the next morning. Our shuttle ride was likely the most life-threatening part of our trip, and thankfully the only time the van actually drove off the road, it was under 25mph and didn't involve a cliff or other certain-death result. Oblivious to the vehicle, I selfishly decided not to mention the flat tire on the trailer-- which I noticed immediately and would certainly delay our start-- opting instead to get to the trailhead. Of course, after dragging it for 3 miles on a dirt road, the tire was shredded and I volunteered to put the spare on while some of the group got a head start on the hike. A BLM officer was at the TH checking permits and making sure everybody was prepared.

    Day 1: Once we got started we headed down into Wire Pass. Just over a mile in you enter the first slot canyon and it involves climbing down a rock jam that apparently has gotten bigger in recent years. We had to take our packs off and hand them down to each other as we each climbed down the obstacle. Shortly thereafter, the canyon opened up again before reaching the confluence with Buckskin Canyon and the petroglyph panel on the right.

    We were pleasantly surprised at how dry the canyon was and didn't reach our first water until about 5 miles in. There were a few short, ankle deep pools before it dried up again and we were hoping that would be the worst of it! Of course it wasn't and the deepest of the pools are scattered over the last mile or two before reaching the Middle Exit trail. From there however, the canyon provided for dry feet, which was a welcome change given the hypothermic temperature of the pools and the numb feet we all had regardless of footwear. Neoprene and thick wool were simply no match for the water temperature and there was a good 30-60 minutes of numb feet for all of us.

    4.5 miles after the Middle Trail, we reached the infamous rock fall, but the rabbit hole was open and getting through it didn't even involve removing our packs. Another mile later and the canyon introduced a stream of clear spring water which ran all the way to the obvious camping area about half a mile later. Two groups had already set up camp so we didn't get the best site, but after a long, cold, wet day we were all happy to get camp set up and relax and eat. The cliff walls in this canyon make for impressive acoustics and there's no whisper or secret to be told that all the other camping groups in the vicinity wouldn't hear. Luckily I had downloaded the newest Justin Bieber album and was able to share it with everybody even on very low volume :y:

    The first day totals were just under 14 miles in just under 8 hours.

    Day 2: Saturday morning we took our time getting started and headed out of camp around 9:30 and it was a whopping 5 minutes before we arrived at the confluence of the Paria River. These two slot canyons coming together with 800 foot cliff walls above make one of the most magical places I've ever been.

    From the confluence, we headed up the frigid Paria a bit more than half a mile to check out the pseudo-arch called Slide Rock Arch. It's really just a huge slab of rock that has fallen in the river, but water flows under it so it makes for a unique geologic formation. After a few minutes here we headed back to the confluence and then onward toward Lees Ferry. (The side trip to the arch and back too just under an hour).

    This upper portion of the Paria is truly stunning, winding its way through narrow slots of red sandstone walls towering above you. I was generally awestruck for a few hours! 3 miles below the confluence we stopped for a snack break on a shelf with a great campsite and large cottonwood. 1.5 miles later, Ryan and I left our packs by the river and explored a defunct meander in the river. It was a bit under a mile to do the horseshoe loop and fascinating to think back to a time when this was the river's course.

    Here the group split up a bit and it was another 7 miles before we reached our camp for the night, a bit under a mile beyond Judd Hollow. A group of three had arrived before me, with 3 more behind. There was a great sandy bench with cottonwood trees that provided a perfect campsite, and a fantastic artesian spring surrounded by quicksand just a hundred yards away. The 13.5 miles had taken nearly 8 hours to complete, and another night by the party lights was anticipated and highly enjoyed.

    Day 3: After the previous day had taken longer than planned, we attempted a slightly earlier start on Sunday morning, and managed to head out of camp 8 minutes earlier than the day before. :roll: It was just 2 miles to Wrather Canyon where Ryan, 9L, LL and I had pre-decided we wanted to take a side trip up to see Wrather Arch while the others continued on downstream. Wrather is absolutely phenomenal! :DANCE: It's the largest arch in Arizona, the most remote arch in the US, and the largest arch not in Utah. At over 200 feet it's a true behemoth to stand under! And it sits at the end of a stunning and beautiful side canyon loaded with shade trees and a beautiful creek.

    Highlight of the day completed, we headed back out the the Paria and an additional 8.5 miles downstream toward our planned camp at the start of the high water route, about 10 miles from Lees Ferry. Along the way we filtered water at the last known spring about 2.5 miles from our campsite, though we would learn there was also water at Bush Head Canyon which could have saved just under a mile of carrying the weight of extra water. This ended up being a 12 mile day and took about 8 hours (including Wrather side trip).

    Day 4: Monday we actually managed to get up early for real, and hit the trail around 7. Ryan had hiked out the night before in order to get back to town for a commitment and 9L, Rachel and I took the speedy trip out while LL, Sreekar, and Sadhana opted for a less strenuous pace. The high route provides a bit over 2 miles of river-free hiking, though there's a sketchy side-slope traverse just under a mile into it. Once reaching the river again, there are a dozen or so required crossings. After 5 miles we reached the old ranch site where we took a snack break under the cottonwood trees and checked out the old corral. There's a spring here that was flowing, but none of us needed water so we didn't check it's quality. I don't see why it wouldn't be perfectly good to filter. One assumes that's why the ranch was built there to begin with.

    The last 5 miles drag on quite a bit, but there are now well-established routes along the banks and river crossings become fewer until you make the final one 2 miles from the end. As we reached the Lonely Dell Ranch we saw two day hikers near the cemetery, and cruised the trail and road back to the car. Route Scout recorded exactly 10.00 miles on the day -- to the hundreth. We managed the exit in just a couple minutes over 4 hours, which left plenty of time for a leisurely drive home, with stops for ice cream, pizza and wings along the way!

    All in all, a fantastic trip in one of nature's most majestic cathedrals. :)

    I've taken some time to post a detailed GPS track that includes a bunch of points of interest. There are many more springs along the Paria than those I marked, and other places that are ok for camping, especially for a smaller group than ours. In Buckskin Gulch, there are no sources of water that aren't marked, and the only other camping spot would be on a rock shelf near the Middle Trail exit. Photos are geocoded based on time and speed traveled. In the narrowest parts of Buckskin they might be off by a few hundred yards, but the rest are quite accurate. (Through a glitch in the way I put it together photos and GPS track don't show up together automatically. This link works though: hikearizona.com/map ... 1878)
    Wire Pass to Buckskin Gulch
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    Wire Pass - Buckskin Gulch - Paria Canyon
    This trip started for me roughly 2-3 weeks beforehand. Chumley went kayaking with a group and said one of them has extra permits and asked if I wanted to go. I jumped on the chance. All of the logistics were planned and I just needed to show up. These last minute trips are some of my favorites and this turned out to be another winner with a great group!

    Chumley and I drove up to Lee’s Ferry on Thursday night and met the group at the campground. We had a few beers and turned in relatively early because we have an early start and a big day planned. The trip will cover 45 miles over four days. It’s going to be a lot!


    Day 1 – Friday March 18th
    Our shuttle driver named Betty arrived promptly at 6am and we were off to Wire Pass in Utah. The drive took two hours with a quick stop at McDonalds in Page. We arrived at the trailhead to discover a flat tire on the trailer. It was a fiasco getting it changed because Betty couldn’t find the right key for the locked tool box that contained the tire iron. Luckily she eventually found it and the tire was quickly changed. We started hiking a little after 9am and the adventure began!

    I hit Wire Pass with Sreekar & Sadhana & we made our way through. It was relatively easy going other than the eight foot drop a little ways in. We took turns and passed the packs down and continued hiking down canyon where we hit the junction with Buckskin Gulch. From here we have roughly 12 miles of slot canyon with a handful of pools that are waist deep. We found the beginning of Buckskin to be dry and rocky. We made good time as we admired this magical place and took a variety of pictures. We continued on and I sped ahead. This slot canyon goes and goes and feels like a cathedral at times. The walls rise hundreds of feet above you and make you feel trapped. This is a lot different from all the other hiking I’ve done in Arizona & Utah.

    After an hour or so I stopped and waited for Sreekar & Sadhana to catch up and we then hit the Boulder Jam. It took some scouting to figure out the best route through. It’s not a big deal but we did have to pass packs down at one point. The rest of the group caught up to us at this point as well. We all got down fine and continued on and made good time until we hit the wet section. All I knew going into this is there are 3-5 waist deep pools per the BLM. I wasn’t expecting the 20-30 muddy pools we had to wade/slog through. The going was very slow and it really helped having a stick or hiking poles. I grabbed a stick before Wire Pass and was glad to have it through here. We pushed through and I found the deepest pool at thigh deep. The water was cold and muddy but we got through fine.

    Around the midway point the slot canyon opened up and we took a break at the Middle Route. As far as I know this is the only place you can exit Buckskin besides either end. The route out looks sketchy but doable. We enjoyed some sunlight here because sun was nonexistent through the wet section. We didn’t know if more water was up ahead. Luckily we were done with the wet stuff. After break we continued on and I cruised ahead again. The miles ticked off and I found myself at the Rockfall. The BLM told us the rabbit hole is open. In wet times there is a bypass that requires a rope. The worm hole is fairly straightforward and not difficult at all. I spent some time here so the rest of our party could catch up. Once we had everyone together we hiked another half mile or so to the campsite.

    We arrived at the camp roughly a half mile above the confluence to find it occupied by two other parties. Luckily there is plenty of room so we grabbed a site and settled in for the evening. All of us were cold, wet and tired and were glad to be done. Clear water was nearby and we had everything we needed. We spent the rest of the evening relaxing at camp surrounded by party lights. The first day was over.


    Day 2 – Saturday March 19th
    We took our time and started slowly in the morning. Everyone had breakfast and got situated for the hike. The plan for the day was roughly 10-11 miles. We finally started hiking around mid-morning and mad quick time to the confluence with the Paria River. This spot is so magical words can’t do it justice. It feels like you’re indoors as this area is very tight with walls hundreds of feet high. The Paria River was flowing turbid and cold. We dropped packs here and made the half mile hike up canyon to see Slide Rock Arch. This is a huge rock that split the river in two. It is definitely worth the effort. After taking a handful of pics our group returned to the confluence and continued hiking.

    The rest of the day flew by as we hiked down Paria Canyon. Your feet are wet the entire time as you’re constantly crossing the river or walking right through it. We made steady time with lots of breaks but we were in no rush. All of us were in heaven and just soaked it all in. Along the way there are a variety of springs and no shortages of camping available. It felt like we hit another camp option every 1-2 miles. Our goal was a camp just past Judd Hollow and we arrived there around mid-afternoon. We selected a site under a cluster of Cottonwoods that was elevated above the river and had a spring nearby. This was the perfect site!

    We all settled in for another night in the canyon. Everyone filtered water and ate dinner. Several of us were having feet and ankle issues but nothing major. The night time temps were pleasant and got a bit chilly but comfy overall.


    Day 3 – Sunday March 20th
    Our third day started slowly as well. We wanted to cover another ten miles so there was no rush. We had breakfast and a few people topped out their water. Our plan was to hike roughly ten miles with a stop at Wrather Arch and then camp at the start of the high water route. We need to get water at the last reliable spring roughly a mile or two before our planned camp.

    We departed camp around mid-morning and headed down canyon roughly two miles where Wrather Arch branched off. It’s roughly three quarters of a mile to the arch and only a few of us were making the trip without our overnight packs. The rest will continue down canyon. I went for the arch ahead of the others. This side canyon is very lush with clear water flowing down the center. The going was relatively slow as you hike up the creek bed and/or follow the use trails. I finally get to a nice overlook where I can see the arch and I’m surprised by the size. Wrather Arch is huge and looks really far away from my vantage point. I took a few pics and then headed back for the river. I passed the others on their way to the arch and then hit the Paria where I grabbed my backpack and continued down canyon.

    I hiked the next hour solo and really enjoyed Paria. The canyon is breathtaking and every turn offers more spectacular views! It never disappoints. I eventually caught up to Sreekar & Sadhana and hiked with them for a few minutes. Sadhana is having some foot issues and is hiking slow. I told them I would continue on and will wait for them down canyon. I continued on and caught up to Rachel about 30 minutes later. We hiked together for a bit and knew we were getting close to the last reliable spring. We decided to stop to wait for the rest of the group so we didn’t accidentally pass it. Most of the group caught up to us & from there we continued down canyon and stopped for water at a spot with clear water. I’m not sure if it was the last reliable spring or not. All of us loaded up on water and then hiked another 2-3 miles selecting a camp near the high water route.

    This will be our last night in the canyon. Ryan had a commitment on Monday so he ate dinner and hiked out that evening. The rest of us settled in to a relatively warm and comfortable night. The skies were overcast but no threat of rain. It was a very relaxing & pleasant night.


    Day 4 – Monday March 21st
    Our final day in Paria Canyon started very early. Everyone was up by 6:30am because we wanted an early start to beat the heat. I tore down camp and skipped breakfast. All of us were hiking by 7:15am. We’re looking at another day of roughly ten miles but we know this should be the easiest stretch. There are only a dozen crossings and most of the hiking is on shelves above the river and are relatively high speed travel.

    The group started out together but splintered into two separate groups about a mile into the hike. Sadhana was still having foot issues so Sreekar and LL stayed with her. Chumley, Rachel and myself pushed forward and made a solid pace. The going was relatively easy and we kept our feet dry on the high water route. We eventually dropped back to the Paria River and had to cross it a handful of times. We took a break around the five mile mark to eat some snacks and soak in our final day. From there we made the final push and continued all the way back to the cars at Lee’s Ferry. The three of us drove back to Flagstaff and met Ryan for lunch at NiMarco’s. He had no issues hiking out the night before. The rest of the group were out roughly two hours after us. Unfortunately Chumley and I headed back to Phoenix without a proper goodbye.


    Final thoughts
    This was a hell of an adventure but was not easy. The terrain is very challenging even though it’s just about all downhill. The slogging through the river really takes its toll on your feet and ankles. I wish I wore Neoprene socks but I got by okay in my pair of Darn Tough socks.

    Thanks for LL & Sreekar for organizing and setting up all the logistics including the camp at Lee’s Ferry and our shuttle ride. This was an awesome trip with a great group! Give it a go if you’re looking for a serious adventure to parts of Utah and Arizona fee people get to see.
    Wire Pass to Buckskin Gulch
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    Did this with a 1:30 PM start as we toured upper antelope canyon in the AM. With friends Rich, Sue, Richard, Korina and wife Judy. When we did this a few years back, in October, in the AM and sun filtering through the canyon was much better. Not sure if it's time of year or time of day, but not much filtered sun in the Wire Pass area this time. Still is a fantastic hike! :y: Guessed on the distance as my GPS lost signal numerous times in the slot canyon. The few mud puddles were not an issue. Now $6 per person at the self pay station. A ranger had been through the lot leaving notes on vehicles asking that next time leave your paid stub on your windshield. You are asked to leave your auto lic plate number on the pay stub so they can check who paid if they want to. Talked to 3 hikers who were coming out of the permitted area "the wave" without permits. They said the light was not good for photography in the afternoon and that rangers are probably checking for permits in the AM.
    Wire Pass to Buckskin Gulch
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    Had a 9 AM start for first time in the Paria Canyon, Wire Pass area. WOW! :sweat: Took loads of pictures and stopped a lot to take in the views. Sun was lighting up the slot canyons so for this time of year the morning was better for pictures than on our way out. We hiked for about 2.5 hours from TH into Buckskin Gulch and turned around. On the way back we went into Buckskin Gulch for about 30 minutes and turned around...back to the convergence and out Wire Pass. See why most people go in Wire Pass rather than Buckskin. Plus it's longer. Got to be one of my favorite hikes! With wife Judy and hiking buddy Korina.

    Permit $$
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