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Buckskin Gulch TH to Wire Pass, UT

Guide 5 Triplogs  0 Topics
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Difficulty 2 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance One Way 4.4 miles
Trailhead Elevation 4,853 feet
Interest Seasonal Creek
Backpack Yes
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36  2021-05-08 00blackout
6  2020-03-28 FOTG
5  2020-03-25 FOTG
43  2017-04-01 cdeperro
42  2017-03-31 cdeperro
author avatar Guides 3
Routes 40
Photos 666
Trips 40 map ( 191 miles )
Age 51 Male Gender
Location Phoenix, AZ
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Preferred Oct, Apr, Mar, May
Seasons   ALL
Sun  5:45am - 7:20pm
Official Route
0 Alternative

This 2nd choice to Wire Pass should get some attention.
by cdeperro

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Most people who hike Buckskin Gulch do not hike from the Buckskin Gulch trailhead unless they have to. And they might have to if House Rock Valley Road, an unpaved but maintained dirt road leading from US 89, is wet. The road is typically pretty good for the 4 mile stretch from US 89. After that, it can be very muddy, and there's a lot of clay, so basically it's impassable when wet.

I recommend that people try this even if they can get to the Wire Pass trailhead (4 miles further on House Rock Valley Road). Wire Pass is for those who don't like a build up to an event. There, you walk almost directly into the narrowest part of any slot canyon in the vicinity. From Buckskin Gulch, you start off with some amazing scenery--just not a slot canyon. Undulating sandstone formations in the first mile or two of this hike are gorgeous. You can really see how they were formed from shifting sand dunes. And the broad valley you hike in gradually begins to narrow...and you know you're headed toward a slot canyon. There's a point at which you think you've entered's about 20 feet high...but it's just a pinchpoint; you come out to a broad wash after a few hundred feet. But soon enough...about 3 to 3.5 miles from the enter the actual beginning (or end?) of the famous Buckskin Gulch slot canyon.

It gets deep very quickly. There are some rocky footings at times, and it can be a bit squishy walking in the sand if it has rained. But mostly this section is a sandy floor and good walking if hard packed. It's a bit more level than the area of Buckskin below the Wire Pass confluence. After about a mile in the slot canyon, it broadens out a bit at the confluence with Wire Pass. When arriving here, look for the large arch on the south wall of Wire Pass, right where it meets Buckskin. The lower left portion of the arch has petroglyphs worth looking at. And a trail register box not far away. Notice also the large sand deposits, showing that at some point in the past, Buckskin Gulch was dammed further downstream and let that sediment bury the floor of the canyon as much as 50-75 feet.

From here you should wander a bit up Wire Pass, which is only 2 feet wide at its narrowest point, before turning around. You can also easily wander downstream a bit further in Buckskin Gulch, but note that this section is more rocky, has more pools, and has no exit for about 6 miles (Middle Route), and that's not an easy exit nor an obvious one.

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2017-04-06 cdeperro

    One-Way Notice
    This hike is listed as One-Way.

    When hiking several trails on a single "hike", log it with a generic name that describes the hike. Then link the trails traveled, check out the example.
    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.

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    FR / Jeep Road - Car possible when dry

    To Buckskin Gulch TH Trailhead
    From Page, AZ at the dam (Carl Hayden Visitor Center), take US 89 west approximately 33 miles to House Rock Valley Road. Watch carefully for the "House Rock Valley Road" sign and arrow. The turn is NOT obvious, and it is a LEFT turn on a 50 mph bend in US 89, just after a passing lane ends near a large cut in the sandstone for the road. There is NO left turn lane so be very careful if someone is close behind you! After turning, take House Rock Valley road for approximately 4 miles to the signed Buckskin Gulch trailhead.

    From Kanab, Utah, take US 89 east approximately 42 miles to House Rock Valley Road. Turn right. After turning, take House Rock Valley road for approximately 4 miles to the signed Buckskin Gulch trailhead.

    A map, trail register, and self payment envelopes are at the trailhead, along with a single pit toilet.
    2017 - $6 per car, half price if National Interagency passholded

    From SLC (I-15 & I-80) 5 h 44 min (358 miles)
    From St George (I-15 & Bluff) 2 h 16 min (125 miles)
    From Moab (Main & Center) 5 h 15 min (313 miles)
    page created by joebartels on Apr 06 2017 10:28 pm
    90+° 8am - 6pm kills
    Avoid Heat Illness - stay cool

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