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Buckskin Gulch

PUT THIS ON YOUR HIKING BUCKET LIST

Buckskin Gulch is the longest and deepest slot canyon in the Southwest, and while others are narrower, prettier or more challenging to explore, the length and variety of the terrain in the gulch make it the best overall. The canyon is narrow for 12 miles; the cliffs become steadily higher downstream, reaching a height of 500 feet above the streambed at the end, where Buckskin Gulch meets the Paria River which also flows through a deep canyon for several miles either side of the confluence.

Buckskin Gulch is best done as a two-day canyoneering and backpacking adventure.  The route can be done in one very long day. The route is about 21 miles in total.

WHAT TO EXPECT ON THE HIKE

You will need a 40-foot rope for lowering backpacks and as a possible hand line.  Scrambling is required for a few places and expect to hike through water.  In normal conditions, there are several miles of ankle deep wading as well as a few waist deep pools.  An occasional swim is not unheard of.  The pools can be very cold so make sure to dry bag all the items you want to keep dry.  The canyon is rated 2B V using the Canyon Rating system.

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WHEN’S THE BEST TIME TO HIKE?

The best time to hike the canyon is Spring and Fall as summer can be extremely hot.

FLASH FLOOD WARNING

These canyons have a very high flash flood potential so use caution.  Paria Canyon averages 8 flash floods a year.

PERMITS REQUIRED

Permits are required for both day and overnight hiking in Paria Canyon and Buckskin Gulch.  The fee is $6.00 per person per day for day hiking and $5.00 per person for overnight trips (current as of 2012). If you take your dog, the fee is the same, $6.00 per dog per day for day hiking and $5.00 per dog per day for overnight trips.

FOR DAY TRIPS

Permits for day hiking in Paria Canyon and Buckskin Gulch can be obtained at the self-pay stations at each trailhead.  There is no limit on day use.

FOR OVERNIGHT TRIPS

For overnight trips, you must apply for and purchase a permit in advance.  Overnight entry into the canyons is limited to 20 people per day.  This is cumulative total from all trailheads.  Overnight permits can be applied for and purchased on-line from the Arizona Bureau of Land Management. To obtain permits by phone call 435-644-1200

LOCATION

Buckskin Gulch (labeled on some maps as Kaibab Gulch, or The Dive) is 20 miles from Lee’s Ferry next to the Colorado river.

From Kanab, Utah drive east on Highway 89 for 44 miles to mile marker 20.9 and the signed Paria Canyon Turn-off on the south (right) side of the road.  Drive 2.2 miles down the well-maintained dirt road to the signed White House Campground.  The trailhead has vault toilets and primitive camping.  This is where your hike will end and where you should leave your car.

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