Buckskin Gulch

Grand Canyon Hiking Trails

Trail Head: 37.020083, -112.022352
Trail Type: Hiking
Difficulty: Strenuous
Length: About 21 miles one-way

Many people rate Buckskin Gulch as their all-time favorite hike. The route goes through a beautiful slot that runs continuously for about 15 miles. (It may very well be the longest slot canyon in the world). It is deep, dark and narrow, with plenty of obstacles to make it fun. It is not a technical hike, but is rated as strenuous because of its length. You do have to scramble over rocks and wade/swim potholes.

Buckskin Gulch is located along the Utah/Arizona border, near Kanab. It can be done as a long day hike, if you are in good shape, but is best as an overnight backpack. The recommended route requires a shuttle. It is also possible to day hike from either trailhead, returning the way you went in.

Permit are needed to day hike and to backpack in this area, which is part of the Paria Canyon/Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness. 

Spring and fall are ideal times but hike, but people do this route year-round. Summer temperatures are very hot. During cold months you need a to wear a wet suite or some such insulation as you make the wades.

Wire Pass Trailhead

(37.020083, -112.022352)

The recommended route begins at the Wire Pass Trailhead, goes down Buckskin Gulch, and then goes up the Paria Canyon slot to the White House Trailhead and your waiting shuttle vehicle. There is a good panel of ancient petroglyphs in Wire Pass Wash, just before its confluence with Buckskin Gulch.

Middle Trail Escape Route

(37.031167, -111.921746)

The slot runs for about 15 miles, with just one spot where normal people can escape, if needed. Near the middle of the narrows, the slot is not as deep (only about 100 feet) and a crack runs up to the north rim. Experienced hikers can scramble up this crack to get out of the canyon if it looks like flood potential is developing.

Buckskin/Paria Confluence

(37.001389, -111.865833)

Camping is only possible in a few spots in the narrow canyon. Two of the best campsites are located just above the confluence of Buckskin Gulch and Paria Canyon. Another panel of ancient petroglyphs can be seen near the confluence.

White House Trailhead

(37.078035, -111.890017)

From the confluence, the recommended route goes up Paria Canyon and ends at the White House Trailhead.

Lees Ferry

(36.862635, -111.597814)

Serious backpackers can start at either trailhead and hike Paria Canyon to Lees Ferry - taking 3-5 days. People who know this area consider Buckskin Gulch to be the most enjoyable segment, so don't bypass that if you elect to make a long hike.

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