Buckskin Gulch in 1 day ->Wirepass to Whitehouse ~21 mi +Optional hike on Sunday

  • May 31, 2013 · 6:00 PM

Buckskin Gulch - Longest and deepest slot canyon in the Southwest - intimidating, sheer-walled narrows that extend for 12 miles

Photo: Buckskin Gulch, Utahthis picture above is a National Geo picture, the ones below are just with my camera... 

This year I am thinking of heading to this amazing canyon on the 1st weekend of June (weather permitting, Flash floods are possible - subject to cancellation).  You have to be in amazing shape to come with!  Although camping en route for one night is the most common way of doing this trip, why carry camping gear when the whole canyon can be hiked in one day?  Last year I swept, and was still through this hike in 7-8 hours.

RSVPs will be done the following way to avoid me going crazy.  I will take a $20 (+paypal feel) deposit if I don't know you.  This is mainly to ensure that you are committed to coming, and don't back out last minute leaving your fellow car 'poolers' unhappy.  If you show up, you'll get your money back (less paypal fees of $1-2).  How does that sound?

Quick Description:

Day 1 (Friday night): We'll drive up Friday evening (4-4.5 hours to Page, plus another 1-2 hours for the car shuttle), and arrange the car shuttle to the ending trail head.  WE NEED A VOLUNTEER FOR THIS, OTHERWISE WE'LL WASTE 2 HOURS IN THE MORNING! If you drive up early on Friday, please volunteer:) Then driving to and setting up camp at our starting point.

Day 2 (Saturday): Early Saturday morning we venture into this beautiful canyon, and while we will take plenty of photos (you will certainly want to), we'll keep moving as we have a long day ahead.  We'll check out the hieroglyphs on the wall, i.e. the longest snake, and finally hit Buckskin.  So far we have hiked ~4 miles...and another 12 to come in a narrow canyon!  If there is water on the bottom, this will be a tought and slow hike to get through this section.  Mud is possible at certain points, and we could have waist high water, in which we will be wading through.  If we are lucky, we'll hike through dry grounds the entire way.

At some point we'll reach an obsticle where we have to climb through depending on conditions.  A handline may be needed to guide us through this, plus to lower our packs.  Please expect to keep the pace of the group because you don't want to be alone in this section in case you need help getting through it.  Once we reach Paria, we still have another 4-5 miles to our destination.  Good news is, this trail is pretty much flat the whole way.  Bad news, if it rained within the last week, the bottom of the canyon might be very muddy, and any threat of rain will cancel /re-schedule our trip.  We will not take any chance!

Once we are back at the car, we'll drive into Page, and stay in town.  You, of course, have the option to camp out a second night (I will personally need my shower!!!).  We'll have dinner as a group, and hopefully party a little

Page 3 (Sunday): we have several options, depending on weather, time, and how the group is holding up after the previous long day.  All I can say is that we are NOT starting early in the morning, and would be great to be back in Phoenix by 8 pm the latest.

Option 1:  Cathedral Wash (this is a scenic, short canyon close to the Grand Canyon...about 1.5 miles long, basically a walk in the park - in canyon terms)

Option 2:  Jackass Canyon: this will take us down to the Colorado river, and is semi technical.  It has a couple of section with scrambles, and even a spot we have to use a handline to proceed.  This is a strenous option versus Cathedral Wash.

Option 3: Upper Waterhole Canyon:

Cost: gas money (~[masked] miles RT), $6 pp for day permit, and if you want to stay in town, the cost (shared cost) of the room.  Plus dinner Saturday night.

Length: (to the Paria confluence) 13.5 miles from Wire Pass, plus another 7+/- to Whitehouse.  Overall it will be ~21 miles in 1 day!

Difficulty: Moderate; few major obstacles apart from long muddy pools, but the full hike is long and tiring. High flash flood danger, and if there is rain a few days before the trip, or forecasted for this weekend, the trip will be cancelled / re-scheduled.

----------------------write up from American Southwest ----------------------------


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 theParia River which also flows through a deep canyon for several miles either side of the confluence. 

The walls of both canyons are rather dark, and the great depth means that the sun rarely illuminates the narrow passages fully, still, the walls of the gulch do show the characteristic swirls and curves worn by countless millennia of floods, and they are eroded into innumerable eerie rock formations which, given a vivid imagination and the right kind of light, can resemble all kinds of distorted creatures and strange objects.

------------------------write up from National Geographic--------------------------------

From start to finish, the Buckskin Gulch offers a subterranean tour of the layer cake that is the Colorado Plateau, beginning with the dramatic red rock of the Navajo sandstone and ending with the strata of the Moenave and Chinle formations. Traveling downstream through each layer, it meanders between fluted rock walls that reflect indirect sunlight in quintessential desert hues. Buckskin is the most impressive slot canyon hike in North America and likely anywhere: a 13-mile (21-kilometer) corridor of stone so deep you can barely see the sky and so narrow it sometimes forces you to remove your pack to get through. 

The gulch lies near Kanab, Utah, smack in the middle of the nation's finest region for desert hiking: It's north of Grand Canyon National Park, south of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, east of Zion National Park, and west of Lake Powell. But in the entire region, there's no start to a hike as dramatic as Buckskin Gulch's two-mile (three-kilometer) squeeze through the two-foot-wide passage of Wire Pass. Hikers then follow the sandy bottom of the gulch 13 miles (21 kilometers) to its confluence with the Paria River Canyon, a bizarre underground intersection of two drainages that's as hauntingly beautiful as it is abrupt. Hiking upstream, the narrows of the Paria River extend another five miles before widening and returning hikers to blue sky at the trail's end. In both the gulch and the Paria River Canyon, obstacles like deep pools, rock jams, and quicksand come and go, created and cleared by the frequent flash floods that make the Buckskin different each time you descend it. 

INSIDER ADVICE: Bring a 20-foot (6-meter) rope to lower your packs when descending rock jams.

 

Join or login to comment.

  • A former member
    A former member

    Long hot day, extraordinary scenery, nasty footing, killer hike that would love to do again!

    June 4, 2013

  • Aniko

    Thanks, Everyone, for the geat attitude, pushing through the pain, and finishing with a smile! You guys did awesome!!! As I said, most people do this trip in 2 day:)

    June 3, 2013

  • Mae N.

    Have fun everyone! Sorry I couldn't make it but look forwards to viewing your fotos afterwards.

    May 31, 2013

  • Aniko

    Small change in plan: hope you see it as you guys are already on the way!
    1) Bring a headlamp!
    2) Bring $6 cash (or check) for the permit
    3) Expect to carry ~2 gallons (6-8 liters) of water (plus food, electrolytes, sun protection, etc..) on the hike
    4) No need to carpool tonight. We will start from White House
    5) Meet[masked] am (pay your permit fee) at Wire Pass TH. So if you are sleeping by the time we get there, there is no confusion. We will carpool to White House in the am, and start the hike.
    Question? call/txt: [masked]

    May 31, 2013

    • Aniko

      4) "shuttle" - > not " carpool

      May 31, 2013

  • Nick H.

    I will likely drive, but will only have room for one other person in my Tacoma. I could possibly take two people, but the second passenger would have to sit in the extended cab for a long, cramped ride. I can meet in North Phoenix (Carefree Highway and I-17) at 4:15 if anyone would like to catch a ride with me. I would ideally like to get back to Phoenix in the early afternoon on Sunday. If I'm one of the early arrivals, I can certainly help set up the shuttle.

    I'm perfectly fine camping Friday night and whatever hotel situation on Saturday.

    May 28, 2013

    • Nick H.

      I've tried to call...but that number isn't valid. He can text or call me at[masked]

      May 30, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      Sorry![masked]

      May 30, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    I just arranged to borrow a buddies Ford Expedition so the dirt roads will not be an issue. Will also be able to haul more for car shuttle. Still have the issue of coming from ShowLow/Snowflake area not Phx. Can be at either trailhead in between 5 to 6 pm Friday night.

    May 30, 2013

  • Aniko

    Hi Everyone - expect an e-mail from me later tonight (might be very late) with some logistics, pls keep an eye on your e-mail. We have to figure out who is driving, b/c driving up 6 cars for 14 ppl is simply crazy (13 driving from Phx)! Plus don't forget that we all need to arrive at the same spot (except that nice person who drops his/her car at White House Friday night), and I would hate herding cats at 2 am! I can volunteer to ride with one of you (vs. driving) if driving is so important to you:) This is a fantastic hike, so we'll have fun. And unless I hear from you otherwise (no takers for Sunday's hike, therefore no need for a hotel --> everyone seems to think they will be pooped after the hike:) ), I will expect to make our way back Saturday night after the hike....it's doable, we can be back by midnight(ish) if we manage time well. If needed, we can stop around Flag for the night...play it by ear.

    May 29, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Hey there. I plan on driving but have a weird schedule. I will be leaving Phx area EARLY Friday morning as have to be in the Show Low / Snowflake area Friday from about 10 am to noonish. I've got to finalize a location for a Girl's church camp rappelling spot for the last week in June. I then plan on driving up to the trailhead and be there about 5pm for car camping. Driving a black 2011 Hyundai Elantra that seats driver +4. I'm certainly willing to help with whatever shuttle system we need to set up. I need to be back in Phx Sunday am about 11 so plan on working my way to at least Flagstaff Saturday after the hike.
    Pls let me know how I can be of assistance to make this hike AWESOME!!
    Mark[masked]

    May 28, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      While I can't go up with you, I might want to take advantage of your early return to Flag option...

      May 28, 2013

    • Aniko

      regarding early returns, I threw out the option to people to return Saturday night (maybe camp out / hotel Sat night around Flag if too late). I know if people don't want to hike on Sunday, I definitely don't want to waste time staying up there and drive back Sunday...sounds like you both want to return.

      May 28, 2013

  • Aniko

    hi Guys, we have 15 +/- , and wondering if either of you prefer to drive? Also, are you ok with camping Friday night, sharing a hotel Saturday night?

    May 28, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      Were you directly emailing me about driving up? I was hoping to shuttle with Kerry, but I can drive if I can take on a rider or two to share the gas costs...

      May 28, 2013

    • Aniko

      HI ken- you can definitely drive with Kerry, we have too many drivers as it turns out.... if needed for you to drive, I will let you know:)

      May 28, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    I can go with Kerry. Room for my pack and car camping bag? I could get to your area well before 5. Can I leave my vehicle parked at your place, Kerry?

    May 28, 2013

  • Al P.

    going kayaking instead

    May 27, 2013

    • Aniko

      your call...this will be more fun:)

      May 28, 2013

  • Mae N.

    Hi Aniko, amazing this canyon! I wonder will there be any canyoneering involved?

    May 27, 2013

    • Aniko

      most likely dry..no canyoneering in this canyon. 1 single downclimb if needed.

      May 28, 2013

  • Aniko

    I personally like the Quality or Comfort Inn (whichever is on the hil) $105/ night + tax = ~$120 which is $30 pp if 4 share a room. Let me know what you think, the cheapest is in the $80 range per night + tax http://www.expedia.com/Hotel-Search?storedCheckoutField=&storedCheckinField=&lang=1033#startDate=06%2F01%2F2013&endDate=06%2F02%2F2013&adults=2&star=0&lodging=all&regionId=2776

    May 24, 2013

  • Sean C.

    I can also leave early but can not drive, the Cherokee is on the fritz. I have no problem pitching in for gas & splitting a room w/ someone as well

    May 24, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    I can be a driver, or will gladly be a passenger and help pay for gas. I can also pitch-in on a room. I am inclined to get back to Phx as soon as possible on Sunday, but that's not mandatory.

    I guess we need to wait and hear more about the logistics from Aniko for more info about the camping set-up, gear needed for that, any shuttle service, etc.

    May 24, 2013

  • Al P.

    I can leave early and will share a hotel room with someone

    May 24, 2013

  • Aniko

    Hello Everyone, I will send out some logistics shortly, but it might be just after the weekend when I come back.

    If you are able to go up early (hopefully 2 cars), can one of the cars volunteer to park at the White House Trailhead? We'll camp out Friday night close to the Wire Pass TH, I will give directions, but if you guys can leave 1 car at the "arriving" TH, and the driver can be driven to our "starting" TH, we'll save about 2 hours in the morning, and can get straight on the trail. Let me know if you are leaving early, the group will count on you for the shuttle. I am myself planning to leave between 4-6 (depending when I can leave work), and have 3 seats available. Let me know if you want to ride with me. Btw, there is ~45 min of detour due to the road collapse.

    The count is ~16 for carpool.

    Lastly, please let me know if you want to share a hotelroom Saturday night (usually 2-4 per room, obviously pricing depends on your comfort level:) Thx...happy trails!

    May 24, 2013

  • Sean C.

    Can I get in on this?

    May 13, 2013

    • Aniko

      added you

      May 21, 2013

12 went

This Meetup is community funded

$10.00/year

Member dues are used to:
  • Cover Meetup costs
  • Encourage more engaged members
  • Have a reserve fund
  • Provide supplies or equipment
  • Improve Meetups

30 day free trial

No credit card required

After the trial you must pay dues to continue attending Meetups.

Cancel dues at any time.

Dues are billed each year.

Our Sponsors

People in this
Meetup are also in:

Create a Meetup Group and meet new people

Get started Learn more
Bill

I started the group because there wasn't any other type of group like this. I've met some great folks in the group who have become close friends and have also met some amazing business owners.

Bill, started New York City Gay Craft Beer Lovers

Sign up

Meetup members, Log in

By clicking "Sign up" or "Sign up using Facebook", you confirm that you accept our Terms of Service & Privacy Policy