Wire Pass Trail is a 3.7 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Kanab, Utah that features beautiful wild flowers and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until October.
Wire Pass is a short drainage that joins the much longer Buckskin Gulch slot canyon, and provides a convenient entrance point, enabling hikers to bypass the upper 4 miles of the gulch which are shallow and less interesting than the 12 miles downstream. From the trailhead, the streamway is 1.75 miles. For the first mile from the trailhead, the walk is along a wide, meandering streambed between low reddish cliffs, over soft sand that makes progress rather difficult. Signs discourage hikers from taking short cuts across the grassy banks inside the bends of the stream, since this can cause erosion. There is not much to see at first, except various lizards - the drainage is home to quite a few examples of the large desert spiny lizard, a species more interesting than most with colorful patches of orange, black and blue. The surrounding cliffs become gradually higher and closer together, and the last half mile has two good deep stretches of narrows. At the end of the second slot the cliffs open out suddenly at the confluence with Buckskin Gulch; downstream is a deep and enclosed one mile section before the gulch becomes quite wide for a while and so this would be a good target for a half day hike, for those who want just an introduction to the Buckskin canyon system.
Great short, easy, hike through a very nice slot canyon that looks like pictures you've seen of cool red-rock rippled-by-water slot canyons.
Right before you enter the initial slot, look on your right for a cairn and an arrow made of rocks pointing up slope so that when you return out of the initial slot (because it is now blocked by a drop that you cannot scramble down), you can walk up, over, and around the large rock formation/hill and back down to the other side of the first slot's opening. Another slot starts starts again soon and you can walk through it to the confluence with Buckskin. At this confluence there is a large, awesome blind arch on the right. We wondered if it would evolve into an open arch at some point in the long march of geological time. Wire pass was dry but Buckskin was wet, sticky, heavy mud and we could only go north or south on that trail for a 100' or so.
Guide books say not to drive on road to the trail because the mud will 'make a mockery' of your 4 wheel drive. More to the point is that the road will likely be impassable because of numerous washes which cross it (they would be flowing with water).
The turn-off from the highway to the road which leads to the trailhead is easy to miss, so watch out! Couple miles of bumpy driving, but once you arrive it's well-marked and there's an available restroom.
Be aware there's the $6 per person fee! It's an envelope system and the receipt is placed on your dashboard. Logbook is at trailhead as well.
The trail itself was beautiful, much of it passes alongside or through a wash. We got caught up in some rain just as we were leaving, so just keep an eye on the weather since flash flooding would be especially dangerous through a slot canyon!
Canyon was gorgeous and perfect in the mid-afternoon where we were there, but as some others have stated there is a bit of a drop off in the middle of the canyon. I'd approximate the drop to be about 10 feet and it's very difficult to navigate without a hiking partner since you can't really see your holds as you descend.
Highly recommend, both the drive and the hike were absolutely gorgeous and well worth the time!
Great Hike. Did it late March with my 9 yr old. There is one technical move in the first slot canyon section. Bear hug the Boulder and let your left foot find the rock and you are set. I carried my 9 yr old down this section. Totally worth it one you get past here.
Quiet and beautiful. It was very windy when we hiked last week so would recommend keeping a bandana or scarf handy to protect your face drone blowing sand. One dry waterfall to down climb that was a little tricky but totally doable with a buddy.
Amazing! Just amazing! Rock slide made the entrance a bit difficult to navigate but it's a must see.
Completed as part of a point to point hike from Buckskin Trail Head to Wire Pass Trail Head. Great Hike which included some nice slot canyon hiking. Was planning on hiking back to the Buckskin Trail Head but was able to get a ride back by 2 kind photographers coming out from a day at the wave.
Hiked to the T at Buckskin Gulch and back. Beautiful slot canyon, petroglyphs, and rock formations. We wanted to go to "The Wave" but didn't have a permit. It only took us 2 hours.
For 12.5 miles the gulch is enveloped in a very narrow gorge 100 to 200 feet deep, flanked by vaulting, convoluted walls of Navajo Sandstone. Wire Pass, a gorge carved through The Cockscomb by Coyote Wash is the most popular entry into Buckskin Gulch. It is short but its narrows are even more confined than Buckskin. I completed this as a 4.5 day backpack with 3 others from my hiking group in Sedona, Az back in May 2010. Check out my website https://buckskinparia.shutterfly.com/ for info/images.
nice short easy trail to see slot canyons
This is a easy hike after driving a well-traveled dirt road for 8 miles (a passenger car can make it - even saw a minivan). After paying your day use fee in the parking lot (I say that b/c when we were there the ranger did come down the road to clean out the collection box and issued 2 tickets to cars not displaying day use receipts) the trail begins across the street from the parking lot. Soft sandy dry river bed leads you to what are classic photo worthy slot canyons. The real surprise and treat is at the end where you get to the "T" (w/Buckskin Gulch) and 400 ft walls and petroglyphs await. Beautiful, easy, short and kid-friendly (5yo kid friendly). Do not miss.
Easy access to a dramatic slot canyon. From route 89 don't miss the poorly marked turn off onto rock house road. Continue to the second parking area for wire pass. Follow the seam bed across from the parking lot for about three quarter mile to the beginning of the slot.
The canyon quickly narrows. There's a couple of spots where you need to clamber up or down and a hand is helpful as the rocks are smooth without much to grab.
About halfway through the canyon briefly opens up and a short scramble provides a nice view of wave like formations in the distinctive vermillion cliff color and curved patterns.
After about a mile and a half the wire pass ends in a "T" at the buckskin gulch. We turned north (left) and continued for another mile or so through dramatic narrows.
We started at three and got in, messing around in buckskin gulch and out in less than two and half hours. Nice petroglyphs at the intersection of we're pass and buckskin.
A short out and back that joins Buckskin Gulch. There are a couple of scramble points that may require an extra hand to help.
Rock formations are amazing. Some nice glyphs where Wire Pass joins Buckskin Gulch - unfortunately a few recent additions have been made to the canyon wall. If in no rush would recommend taking some time to explore Buckskin Gulch as well.