Explore the most popular Camping trails in Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness Area with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Did the route over 10/31 to 11/3–three and a half days. Amazing trip!!! Given the lateness of the season there wasn’t much water in the gulch, only a couple of pools of mostly frozen mud. I was able to wear hiking book throughout the gulch and didn’t get my socks wet. We never did see the dreaded cesspool—yea for us! Hiking down the Paria River was more difficult than expected even this late in the season. I’d recommend 3 mm wetsuit booties and Keens for foot wear. Hiking poles are a must for this trip.

backpacking
fee
flooded
icy
muddy
rocky
scramble
11 days ago

I expected a difficult trail, but this surpassed that. Long days (we clocked about 24 miles total from Wire Pass to White House. 17 just the first day), difficult boulder jams to navigate, mud that will suck your shoes off and miles in the silty Paria River towards White House. Easy to walk past junctions and designated camp sites. Esp at dusk. With that being said, come prepared and not alone. The most amazing and challenging backpack trip I’ve done to date. Petroglyphs, arches, tons of spectacular beauty you won’t find anywhere else. The cesspool section was very low in stagnant water, about ankle deep. Although a lot of thick muddy sludge kept us slipping sliding. There was water to filter towards the confluence. Full river hiking up the icy chocolate milk Paria River for miles towards White House. Once your in the Gulch there’s no way out. Middle Route is a sandy sketchy scramble. Please use your wag bags and leave no trace. Worse thing you could see in the Gulch is trash or leftover petrified fecal matter. Glad I finished this bucket list item. Would I do it again? With fellow seasoned backpackers and more days to explore the beautiful harsh conditions, yeah probably.

We did Wire Pass through Buckskin and out White House Trailhead. Buckskin Gulch took much longer than we anticipated and we were glad to have overnight permits to camp. The pools in the Gulch were not very deep 2ft at the absolute highest) but were very muddy. We got wet crossing the Paria, which we expected. All-in-all, awesome backpacking trip, definitely one to do once but not sure if I’ll do again... way too much beauty to explore in this area alone! If you’re looking for a day hike, I’d definitely recommend wire pass to buckskin and back out that way. Will definitely be doing that part again. Absolutely beautiful.

hiking
25 days ago

Ride out to the trail head on 750 was beautiful. It is 1.5 miles to the place you climb in. My rope is 160’ and I only had about 20’ to spare. I was real glad I took the rope. Once in the canyon the trail was great. Explored both directions before coming back up the rope. Tough hike out. Beautiful hike would love to go back down and spend more time

hiking
muddy
rocky
1 month ago

I highly recommend this trail. By far the most challenging hike that I have ever been on. My most important tip is to do your research on the trail, canyon, environment, and weather. Know what you are going to get yourself into: snakes, tarantulas, high temperatures, freezing water, rock obstacles, and foul cesspools of god knows what.

hiking
blowdown
muddy
scramble
2 months ago

Buckskin Gulch is an intense 14 mile slog through narrow canyons, quicksand, drops, potential life threatening gully washers. Whatever hiking shoes you wear through the gulch? Be prepared to pitch them when you’re through with your hike. Bring two pairs of shoes...you’ll need em. One pair wet shoes, one pair dry shoes. Bring some rope. Also, do NOT go if there is a threat of bad weather anywhere nearby. Gullywashers will kill you in the gulch. There is no escape. There is also a filthy cesspool about 8’ deep around the ten mile mark that requires a little doggy paddling. About a mile from the confluence there is about a fifteen foot drop. A knitted rope is there for climbing down but you will have to rope your pack down. . Don’t get me wrong, this is one of the best hikes in the country but it is extremely dangerous. Once you get through the spectacular gulch, the next 40 miles of the Paria River are breathtaking. With petroglyphs, painted canyons, and an old ranch towards the end of the trail. Don’t be fooled, the river IS the trail...and no you can’t filter the river water. It is too silty.

A loooong slog! Buckskin Gulch is long and windy and seemingly never ends until it does. It’s dark, dead, stinky, and yet some life still finds a way. An incredible, almost psychedelic canyon. I was lucky enough to see what I believe to be a great horned owl high up on the cliff. Once you make it to the Paria River, things change with the flowing water. Super cool hike, really glad I got out there and did it. Very beautiful country.

we've done this a couple of years now, and it's simply incredible. so much so that by the end you are thoroughly unimpressed by the views. we do it in 4 days 3 nights, but our last day is loooong. it gets tricky if you end up starting the first day late like we do trying to get a car parked at the bottom and rent a driver to get to the top. the river water is pretty icky and we have run out of water both times before we get to big springs. I hate the extra weight but next time we go we'll be sitting heavy with lots of extra so we can just take our time in wire pass and the gulch, which are the prettiest parts anyway. I recommend early in may when things aren't stupid hot. once you get to the last 20 miles or so and the shade of the cliffs disappears in the heat of the day it gets pretty brutal even in may. we had to shelter under a rock overhang in the only shade we could find to keep from burning the dogs paws. at that point you can walk in the river shallows to keep a little cooler but the sun is still brutal. keep a close eye out for springs because they are unmarked and scarce enough you dont want to miss them! amphibious shoes are a must, if you're going past the confluence, and i'd recommend some neoprene socks for comfort. also be prepared to pack out your poop so you dont spoil the canyon for the people coming down after you!

Did this hike end of May in 2017. It is one of the most amazing hikes I’ve ever done. You follow the river all the way down. Just have to pay attention and you’ll find the springs. Note: there are frogs that start croaking in the middle of the night and sound like screaming children. Talk about having a hard time falling asleep afterwards. Worth it though. Carry a 3L bladder because water runs scarce towards the end. Fortunately we had life straws so we drank straight from the river and were fine.

hiking
muddy
scramble
4 months ago

Hiked this trail yesterday. Started at Wire Pass to White House, started at 6:30 took just over 8 hours to complete. A few waist deep water crossings and multiple (20+) crossing ranging from calf to mid thigh. Started sprinkling about a mile from White House campground, and rained all through last night so high probability of flash flood so water could be much higher. Dead goat about a mile into the canyon (you'll smell it before you see it). Defiantly recommend starting early because the hike out of Paria would be devastating in full sun. We were lucky enough to have partial cloud cover most of the way. Paria River was completely dried up but there was at least 3 miles of deep out of the confluence. Good luck, have fun, and check the weather.

Completed Wirepass entry to White House exit (camped at the confluence). This was the most amazing and challenging thing I’ve done. It was insanely beautiful and pictures can’t tell the story. It had many uncomfortable spots and a couple semi-dangerous areas. But overall I would (and will) do it again for sure! Absolutely amazing!

Believe it when the description says hard. We had beautiful weather and the river was moderate. But there were at least 200 stream crossings with a great deal of soft and quick sand. Lower Buckskin Gulch was dry and unbelievable. The Paria Narrows are spectacular as well. great camp spots. One of the best experiences I have had, just know that you will be very sore when you come out!

Hiked on May 5, second time. Wire pass to Buckskin Gulch out at White House. 5 times waist deep water and probably 2-3 hours trudging in ankle to knee deep water. Great trip and just as awe inspiring as before just took a lot longer. Start at the crack of dawn and be prepared for intense sun once you are out of the Paria Canyon where the river flattens out.

Just finished for my second time. physically challenging due to length but one of the most rewarding hikes I've done. One belly deep pool with many thigh deep ones. Paria river was ankle to calf deep on second leg.

hiking
muddy
no shade
off trail
rocky
scramble
washed out
6 months ago

First of all the positives: the trail scenery is spectacular. It is definitely one of the most unique trails I've ever backpacked, and I would certainly recommend this trail as a memorable adventure. That said, you'll need to weigh those positives against a lot of the trail's challenges, and prepare yourself appropriately. 1. Water management was the most difficult aspect of this hike. You have access to the Paria river as a last, life-saving resort, but as many of the trail reviews have mentioned, the river is very muddy and tastes a bit funny. You have the chance to refill your water at a few select springs along the way, but, the know this: a) The springs are hard to find. GPS is fairly worthless during most of the trip when the canyons narrow, so you'll need to depend on map reading and estimates about distance traveled. This is harder than it sounds, since you're in a twisting canyon with similar repeating features. We found Big Springs and Shower Springs, but we were not able to find the "Last Reliable Spring" on our last day. We passed some smaller unmarked springs on the way, but never found the "fern covered crack in the wall" on the left. We found Shower Springs, but it's not at all visible from the trail. You have to know its there, and push yourself through tall reeds to find spring. Because we were so nervous about water, we overfilled on the first and last day, and dealt with some back-breaking heavy packs. On our last day, we made the opposite mistake, thinking we could refill a bit at "Last Reliable Spring". We never found it, and were scoop up some paria river water, wait for it to settle and filter it. b) All in all, the paria river water is not horrible, just a bit unpleasant. I'd recommend bringing some chemical treatment to avoid stress on a filter, and maybe some electrolyte mix to cover up the taste. c) We hiked this in late April after a wet winter, and the springs were flowing generously. I was easily able to fill my gravity bag water pump at both springs, and the spring water clear and free of silt. However, this is may not be the case. Check with the BLM ranger for some up to date info on the conditions of the springs. Also, you may find that a pump style water filter will work better is the flow isn't great. All of these springs pool into small basins before they trickle into the main river. c) Finally, once you leave the narrows, there are no more springs. Regardless as to whether you find the Last Reliable Spring or not, you might have to drink from the River anyway. Our water consumption definitely spiked as we left the cool shade of the narrows as the Canyon opened up during the last day. We got to our car exhausted and a bit dehydrated because we didn't want to deal with trying to filter and drink more of the Paria river water. 2. The trail conditions after you leave the Narrows get pretty bad. There are some sketchy scrambles over some washed out sections. In the narrows, you'll usually find ourselves in the water or on sandy benches that are at most 10 feet above the river. But as you leave the Narrows, the trail begins to climb on the sides of the canyons. Some of the trails traverse steep crumbling slopes, dozens of feet above the canyon floor. There were definitely some worn sections that looked like they could collapse and send you tumbling over rocks and boulders. As the canyon opens up further, the trail becomes safer, but a lot harder to follow. We found ourselves mostly trying to follow footsteps from previous hikers in the soft sand, but it was clear that those hikers were as lost as we were, and I found myself tramping over a lot of (spiky, prickly) vegetation trying to route find the real trail. Some my recommendation: If you want to do this trail, please prepare with detail maps and descriptions as much as you can. Todd's Hiking Guide and Clever Hiker have some good write ups. However, if I were to do this again, I would not to do the traverse, but instead would do an out-and-back from the whitehouse trailhead. The last day had some nice scenery as the canyon opened up, and you get to pass by some abandoned ranches, but it was also a hot long slog without access to great water. Hiking from whitehouse to Shower Springs would let you see the best of the narrows, and would give you some extra padding to do some day hikes to Wrather Arch (a 1.5 mile round trip that was pretty cool) and a few miles into Buckskin Gulch.

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