Buckskin Gulch Trail to Lees Ferry

HARD 64 reviews

Buckskin Gulch Trail to Lees Ferry is a 45.6 mile moderately trafficked point-to-point trail located near Kanab, Utah that features a river and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, camping, and backpacking and is best used from March until November. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

45.6 miles
5,400 feet
Point to Point

dog friendly






wild flowers




There are several different ways to hike in this area. While starting at the Buckskin Gulch trailhead shown here you can: 1.) Hike a multi-day backpacking trip one-way all the way to Lees Ferry in Arizona (permit required). This is the hike shown on this page. 2.) Hike into Buckskin Gulch, then turn left at the confluence of Paria River and Buckskin Gulch and exit at the White House Trailhead (if staying the night permit required). 3.) Hike just an out-and-back from the Buckskin Gulch Trailhead shown here and come back the way you came, exiting through Buckskin Gulch Trailhead (if staying the night permit required). 4.) Hike south on Buckskin Gulch, then exit quickly at the Wire Pass Trailhead. All of these variations of hikes can be found on AllTrails. The most popular method is getting a permit, starting at the White House Trailhead, and doing a multi-day backpacking trip to the Lees Ferry Campground. Overnight stays in the canyon require a permit from the BLM. Please visit this site for permits: https://www.blm.gov/programs/recreation/permits-and-passes/lotteries-and-permit-systems/arizona/paria-canyon If you're bringing a dog for an overnight stay, the dog also needs a permit. Paria Canyon is the longest slot canyon in the world and has four main points of entry: White House Trailhead, Wire Pass Trailhead, Middle Passage, and Lee's Ferry Trailhead. There are several clusters of campsites throughout the canyon. Beware, there are rattlesnakes in this area. Other potential wildlife includes canyon wrens, peregrine falcons, condors, and great horned owls. Keep an eye on the weather and watch out for flash floods. It gets very hot in the canyon, so it is not recommended to do this hike in the middle of summer.

1 month ago

I first hiked this canyon in 1999 and plan on returning in 2019 to do it again. Can’t wait.

4 months ago

The most difficult backpacking I’ve ever done. The quicksand type mud is incredibly dangerous and not something that is forgiving. Make sure to do this with experienced and physically fit backpackers as It’s quite easy to get trapped in the quicksand mud and fall forward into chest deep water (that happened to me). It is not an easily trail. Do not take it lightly. I’ve backpacked all over (Narrows, Mt Whitney, Iceland etc) and this was by far the most dangerous one I’ve done.

5 months ago

A few days ago, we sucessfully backpacked buckskin gulch in utah, which is referred to as the longest slot canyon in the world and one of the most dangerous hikes in north america. We scored the last of the highly coveted overnight permits, and embarked on the most physically and psychologically demanding hike I have ever participated in.

The walls reached 400 feet above us, and at times we could touch the walls to either side of us. we waded through pools of freezing, chocolate milk colored muddy water up to our waists and chests. At one point, we had to gag our way through a seemingly endless stretch of neck deep, black, putrid, stagnant floodwaters full of dead animals and decaying plant matter. At other points, we couldnt touch the ground, and we had to swim with our packs.

There were multiple snakes and tarantulas. We also learned that quicksand is a real thing. Most of the trip felt like an episode of fear factor, but worse since once you're in, you dont have enough time or supplies to turn back.

Flash floods are the real danger here, as there is only one escape route halfway in. If you can't make it in time, or already passed it, you will have a hard time trying to survive. Our trip had 0% chance of rain and was supposed to not have a single cloud in the sky, but ominous clouds hung over the gulch for part of our trip, raising tension and reminding us that the gulch had total control.

What made matters worse is that our gps was 3 miles off. Cold, wet, and exhausted towards the end of day 1, we thought we had just 1.5- 2 miles left until our campsite, but we actully had over 5, leaving us to navigate pools of water in the dark, clear a boulder jam without rope, and accidentally miss our campsite and having to hike to the next one.

We're covered in mosquito bites, our bones are bruised, we still smell terrible, and I can barely walk, but the experience was once in a lifetime. Buckskin Gulch feels neverending, twisting your mind and body in ways we never could have imagined. While the views are beautiful, Buckskin Gulch is truly relentless.


5 months ago

Incredible experience. We went from Wire Pass to White House, roughly 20 miles total, over two days and one night.

Do not underestimate this hike... it is extremely demanding. With packs on it took us a full twelve hours to do those 13 miles of Buckskin. We waded through over 20 pools of waist-level depth. Despite starting early, we had to use our headlamps to finish the hike due to running out of sunlight! The hike out of Paria was less taxing but still difficult.

A few things: 1) be sure to have proper footwear. Water shoes and neoprene socks are highly recommended, 2) utilize a dry bag and a separate waterproof bag for your phone, as you’ll be taking lots of pictures, 3) stock up on water before you go through. You won’t have access to any spring water until right before the confluence, 4) I don’t recommend doing this one alone. I’m typically a solo hiker, but I’d be afraid to do this one without company. The trail is as psychologically onerous as it is physically.

5 months ago

Great experience!

The road was not bad at all, easily done without 4wd. it is a walk from the parking area to the actual slot canyon, but once you get into it it is amazing! we had waist deep water in some parts, and a lot of mud, but nothing extreme.

Would definitely suggest entering from Wire Pass to the Buckskin intersection then exploring the slot canyon in both directions to avoid the walk along the wash.

5 months ago

Hardly any shade the first miles but once you make it to the slot canyons it cools down and it's pretty amazing how long it goes.

trail running
7 months ago

I started from the Wire Pass trailhead, which has bathrooms but no water. As a warning to those who may be driving there in a small rental car like I was, the gravel/dirt road to get there is in fairly poor condition, and I had to drive slowly and cautiously to avoid getting a flat tire. I didn't have too long to spend here, so I just did 8.5 miles. The first mile+ is in direct sun with no shade, so make sure to have enough water to survive the heat and get back to your car. It was 81 degrees when I left my car and 111 when I got back 2 hours later. The narrow canyons were pleasant and fairly cool, but the canyon does intermittently open wider and is hot in the sun, so just make sure you carry enough to drink if you go in July like I did. I don't think it had rained at all recently when I went, so I did not have to go through even a drop of water. There were a lot of sections of dried mud, so I could tell where there is typically water. It was definitely an easy trail in these mud-less and water-less conditions, though it was still not entirely runnable due to thick dune-like sand in some places and incredibly rocky uneven surfaces elsewhere. I definitely can't relate to previous reviewers who rate this as hard, but the difficulty is clearly entirely dependent on the conditions, and I obviously went when the conditions were incredibly favorable. It's a beautiful and incredibly memorable trail, and I would encourage anyone to take at least a couple hours to explore it.

7 months ago

Amazing trail but expect it to be hard, not moderate. Our route was Paria Canyon to Big Spring, back-tracked to Buckskin Gulch and exited at Wire Pass.

Wire Pass is very hot with a 7 ft boulder jam to traverse half way through.

Buckskin had calf-deep mud that will keep your shoe, ten waist deep 55 degree water holes about 20 to 50 feet long lots of sections with technical river rock hiking which can be tiring with a heavy pack.

Expect 50/50 exposed vs shade with temps ranging from 70 to 100.

Camping spot was great with lots of tent spots ready.

Amazing trail with lots of visual apeal. Very memorable and worth the effort.

9 months ago

A LOT HARDER than I read or any YouTube video showed. I went in 2015 with 2 other guys I was in the Marines with. The gulch was a hell of a lot of fun, incredibly beautiful but we did it in high heat of July and we went through over a gallon and half of water each. This section took us literally all day. Our plans were to turn right and hike all the way down to Lee’s ferry but on night 1 we were strongly considering hooking left for the shirt route out.

We took an easy day to go 5 miles and refill water so actually finished at Lee’s FERRY BUT NONE WAS AS HARD AS buckskin. It wasn’t horrific, definitely doable but ensure you have the right mindset for it. We did not understand what we headed in to and this were not quite mentally prepared.

As for the hike- stunning. Incredibly satisfying. The entire gulch is carved from heaven. It’s simply one of the most beautiful places I’ve seen in 26 countries.

DO NOT DO IT IN JULY. lol. I recommend doing it in cooler weather.

9 months ago

Just amazing !!! Few people, canyonning boots were necessary in April ( water up to the knee and above). Great memories there. Don’t miss it

10 months ago

Such an amazing place to push your limits! I did the whole Paria canyon and buckskin gulch in a five day trip in mid March, and it was incredible. Can’t wait to go back. I’m 5’ 10”, and the water level in some places were up to my chest. Weather was kinda cold but not freezing.

10 months ago

Amazing hike!! Did this in April, Started from wire pass and went right at the fork. Saw petroglyphs in many of the rocks. Didn’t see any other hikers until about 6 miles from the camp. There is tons of water anywhere from ankle to shoulder deep. The water is ice cold! Only one pool was difficult due to sticks and logs gathered at the end of it. We got to the huge boulders and didn’t have rope, we found a small hole and got through super easily. Highly recommend this hike!!!

10 months ago

Best day hike I have done. I hiked BG in March. The first hour was dry. The second hour was in and out of a couple dozen pools that ranged from knee to waste deep (I am 5’6”). My neoprene socks and pants helped me stay warm because it was 30 degrees but my feet stayed numb throughout because I only went with 2mm. My bf had 5mm and was much more comfortable. After an hour in the pools, the canyon opens up and I warmed up a bit but quickly hit the deeper pools known as the cesspools which are chest and neck deep. One has a rock slide into the pool which if you slide down it will submerge you. If you stay to the left there are small steps down and the left side is slightly higher (stay to the right on the return). Started at 8:30AM and got back to the trailhead at 4:20PM. I didn’t use poles so my knees and ankles were sore the next day. We only saw one other couple during the hike and were mostly alone with the exception of some people at the beginning of the trail.

11 months ago

Absolutely gorgeous. Be prepared to run into water during the winter months. We came across knee deep water in Feb.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Wanted to ditch the crowds today and it worked on this trail! We didn't go too far but we had our 5 yo and it was perfect for us. Lots of beautiful scenery and plenty of exploring to do and scrambling around on the slick rock. We were here in good weather in January - I imagine it gets real hot in summer but once you get down towards more of the narrow sections it's probably a lot cooler. Just lots of exploring to do here - I look forward to coming back and making it further down the gulch.

Friday, December 08, 2017

Did Buckskin to Lee's Ferry. Changed my life. After the first day of hiking, didn't see another human for 48 hours. It was unreal.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017


Monday, November 27, 2017

Entered Buckskin via Wire Pass trial and went right. There were 5-6 pools calf deep with a few inches of mud. Pools are very cold however not to bad. Turned around and headed back up Buckskin for about 2 hours and I might say it was well worth it. We were told not to head that way due to not much to see “wrong”. Look for the whole cow skeleton of to the left of the dry bed. #neverstopwandering

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

The water may be 40 degrees, but at least it’s thigh deep!

Thursday, September 21, 2017

I entered Buckskin Gulch from Wire Pass on 9/20. Wire Pass was dry. Immediately after joining Buckskin Gulch (to the right), I encountered a pool that was waist deep making it difficult to proceed with backpacks. I continued through approximately 6 more pools. Though none were quite as deep as the first, they were substantial enough to slow travel. The water was also very cold. It was still a beautiful hike, but plan on getting substantially wet and potentially cold in the current conditions!

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Did this trail in one day. INSANE. Would not recommend. Very challenging as you can never tell how deep the water is and what's under your feet. Constantly sliding all over the place. Ended up hiking 3 hours in the paria in the pitch black river back to the road where I hitch hiked back. That's an additional 7 miles on top of the actual hike. Started at 8 didn't finish until 10pm. With that said it is very beautiful and almost nobody around.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Best trail out of Zion national park. you can definitely just keep going and going and before you know it your hungry and the sun will be goin down. Gorgeous red wash! The Rick art was amazing too.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Spectacular!!! Hiked from Buckskin to Whitehouse and enjoyed every step. The gulch was dry until we hit the cesspools. We hiked this on July 2nd & 3rd. We saw a few day hikers for a couple miles around Wire pass after that it was just us....... until we hit the campsite. There was still plenty of room. Would do it again!

Tuesday, June 06, 2017


Friday, June 02, 2017

We did a portion of this hike in April, Wire Pass to first rock fall, about 9miles round trip in and out. Was beautiful, will post a few pictures The drop off obstacle people mention in Wire Pass really wasn't that bad to climb down, or climb back up on the way back, a few logs and rocks placed perfectly to make it easier, we have a youtube video that shows us going down and up this. Would love to do the through hike from Wire Pass to Lees Ferry someday, but need to coordinate with other hikers in order to get a car at each end. Have started this group in facebook where hikers interested in through hikes can post and meet others interested in same hikes, to set up ride shares https://www.facebook.com/groups/1986748654889852/ if you have any interests in through hikes, please join and contribute

Thursday, February 02, 2017

Did the 40 mile Buckskin Gulch to Paria/Colorado Confluence hike in June 2005. Camping near the cliff side springs each night was great, but we couldn't find a spring on the last night so we had to let the muddy Paria water settle in our cookware overnight before filtering. 40 miles of in-stream hiking is hard, but it was one of the biggest highlights of my late teen years.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Start at wire pass and headed south at buckskin gultch. Went until our feet were frozen. Beautiful hike. Would be perfect in the heat of summer. We went in October.

Monday, November 14, 2016

This is such a beautiful canyon. Everything you'd expect from Utah and more! Going through the cess pools was interesting, but you'll get over it after about 20 of em ;)

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Awesome slot canyon! May be problematic after a good rain. Don't do it if rain is in the forecast! lol!

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Into buckskin at wire pass, camp at the confluence of Paria and Buckskin and out Paria! Pure Joy with lots of solitude

Load More