White House Trail to Lees Ferry is a 37.4 mile lightly 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.

Length37.4 miElevation gain3,441 ftRoute typePoint to point
BackpackingCampingHikingDog friendlyRiverViewsWildlifeRockyScrambleFee
Description
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Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness Area requires a permit displayed in your car with an associated $6 fee per person per day to enter, obtained online https://www.recreation.gov/camping/gateways/10071676 or at a BLM office, like the station on White House Trailhead Rd. This is the most popular route for hiking the spectacular Paria Canyon. Most people do a several day backpacking trip ending at the Lees Ferry Trailhead. 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. From the White House Trailhead, follow the Paria River south. You will have to cross the river several times, so wear appropriate shoes. Soon, you will find yourself in an open canyon. There is little shade, and it can get very hot. Four miles from the trailhead, the canyon walls narrow and ascend, and you enter the Paria Narrows. Three miles from the entrance to the Narrows, you'll reach the intersection with Buckskin Gulch. There is a great campsite here (permit required). Hikers through hiking the trail will take a left here, and continue along the Paria Canyon to Lees Ferry. 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.

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Reviews (20)
Photos (79)
Activities (15)
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Kalie Krueger
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMarch 20, 2021
Backpacking

I did this trip back in May 2017 and dream about returning - everything about it was magical! Definitely some long days but filled with beauty and worth every step.

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Laura van Swearingen
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarDecember 22, 2020
HikingFeeGreat!MuddyNo shadeOff trailRockyScramble

Hiked 4/2019. The hike from White House to Lee’s Ferry through Paria Canyon is worthy of a place on your bucket list. If backpacking, be sure to plan this trip months in advance to secure the necessary permits only available via a competitive lottery. While less stunning and renowned than the Wire Pass or Buckskin entrances, White House has its advantages. For one, it’s easier to access the trailhead by car, and there is a nice little campground where you can meet and organize before your hike (dry camping with a vault toilet). You also get to hike all of Paria, and adding a day trip up Buckskin to your itinerary is certainly possible. This option allows you to set up camp in Paria and hike Buckskin with a lightweight day pack. Read up on the rock pile in Buckskin about a mile up from the confluence with Paria to see if your group can climb it before planning an epic day hike from the bottom that might otherwise end in disappointment. The hike through Paria itself is spectacular though it’s not a narrow slot canyon like some people expect. Flash flood danger is high in the summer, so plan your trip and do your homework accordingly. When I hiked, water levels were high and required some route finding and rock scrambling around obstacles in the lower portion of the canyon. The last several miles through the exposed desert above Lee’s Ferry are hot and exposed. Be sure to fill up on water in the canyon before setting out, and getting an early start is recommended. I used a shuttle service opting to leave my truck at Lee’s Ferry.

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Angela Myers
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarNovember 16, 2020
Hiking
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James Pickren
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 20, 2020
BackpackingBugsGreat!MuddyOver grown

A true adventure to behold! This is definitely a hike that requires some planning. I recommend this hike for more experienced adventurers as having prior backpacking experience is certainly a plus. Permits must be booked months in advance and you must arrange a ride to get from Lee’s Ferry parking lot to the White House trailhead. This is a very long and strenuous hike but the scenery is absolutely stunning. We did this in 4 days, 3 nights and averaged about 10 miles per day. As others have mentioned, water management is one of the most difficult aspects of this hike. The springs can be difficult to find and pinpointing your location at any given time is also quite difficult. We stayed the first night at Big Spring which had an awesome camping area tucked away in the trees across from the spring.. The second night we stayed at shower spring which also had a great camping area across the river. This spring would be very difficult to find were it not for a rock cairn and arrow drawn in the sand where someone had pointed the way through the tall reeds. We were grateful for the gesture! The third day is rather slow and difficult due to a lot of large boulders and heavier rapids in the river.. We went as far as we could and just camped at a random clearing along the river.. The final day is relatively straightforward as the trail begins crossing the river at the bends and then continuing higher up on the banks. All in all, this is a true adventure and definitely worth the effort.. A pit stop at the marble canyon inn restaurant was quite nice after days of dehydrated meals! I highly recommend you leave your hiking boots at home on this one since you will be in water for most of the time. I also highly recommend you resist the temptation of wearing sandals as the small rocks and sand will destroy your feet. We wore 3mm neoprene socks with Columbia Drainmaker shoes and it was a perfect choice. Just make sure to clean out and air dry your shoes and socks at the end of each day! Also, hiking poles are very useful on this one.. Just be prepared to be well and truly out in the middle of nowhere and make sure you pack enough food and supplies. Self reliance is essential here.. Enjoy!

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Kate O
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 3, 2020
HikingGreat!

Most spectacular trek ever. Loved the solitude and wildness. We hiked much of it barefoot as the mud was sucking our chacos off. Our mileage ended up being longer due to crisis-crossing the river searching for easier terrain. A thunderstorm blew through while we were camping in the narrows— terrifying and awesome. Also had no problem filtering water from the river after the last spring.

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Jes Olson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 31, 2020
Hiking

Permit from BLM required. We backpacked this the end of May. It was the best! We were careful of the heat, hiked in the morning & were done by early afternoon. There was a 1/2 day section that is a bit harder due to getting over large boulders in the river. There is also a great campsite with a tree that’s not on the BLM map, it’s about a mile after the last primitive campsite on the map. Saw 2 herds of big horn sheep & a gorgeous blue heron. Luckily didn’t see any rattlesnacks.

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Jake Lee
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMay 7, 2020
Hiking

Classic hike. My 3rd time (also went in 1987 as a Boy Scout, and in 2003). This time, I went with my 17 yr-old son in late April 2020. We met a Paria expert named Kate on the trail whose wisdom was invaluable! There are reliable springs at mile 10 (bubbles up from ground), 12 (Big Spring), 18, 22 (Shower Spring - climb up the bank where you see all the footprints into the reeds, you’ll find an oasis of water), and 25 (slower drip). We also found a nice visible spring at about 22.5. Kate never filters spring water coming down a rock, so we only filtered the spring at 10. Passing along some wisdom I’ve learned: 1) bring a map that shows you where the springs and best campsites are, but 2) without a GPS it’s really hard to know where you are on the twisty/turny map (I paid for the $20 Gaia GPS app and it sometimes took a minute to update in the narrow canyons, but always worked). Together, map and GPS are powerful. 3) Don’t bring old school hiking boots; trail runners that let water go in and out easily work great. 4) The canyon really opens up again the last 10 or so miles so be careful in warm months. Take longer breaks in shade, and don’t arrive at your final camp too early (with sun still blazing). 5) we carried extra water from the last spring at 25 in an extra bladder I brought. We actually filtered/purified river water at 32 in case we needed it our last day, but we had just enough spring water. 6) In warm months leave camp as early as possible the last day. Finally, work your feet out as much as possible before the hike because they will be walking though every terrain: wet, dry, firm, soft, sandy. Enjoy!

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Colleen K. Lanier
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMarch 15, 2020
Hiking

We were only able to complete about two miles of this trip due to a difficulty we faced trying to get from the canyon rim down to the river, which we ultimately couldn’t do safely. We had fun trying and if my phone had not died, the photos would have been amazing! I enjoyed taking note of all the animal tracks in the area. Start this one early if you plan to do an in and out with an distance beyond two miles. The camping area near the trailhead seemed nice and there were several groups setup.

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Maria Sikaffy
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 2, 2019
Hiking

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.

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Gary Carlson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMay 12, 2019

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!

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Stephan Prockow
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarApril 25, 2019
HikingMuddyNo shadeOff trailRockyScrambleWashed out

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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Richard Everett
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJune 5, 2018
First to Review

Nice hike with my Jack Russell she loved the adventure.

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The Paul They Couldn't Kill
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 17, 2016
BackpackingOff trail

My daughter (13) and I spent three days backpacking from White House trailhead to Lee's Ferry. We got an afternoon start on day one and camped on the high ground at the Buckskin Gulch confluence. There are lots of springs on the right (river right) side of the canyon, from Big Spring all the way to Lee's Ferry. We never had to pump/filter water, except at the Buckskin confluence. We wore old running shoes, and these worked well. We visited with a group who were all wearing open sandals, Teva, Chaco, etc. They said that was the wrong footwear. There are some pretty cool remnants of the farming and ranching efforts that once occurred at the lower end, toward Lee's Ferry. The upper canyon, from White House to Big Spring, is more scenic. The lower canyon, from Big Spring to Lee's Ferry, is more open. Lots of sunshine. We hiked early when it was cold and took a break in cottonwood shade when it got hot. It's been on our bucket list. It was a great hike to do once. Three days was about right for us. We took lots of photos and stopped here and there. Four days would also work for a more leisurely pace. Be sure to apply for permit early, and use those turd burritos to keep the canyon clean and pristine.

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Jeffrey Barger
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarApril 2, 2021
Hiking
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Ashley Lederman
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarNovember 6, 2020
Hiking
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Venessa Thompson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarNovember 1, 2020
Hiking
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