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White House Trail to Lees Ferry

HARD 7 reviews

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.

Distance: 37.4 miles Elevation Gain: 3,441 feet Route Type: Point to Point

dog friendly









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: 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.

1 month ago

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.

3 months ago

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!

no shade
off trail
washed out
3 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.

Tuesday, June 05, 2018

Nice hike with my Jack Russell she loved the adventure.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Sunday, July 24, 2016

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