On the Utah-Arizona border there is a fantastic spot known as Paria Canyon. Paria Canyon, and its most famous tributary – Buckskin Gulch – are the slot canyons to visit in Utah. If fact you’ve probably seen a photograph of Buckskin Gulch without knowing it. Here’s why you should go to Paria Canyon and Buckskin Gulch:
Buckskin Gulch happens to be the longest and deepest slot canyon in the United States, and according to some estimates, in the world. It is approximately 13-miles in length, and if you include Paria Canyon, the combined length is 20-miles. Which, as any canyoneering enthusiast will tell you, that is a long slot. There are twists and tight turns, requiring some squeezing, but the trip is worth the effort to see the quintessential slot canyon of the American West.
Both Buckskin Gulch and Paria Canyon can be challenging. Paria means “muddy water” in the Paiute Indian language. And, as you might imagine, you will get muddy. There is generally standing water in some places in Paria Canyon. There are also boulders and other obstacles to get around. We recommend that you bring about 30-feet of rope, just in case.
Paria-Buckskin is located between Kanab, Utah and Page, Arizona. It is managed by the Bureau of Land Management as part of the Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness Area. (If you get the chance, while you’re in the area, check out The Wave in Coyote Buttes, located nearby.) Since the canyons are so beautiful, they are very popular with visitors. If you plan to spend the night in the canyon, you will need a permit. See all the details and restrictions here.
The risk of flash flooding is real. Check the weather in the surrounding regions carefully before entering Paira Canyon and Buckskin Gulch.