When you park at the Wire Pass trailhead, eight miles down a dirt road off SR-89, you wouldn’t know that beautiful slot canyons are hidden right around the bend. Starting at Wire Pass, hike 1.7 miles east through a wash toward Buckskin Gulch. Once there, you can wander for as long as you want through the twisting canyon, which will continue to amaze every step you take.
I’d visited a slot canyon before, but the Buckskin Gulch hike blew that one away. All I could say, as I stared at the canyon walls, were, “Oh my god,” “Holy shit,” and “This is amazing.” I’m sure you’ll do the same.
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Everything you need to know about hiking Buckskin Gulch
Quick Buckskin Gulch Hike Details
- Starting Point: Wire Pass Trailhead (not Buckskin Gulch Trailhead)
- Length: 1.7 miles to Buckskin Gulch, then the distance is up to you
- Difficulty: Easy. It’s flat. Seasonally there could be water which increases the difficulty
- Beauty: Holy moly!
- Estimated Time: Plan 3-6 hours
- Weather: Keep an eye out for the weather. Flash floods are deadly in slot canyons. Also, slot canyons can be much cooler than the daytime temps. Keep that in mind.
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Planning your trip to Buckskin Gulch
When should I visit Buckskin Gulch?
While the Vermillion Cliffs region’s weather conditions will allow you to do this year-round, it’s not that easy. Late summer monsoons can make this a deadly place due to flash floods. Additionally, this area of northern Arizona or southern Utah can see freezing temperatures in winter, which could make those unprepared not have a great time.
I would recommend fall or spring for the most optimal times, though if winter highs are in the 60s, you’ll have a wonderful time!
Do you need a reservation for Buckskin Gulch?
This is what makes Buckskin Gulch so amazing. You do not need a permit, as it is available to everyone on public land. You do have to pay a small permit fee on-site.
Where do I enter Buckskin Gulch?
There are a couple of different entrances to the Buckskin Gulch hike. After doing the specific Buckskin Gulch Trailhead the first time and failing to find it, I highly recommend Wire Pass Trailhead.
Getting to the Trailhead: Wire Pass to Buckskin Gulch
Take House Rock Valley Road 8 miles south of the 89 to Wire Pass Trailhead. There’s a large parking area, and you surely can’t miss it. Buckskin Gulch is a permitted area that requires a payment of $6 per person. It’s based on the honor system, but c’mon, $6 is hardly anything. They only take cash/check, so come prepared.
Where to Stay near Buckskin Gulch?
It’s about halfway between Page and Kanab, so you can choose where you want to stay depending on your travel plans.
Hiking Buckskin Gulch
Once you arrive at the Buckskin Gulch trailhead, the hike begins across the road, and you’ll walk in the wash for the 1.3 miles to the first slot canyon. You’ll have another 0.3 miles to go before you hit Buckskin Gulch. Be aware there is a ladder you have to use. It’s sturdy enough, so don’t fret. Once you get to Buckskin Gulch, you’ll choose to go left or right. Go right.
From here, you’ll wander for as long as you want. It’s absolutely stunning, and you won’t be disappointed. The slot canyon opens up at various times, providing some spectacular views.
@alecoutside Just wow. How is mother nature this amazing?!? #traveltiktok #adventure #hiking ♬ Solitude ( Felsmann + Tiley Reinterpretation) – Slowed Down – M83 & Felsmann + Tiley
Is Buckskin Gulch a hard hike?
I wouldn’t say so. If you’re doing a day hike, odds are you’ll only go a handful of miles, and in all, it will be less than an 8-mile trip. The portion that we did was nearly all flat. You are walking in sand, though, so that could wear some people down/slow you down.
How long of a hike is Buckskin Gulch?
At 14 miles long, Buckskin Gulch is one of the longest slot canyons in the world. However, only those backpacking will experience all of it. Most people hike in the 4-8 mile range.
Can kids hike Buckskin Gulch?
Yes, yes! This would be perfect for kids.
FAQ: Buckskin Gulch Hike
Is Buckskin Gulch Dangerous?
It can be in the instance of flash floods. It’s why it is so important to keep an eye on the weather in the area to protect yourself and your group.
Can you hike buckskin gulch without a tour?
Correct. No tours or guides are needed to explore the Buckskin Gulch slot canyons. It’s an affordable option for families and other visitors.
Any other cool places nearby to explore?
Oh yes, there is! You can check out Coyote Buttes South (permit required), The Wave (permit required), White Pocket, and Grand Staircase Escalante. These are some of the most beautiful and rugged areas in the entire country. But you’ll love it!
Overall Thoughts on the Buckskin Gulch Hike
This is phenomenal. I was 100% blown away by the wire pass to buckskin gulch adventure. It’s straightforward, and unless you’re backpacking, you really don’t need to bring much. Make sure to have water, some food/snacks, a camera, and a ready spirit.
The parking lot will probably be crowded, especially on the weekend. However, once you get into the slot canyons, people spread out, and you shouldn’t have too much of an issue with groups of people.
For those interested in taking photos, we got into the canyon around 2 pm, and the lighting was really lovely. It will change depending on where you are, but we had plenty of time when the tops of the canyon were lit up like gold.
Until next time adventurers, take care and be safe.
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