Buckskin Gulch


Where? : Buckskin Gulch trailhead located at the Wire Pass to Buckskin Gulch parking lot on House Rock Valley Rd.; this is just on the Utah/Arizona border.

Google Map Link


What? : Buckskin Gulch is the longest and deepest slot canyon in the Southwest. Amazing in and out one ½ day hike (go as far as you want) or 3 days overnight camping covering hiking all the way to the Colorado river.


When? : Prefer when it is not hot but can be done also at summer (canyon is shaded), winter can be cooled so bring enough water and appropriate clothing.

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Due note 1: This is considered one of the most dangerous hikes in the United States due to the extreme flash flood danger. Be aware of flashflood warning and rain condition many 10’s of miles up the river, Do NOT get into the narrow canyon in such condition. Consult at Kanab BLM station.

Due note 2: The trail is also good at summer day because it is mainly covered by the canyon wall shade. Bring enough water and warm clothing during colder day.


Due note 3: the hiking Trail Head is located 8.4 miles from the main 89 hwy, when it is not wet or crossing a muddy reverbed the dirt road is accessible to all vehicles.


Due note 4: For overnight canyon hike permit contact Kanab BLM office.


My thoughts: The longest slot canyon ever, just keep going as long as you want and once you need to go back just turn around and enjoy it again. I’ve been here twice 23 years apart and at both times it was a unique experience, as you go farther away it is just you and the tall canyon walls… highly recommended hike, go as far as you want.


The visit:

From the large turn on hwy 89 turn into House Rock Valley Rd., dirt road accessible to all vehicles, not recommended when wet.

Drive south for 8.4 miles and park your car at Wire Pass to Buckskin Gulch well maintained parking lot on House Rock Valley Rd. (self-pay fee point).

You can also get to this point from the south with much longer dirt road drive, take the same dirt road, this time north, out of hwy 89A.

The hike starts at the riverbed of wire pass and after walking for 1.4 miles in the open landscape the trail starts to narrow and get into the canyon.

This is a nice narrow section, wooden ladder and few hundred more feet in narrow canyon will take you to the open junction with the Buckskin Gulch Canyon.

The main trail keeps going turning to your right (down the river).

Here you are in the main canyon and you can go as far as you want down the canyon. I went for 2 hr and the landscape is changing, sometimes it is very narrow canyon with wave formation walls, some time the high walls going flat all the way up.

Sometime the canyon is shoulder wide narrow slot canyon where you can’t see the sky and in other places it can be 40-50 feet apart.

Depending when it rained last time you can have pool sections to cross or mud on the canyon floor., usually muddy water pools are not deeper than waist high, the water can be cooled and without sun at the canyon flor it will be cold.


Because the canyon is twisting and turning all the time, depending on sun location you can have sunray going all the way to the canyon flor, in other places it is very dark.


Once you had enough or reach your time limit turn and hike back to the parking lot.

Important note: when going back on your trail do not miss the turning left back into wire pass canyon, you can’t miss it on your left. If you keep going up on the main Buckskin Gulch you will reach an opening in the canyon after a mile.


Overall Length of this Canyon section is 13.5 miles to the Paria confluence from Wire Pass so this is not one day in&out hike !