Difficulty: Depends on Distance
Buckskin Gulch is the world's longest slot canyon and features many miles of tight, twisty narrows with legion photo opportunities. Buckskin Gulch empties into the towering walls of the spectacular Paria River Canyon. There are many ways to hike the gulch (see the Trip Details tab for more info). The most common method is to enter via Wire Pass and do an out-and-back. Wire Pass also features nice narrows and petroglpyhs! If you want to hike the entire thing, it's a strenuous 20-miles and requires all-day effort. Although the canyon is non-technical, it does require a little scrambling. Depending on rainfall, water and mud may also be present. Buckskin Gulch is best for photography during the months of March through Oct. We won't be able to do this trip if significant rain is in the forecast due to flash flood risk. If this occurs, an we'll choose an alternate destination. Overnight trips are also an option. Please Contact Us with any questions.
Tour Length: 8-9 hours
Drive Time: One hour from Kanab with 45 mins on pavement and 15 mins on rough roads. If it has been raining, we will have to go in via the southern route which will add up to 45 mins extra drive time.
Time Spent on Location: Approx 6 hours. We’ll be hiking the entire time except when photographing or taking a break.
Tour Departure Time: Please see the time listed on your booking since the times vary throughout the year. Please arrive around 10 mins early to load your gear and finish the check-in process. The return time is approximately 8-9 hours after the departure time. Note that we operate on Utah time which is one hour ahead of Las Vegas. During the months of Daylight Savings (approx mid-March through early Nov), Utah is also one hour ahead of Arizona. Please take this into consideration if traveling from out of state.
Tour Pricing: Please click on the Book Your Tour button for the latest pricing. Note that most of our tours require a 2-person minimum. Single individuals can always go, but may need to pay the 2-person rate if nobody else decides to join.
Tour Meetup Location: You will meet at our home in Kanab, UT. The address will be provided in your confirmation email. This is a safe place to park your vehicle. If you like, you can leave any valuables inside the house. Once you arrive, we’ll ask you to load your gear and sign a liability release waiver. If you haven’t yet paid in full, we’ll take the remaining payment via cash or credit card. Contact us if you are unable to get to the meet-up spot and we’ll make alternate arrangements. Las Vegas is the closest major airport to Kanab. There is no public transportation to Kanab, so you’ll need your own rental car or private vehicle. We recommend that you stay in a hotel in Kanab the evening of your tour. There are many good hotels in the area like Hampton Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Comfort Inn & Suites, and the Canyons Botique.
Tour Meetup Outside of Kanab: We occasionally get requests from folks coming from Page, AZ. Rather than meet in Kanab, we can meet you at the intersection of Highway 89 and House Rock Valley Road. Turn south onto House Rock Valley Road and park in the parking area at the bottom of the hill. Expect at least a 45min drive from Page, AZ. GPS coordinates are 37.124451, -111.977108. Here is the link to Google Maps: https://goo.gl/1q1F85
If you want us to pick you up here, PLEASE CONTACT US AHEAD OF TIME TO MAKE ARRANGEMENTS. We will come by approx. 45-60 mins after the tour departure time (note that this is Utah Time, not Arizona Time). Look for the vehicle marked as Action Photo Tours.
Hiking Options: The most popular way to see Buckskin Gulch is to hike in through the beautiful narrows of Wire Pass down to the petroglyphs and then descend into the gulch from there. We hike downcanyon as far as the group wants to go and then return the same way. You will get to experience several miles of impressive narrows doing this route. For those that are fit and want the most variety in their photos, we recommend a 15-mile round trip hike starting at White House Trailhead and going up to the Buckskin Confluence and back. There are many amazing photo opportunities in the Paria River Canyon and in our estimation, the area of the Buckskin Confluence is the most photogenic part of the entire hike. If time permits, we can visit some narrows upcanyon from the confluence. Because of the length, not many folks elect to do the entire canyon. The through-hike is 21 miles and doesn’t allow much time for photography. In addition, if we did the through-hike, we’d have to spend time setting up the shuttle so there may be additional expense associated with that. Plus, it would be at least a 12 hour day, so we’d have to charge an extra $100/person. The better way to do the through-hike is to book this as an overnight tour. Then you will have enough time for photography. Permits are required to camp overnight in the canyon and must be obtained in advance. Please let us know which hiking option you are interested in. By default, we will select the Wire Pass out-and-back unless prior arrangements are made.
Permits: No permits are required for day-hiking in Buckskin Gulch. However, each participant will need to pay a $6 fee for day hiking from either the Wire Pass or White House Trailheads. A permit is required to camp overnight in the canyon and must be obtained in advance if doing the 2-day option.
Weather Conditions: With this being a slot canyon, we cannot visit the narrows if rain is in the forecast. Should this happen, we will have to make alternate arrangements. We may still be able to hike the Paria River Canyon if the weather if iffy. If it’s really inclement, then we’ll have to visit an alternate destination. This decision will be made the day of the outing based on the consensus of the group. Note that we cannot offer refunds due to weather unless we cannot go out at all. Plan on getting your feet wet on this hike. If it’s been raining or during spring runoff, the Paria River will be flowing. Also, there can be mud and water in Buckskin Gulch and Wire Pass after recent rain. Even though it might be hot outside the canyon, temperatures can drop quickly in the narrows, so make sure you bring a jacket. Also, it can get windy in the canyon.
Hiking / Fitness: The Wire Pass Out-And-Back option requires moderate fitness and we’ll be covering around 5-6 miles. You will need to be able to do some mild scrambling over some boulders. The 15-mile hike to the confluence and back is more strenuous. Even though it’s flat ground, we will be hiking in the water for a lot of it. Participants must be in good hiking shape to attempt this option. No rock scrambling is required for this section. The 21-mile through-hike is very strenuous if done in one day. We recommend doing this only as an overnight trip.
Food/Water: We do not provide food on our outings. All participants should bring their own lunch for the hike. For water, you’ll need at least 3 liters per person during the warmer months. Don’t underestimate how much water you’ll need out here! During the cooler months, 2 liters per person is adequate.
What to Wear: You should check the weather forecast prior to coming on the trip (search for Paria, UT on Weather.com). If it’s going to be hot, wear light-colored clothing and a hat since the approach hike will be in the sun. Shorts are advised since we may be walking in water/mud. Bring shoes that you don’t mind getting wet. We don’t recommend sandals since they fill up with grit and rocks. Instead, closed-toed shoes are best. Neoprene socks are useful for the cold water, but any hiking sock will also work in the warmer months. Don’t forget a jacket since it can get cold deep inside the canyon. If the temperatures are cold, this is probably not a good hike to do (i.e. the winter months). Don’t forget sunglasses and sunscreen.
Restroom Facilities: There are restroom facilities at the Wire Pass and White House Trailheads. If you need to use the restroom during the hike, we will have toilet paper and hand sanitizer available. Any defecation will have to be packed out using sealed waste bags.
Cell Phones: Bring your cell phone along! They are great for capturing candid images. Note that you will not have service in the canyon. Cell phones will struggle to take good photos in the deepest parts of the canyon.
Group Size: Our groups will never exceed 5 people per guide. We like to keep our photo tours small so we can give adequate individual attention.
Camera Gear: A wide angle zoom lens is most useful in Buckskin Gulch (equivalent 16-35 on a full-frame camera or 10-22mm on a crop sensor). There are opportunities for mid-range and macro shots so you can bring any of those lenses if you like – just ensure your pack isn’t too heavy. We highly recommend that all participants bring a tripod (ensure it’s one you can hike with). It’s much too dark inside the canyon for hand-held shots, unless you like shooting at ISO3200 and f/4. The only filters we recommend are a circular polarizer for glare control on water surfaces. Don’t forget extra batteries, memory cards, and cleaning supplies. Please contact us if you’d like to rent any camera gear for your outing.
Reviews: We really appreciate Trip Advisor Reviews after your trip. Here’s the link to write a review: https://goo.gl/lwJgOy. You can read what other folks have been saying here: https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g57030-d9974440-Reviews-Action_Photo_Tours-Kanab_Utah.html
Safety: Our guides are trained in CPR/First-Aid. All 4WD vehicles are equipped with extraction equipment and a first-aid kit. We carry a satellite beacon with us in case of emergencies outside of cell range.