NW Adventures,  Maps & GPS Tracks

Buckskin / Paria Canyon 6-1-17

Ever since reading a small blurb somewhere, about a hike through one of the longest, most scenic slot canyons in the world…I just couldn’t get it out of my head….I must do the Buckskin-Paria Canyon…

The first challenge was securing a permit. The BLM only allows 20-people in the canyon per day for overnight stays. I was next to the computer at the exact second the permits went on line for the date we wanted to start. It took me approximately 30-seconds to fill in the blanks before hitting the “submit” button. Too late, 19 permits were already gone…leaving only one left when I hit “submit”. By the time I was able to secure 2-permits, we were leaving a couple days after we originally wanted…oh well, we were thankful we got permits.

The second challenge was the logistics….coming from Portland, there’s the air travel, car, lodging, shuttle scheduling to the trailheads…etc. And because we added the Grand Canyon Rim to Rim hike on to the itinerary, the logistics got a whole lot more complicated. A huge thanks goes out to my kind and lovely wife, Deb, for dealing with the logistics. Thank you my love…

I was in charge of beta gathering, map making, waypoints and tracks for the GPS units…
The first leg of our week long vacation was the Buckskin / Paria Canyon. After 3.5-days, 3-nights…and 44-miles it was on to our second leg of our vacation, the Grand Canyon Rim to Rim hike in 10+ hours…23-miles by about 5k foot of elevation gain.

The Buckskin / Paria Canyon backpack starts at the Wire Pass Trailhead. Wire Pass is a shallow wash that drains into the Buckskin Gulch slot canyon which drains into the Paria Canyon…which empties into the Colorado River at Lees Ferry, 44-miles from the trailhead.

From Wire Pass trailhead, down through the Buckskin Gulch, to the confluence of the Paria Canyon is about 14 miles of deep narrow slot with the occasional knee deep puddles, boulder down climbs, and narrow squeezes. While this section was an incredible and unique experience we were pretty ready for it to be over after the first ten miles, and looking forward to it opening up where we could feel the sun on our skin. Our first night was at the confluence of Buckskin and Paria. We found a nice sandy spot elevated a bit above the water line.

Day two we traveled down the Paria Canyon, basically down the middle of the river which never really got above ankle deep. Staying in or along the shore of the river made for easier walking because the sand was harder than the dry sand. We travelled 11-miles this day. So many S-turns in this river, so many things to look at. I’m really glad we decided to take our time and enjoy the sights. Night two was spent up a couple hundred feet from the river, under some trees…on a nice sandy surface.

Day three we travelled another 11-miles which included a side trip to see the Wrather Arch, which was rather large 🙂

Day four was a short day, about 9-miles to the confluence of Paria and the Colorado River. After a few miles the canyon opened up, and the “upper trail” appeared. Because the canyon opened up, the temps rose to the mid 90’s so we decide to stay on the trail because we could move faster…getting us to our car at Lees Ferry by early afternoon.

Wow! This was an incredible trip. Such a scenic place. In the four days we were in the canyon we only saw a small handful of others.

Check out the map of our journey and the GPS track, under the “Maps & GPS Tracks” tab…

So many pics…here are some of them…

My wonderful partner and myself, at the trailhead, leaving for the 3.5 day adventure…

Wire Pass wash…

First obstacle…

Amazing slot canyon, Buckskin Gulch…

Whoa! that was close….

Sometimes the path is sandy…and sometimes it’s rocky…

We took full advantage of the warm sun on the face, it doesn’t happen much in this canyon…

Navigating the occasional knee deep puddle…

Flash flood remnants…

Young juvenile Great Horned owl…

…this one still with baby feathers

The texture of the walls is amazing…

Light around the corner…

The only escape route out of Buckskin Gulch, this dicey 4th class climb up the inside corner…to safety from a flash flood…about 8-miles in from the trailhead

This is the “technical” spot listed in the beta…as you can see, not very technical….

…glad they left the ropes though. We brought a short light rope, ended up using it for a clothes hanger…

See some crazy shit down here sometimes…

Sometimes, like here, it would appear as a dead-end…couldn’t tell which way until you got there…

At the confluence of Buckskin Gulch and Paria Canyon…

Happy campers after a long day in Buckskin Gulch…

Camp #1

Larva…

Some places if you stand in one spot too long you would sink in the saturated sand…

Water leaching out of the canyon wall…

Some kind of insect gathering in a pocket on the canyon wall…

Filtering water from one of many springs…

Camp #2

Colorful lizard…

…moments later with a mouth full of beetle…

A side trip up to the Wrather Arch…

Female big horn sheep…

Hmmmm…not sure…got a pretty good idea though.

Camp spot #3…

Canyon opens up and we make good time on the trail…

Ancient sand dunes….

I can hear the cold beer calling my name…

3.5 days and 45 miles later….

California Condor…

Glenn Canyon Dam…

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