Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness Trails

Kanab, Utah 84741

Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness Trails

Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness Trails Professional Guide

Detailed Trail Description from our Guidebook

"The Paria River runs through Paria Canyon, carving a scenic route that is one of the most popular hiking-backpacking destinations in Utah. Buckskin Gulch is a tributary to Paria Canyon, and at 16 miles, it is said to be the longest slot canyon in the world. Wire Pass is a short tributary of Buckskin Gulch.

Canyons that do not house a permanent stream nevertheless have “tributaries” formed by flash floods and seasonal meltwater. Buckskin Gulch runs roughly southeast to meet the Paria River and is entirely in the Utah portion of the designated wilderness. This trail guide includes descriptions of Buckskin Trailhead to Wire Pass Trailhead, and Wire Pass to Nuckskin Gulch."

Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness Trails Reviews

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We hiked to The Wave from Wire Pass trailhead with our 5-year-old daughter, who LOVED it. After you register for the hiking permit online, the BLM sends a very detailed set of instructions in color, including GPS coordinates / landmarks. As you hike across slickrock you'll also see cairns pointing to the most efficient routes. It got pretty hot mid-day in early April so I can't even imagine hiking this in the summer, try to go in spring or fall... What an experience exploring the Wave. We were there 2 hours and it felt like 15 minutes. My only complaint -- a German photographer who camped out at the best spot with his tripod. Luckily after lunch he moved a few feet so we could take photos. How rude! And they say American tourists are the most annoying.
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Hiked to "The Wave" a fantastic canyon and geological formation still so pristine that there really isn't a trail to follow. I constantly had the sense that I was the first person to tread in some of the areas of the canyons and boulder fields. We made this trek in early December and the weather was fantastic. I would imagine a summer hike would be almost intollerable in triple digit temperatures. Register with the Bureau of Land Management in Kanab to get a permit (only 20 person per day allowed) and you should expect to see a Ranger sometime during the day. Starting from Wire Pass Trail Head the route to THE WAVE is approximately 2 hours one way (~4 miles). This is a great day hike, and only a bit technical if you decide to scramble up the sandstone face to the Arch above The Wave. Otherwise a very moderate hike with High Desert scenery you'll only find in Northern Arizona. One major consideration is the access road to the trail head from Hwy 89. If the road is wet and muddy do NOT even attempt to get through. Several sections of the road are totally empassable after a rain. Be careful and tread lightly on the sandstone portions of the area... One careless step and you will damage the delicate carvings that have been forming from thousands of years of erosion from wind and rain. This area is a real treasure!

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Trail Information

Nearby City
Several options
Trail Type
Skill Level
Best Spring through Fall
3,200 feet
Trailhead Elevation
7,300 feet
Top Elevation
Bureau of Land Management, Vermillion and Kanab Resource Areas and Arizona Strip Office in St. George; National Park Service, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area
Local Contacts
USGS Kanab, Smokey Mountain, Pine Hollow Canyon (UT), West Clark Bench (UT), Bridger Point (UT), Coyote Buttes (AZ), and others
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Dec 2018