Hike Buckskin Gulch, Vermillion Cliffs Wilderness

15 miles  - Point-to-Point Trail

Added by Tobin Akehurst

You have the option to hike the whole 15 miles but you can also hike in a few miles and turn back while still getting the experience of exploring Buckskin Gulch, the longest slot canyon in the world. Be super aware and careful of flash floods, check in on weather before going. You'll need a $5 self issue permit required at trailhead.

Buckskin Gulch is a natural wonder. At 15 miles long it is the longest slot canyon in the world. It sometimes is as narrow as 2ft. Because of the nature of this canyon and Utah topography this canyon is subject to deadly flash flood if it rains anywhere along the headwaters. Be sure to check in with local Rangers about current flash flood predictions.

Starting at the Wire Pass Trailhead gives you a shorter, more scenic start to Buckskin Gulch. Once you are in the canyon there is only two ways to go, farther in, or out.

We hiked in 5 miles before turning around without needing to wade through any water deeper than 8 inches. You can backpack the whole length of the canyon if you have appropriate gear and experience. If you choose to go farther will likely have to wade, or swim through deep, sometimes putrid water.

This is a real adventure, not easy, and not always safe. However, the peaceful serenity of the silent canyon with its majestically sweeping sandstone walls, painted in hues of yellow, orange, red and pink will soon seduce you into staying a while in this otherwise inhospitable place.

Read More

Tags

Rock Climbing
Chillin
Camping
Photography
Swimming
Backpacking
Hiking
Easy Parking
River
Romantic
Scenic

Reviews

Leave a Review

Overall rating: 

Long Sandy Hike

The canyon is beautiful but the sand makes this trek so much more exhausting. Be sure to check the weather before heading into the canyon due to flash flood risks.

Great hike

I really enjoyed this one. I got a little muddy and wish I had brought poles and minimalist outdoor shoes in addition to my boots for the muddy spots. Bring exact change ($6) for the permit. Check the weather and stop at the BLM office as rain as far away as Brice Canyon can affect the slot. Some video I took - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GiQyGFl_hzM

Explorer

🥈 Contributor

about 4 years ago

Incredible slot canyon without all the crowds!

I would agree...if you aren't able to get Wave permits hike Buckskin Gulch instead. It starts from the same trail head. But this is a wilderness experience for sure and make sure you're cautious. We hiked it in winter and it got pretty cold down into the slot so bring plenty of layers. Also be cautious when hiking into the pools. It's very muddy and my friends sank pretty deep into the quicksand! Bring hiking polls to help. Overall you need to add Buckskin Gulch to to your list!

Worthwhile Wonder

Buckskin Gulch is a sublime wonderland, and though not as delicate as Antelope Canyon (or other area classics), it makes for an exceptional day-hike when you weren't able to snag your Wave permit! Some moderate scrambling skills (Class 2-3) were necessary last time I made my way through the canyon. As always, do not enter the canyon if there is any chance of significant precipitation in the area: Buckskin and the Paria drain from the Colorado Plateau and flash floods can and do reach the canyon from as far North as Bryce!

Explorer

🥇Top Contributor

over 4 years ago

A wonderful canyon!

It has been called one of the most deadly hikes in the world. Every turn the canyon took I had to snap another photo. I have never been in any canyon that match the magnitude of Buckskin. While in the canyon we saw an owl that tried to land on my fathers backpack but missed and instead landed into some water. We also saw a baby rattlesnake. Before we started it rained really hard and when we entered the canyon there was a small river moving through it. It was crazy. What a fun trip.

Stay Nearby

Kanab, Utah

The Casita At Purradise

The Casita at Purradise is set on five acres of beautiful high desert, bordered by Pinyon Pines and brush. This unique ecosystem has a mixture of plants and animals found nowhere else in the world....

From $115/night

Kanab, Utah

The Cabin At Purradise

One of the first things our guests notice at the Cabin at Purradise is the deep sense of quiet. The wind whispering through the wilderness is often the loudest sound you'll hear. Far from any built...

From $135/night

Fredonia, Arizona

Jacob Lake Recreation Area

Overview Jacob Lake Recreation Area is conveniently located in Jacob Lake, Arizona, the gateway to the Grand Canyon's North Rim. The campground is nestled among the towering Ponderosa Pine trees of...

Fredonia, Arizona

Riverside Trail Park

Two private camping sites with water, porta-potty, and porta-shower. Easy access by vehicle just minutes off hwy 89A. Great place to stop overnight to visit the north rim of the Grand Canyon and ...

From $30/night

Nearby Adventures

  • Hiking Through Wire Pass Slot Canyon

    Wire Pass is a hike through a scenic slot canyon that is often overlooked due to it's close proximity to the very famous Wave. Unlike the "Wave" a permit is not required to make the hike, only a day use fee at the trail head.Getting to the trail h...

  • Hike Coyote Buttes North to the Wave

    The hike to the Wave is 2.5 miles (one-way). When you arrive, take in the sandstone showing incredible striations of red, orange, pink, yellow, and beige. Please note that this adventure is only accessible by obtaining a permit. Only 20 visitors a...

    5.5 miles

  • Hike the Buckskin Mountain Passage from Stateline Campground on the Arizona Trail

    Depending how you approach this 800 mile trail, I did the first 4 miles or last 4 miles as an out and back from Stateline Campground on the Utah/Arizona state line and the border of Vermilion Cliffs National Monument. This section of the t...

    8 miles 1400 ft gain

  • Hike to the White Pocket

    White Pocket is extremely difficult to access due to the road leading to it. There are sections with very deep, soft sand going uphill! You must have a high clearance 4WD vehicle and air down your tires to have any hope of making it here. Do not t...

    4 miles