Scenic USA - Utah

Paria Canyon

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Paria Canyon - Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness, Utah

Photos by Rob Jones
Paria Canyon-Buckskin Gulch Report

     Known for its parched, desert-like topography and treeless landscapes, a large portion of America's Southwest has endured many flash floods and occasional heavy rains over a long period of time. Buckskin Gulch Petroglyphs - Paria Canyon/Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness These intense, but quick storms are responsible for much of the area's canyonlands scenery, iconic rock formations and the Southwest's most unique slot canyons.
     Here in the Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness, area hikers will find some of the most popular backcountry adventures and some of the most spectacular scenery in southern Utah and northern Arizona. Although incomparable to the majestic scenery at the Grand Canyon National Park, a hike into Paria Canyon offers a rare trip through one of the longest slot canyons on earth. Here in the Paria Plateau, among 112,500 acres of captivating, Paria Canyon - Paria Canyon/Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness yet humbling sandstone landscapes, a Paria Canyon journey will yield an unforgettable experience for those few backcountry explorers. Although day permits will get you into the canyon, most backcountry hikers will add in the Paria River and Buckskin Gulch for a two-day loop trip. Overnight permits are limited due to the popularity of this canyon, and are obtained through the Bureau of Land Management.
     Flash floods and summer thunderstorms are especially dangerous to slot canyon hikers. Storms as far away as 50 miles can send a 100 foot wall of water down the canyon. Most hikers choose spring or fall to tackle Buckskin Gulch when the water may only be ankle deep and the threat of thunderstorms is diminished. There are occasional deep pools that can be chest high and drop-offs that may require a temporary hand-line, but this exceptional journey through the narrow slot ranks among the best.

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