Buckskin Gulch has been on my bucket list for quite a while. Blake and his friends tried to get permits last year but weren’t able to get get enough; secretly I was happy because I really wanted to go. After that, I told him he wasn’t allowed to go without me. We talked with our friends, Aubrey and Logan, and decided that we should go. Logan got the permits a few months ago and we were ready; Thanks Logan!
After work and a long drive Friday evening, we met up with Aubrey and Logan in Page, AZ . The trail head for Buckskin Gulch is half way between Page, AZ and Kanab, UT. We thought Page would be fun so we could also see Horseshoe Bend; it was pretty unreal to see the view. There are so many amazing photos out there of this iconic place, but standing on the edge looking over the bend was something else. After we spent our fair share of time there and about 100 photos later, we decided it was time to find a spot to camp. We needed two cars for this trip so that we could park one at the beginning of the hike and have one at the end too. We left one car at Whitehouse trail head, where we would be finishing and headed over to the Wire Pass trail head. This is also where you start The Wave, so we were familiar with the area since we got to hike The Wave last year. We camped about a mile down the road from Wire Pass at the Stateline campground. Logan and I took a few star photos. Can’t pass up an opportunity to take photos of the Milky Way. We set our alarms for 6:00 so we could hit the trail early.
The trail starts down Wire Pass wash; after only about a mile the canyon starts to narrow up. There was a slight obstacle as we dropped into the canyon, it was about an 8 foot drop but luckily there were great foot holds due to the driftwood and other debris. Not long after the canyon starts to become more narrow, Wire Pass wash meets up with Buckskin Gulch. Once in Buckskin Gulch, the sky can get hard to see because it is so deep. It was crazy to see the logs and debris lodged between the walls in some areas. In a couple places, the logs were at least 60 feet deep. Definitely would not like to be in the canyon during a flash flood. Also, the canyon walls were all so impressive. Around each corner there was something different about them. A few times one side would look completely wavey and the other side would be as straight as a wall. In some areas there was hardly any light shining in because the walls are so tall. There really isn’t anywhere to exit the canyon until Middle Exit; which is about 6 and a half miles further down the canyon. I had read that we would probably run into water pools that would be knee to neck deep at some point in this six and a half miles but we were very lucky and didn’t run into any. We took a nice break right before we reached Middle Exit and had some lunch/treats.
The next portion of the hike definitely felt the longest to us. We were all anxiously anticipating the Boulder Jam, because we knew that it was going to be our biggest obstacle. The Boulder Jam is only about three miles from Middle Exit. Blake and I were especially anxious to get to the boulder jam so we hiked ahead to find it. We finally reached it, dropped our bags and went to tell Aubrey and Logan that we were getting close. We were all a little exhausted by this point so it was nice to reach the final stretch of our long day. While Blake was setting up a hand line to get down the Boulder Jam, it is an 18-20 foot drop, I found the rabbit hole. I was so glad that I found it because I wasn’t looking forward to hand lining down the huge boulders. The rabbit hole was very easy to climb down. Unfortunately, I don’t have any photos of the rabbit hole or boulder jam.
We knew at this point that we were getting close to where we wanted to camp. The canyon really opens up at the Confluence of the Paria and Buckskin and provides some great spots to camp with some trees and protected ground. From the Boulder Jam, the camping spots are only about a mile away. Along the way, we passed some great little natural springs. The boys later walked back and filtered water for all of us. When we finally reached the camp spots, we were the first group to get there so we picked the best spot, ate dinner and relaxed.The hammocks were definitely the best way to relax and rest our feet. I woke up around 2:30 and looked up to see the Milky Way in between the walls of the canyon. I couldn’t pass up this amazing sight and took a few photos, of course.
Sunday morning, we didn’t want to be hiking in the heat of the day so we woke up around 6:00 packed up and hit the trail. Slide Arch was only about a mile from our camp; we took a few photos here then put away the cameras and made our way to the car. The canyon slowly starts to open up and become less impressive until finally we were just walking through a wide wash. The last seven miles of the trip definitely went the fastest and before we knew it we had reached the car!
This was definitely the most incredible slot canyon I have ever been in. I’m so glad that Blake waited for me to come along and that we could experience this canyon together with our friends! Thanks again for inviting us Aubrey and Logan!
Logan and Aubrey brought their dog Luka and he was a trooper. We loved having him with us; we need a dog now! Luka wore the GoPro through the hike and Logan put together this awesome video!