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Buckskin Gulch hike

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Edinburgh, Scotland
posts: 52
reviews: 4
Buckskin Gulch hike

We’re coming to Utah in the last week of March and I’m interested in a Buckskin Gulch hike.

If we hike in from the Wire Pass trailhead it seems there is an option to go North towards the Buckskin Gulch trailhead or south east towards the Paria River confluence.

Which is the best option in terms of scenery and accessibility?

Are there likely to be parts in either or both directions which would involve wading thru water?

We don’t want to do a particularly long or strenuous hike but would like to see some of Buckskin Gulch if possible.

Las Vegas, Nevada
posts: 1,763
reviews: 24
1. Re: Buckskin Gulch hike

I would go toward the Paria River confluence. But, there most likely will be sections where you will have to wade thru some pretty yucky looking water if you want to keep going. How much water will depend on how much rain the area has had. There won't be as much water going toward the Buckskin Gulch trailhead, but that's not very far nor very scenic. When I went we walked in both directions as far as we felt like walking. Going toward the confluence we hit a section where we just didn't feel like going thru the yucky water, so that's where we turned around. If you do something similar you'll be able to get the feel of the place.

Hudson Valley
posts: 1,250
reviews: 1
2. Re: Buckskin Gulch hike

When we backpacked Buckskin Gulch over Memorial Day in 2006, we had to do a lot of wading. We day hiked this year in March and it was dry as far as we walked. You never know ...

I agree about hiking towards the Paria River confluence. You don't have to go far to be amazed! This past time we hiked about an hour from the confluence before turning around. I have pictures posted of our hike if you want to see:

www.pbase.com/pudgy_groundhog/buckskin2012

Santa Ana, CA
posts: 2,615
reviews: 13
3. Re: Buckskin Gulch hike

Thanks Pudgy for posting those photos again this week. Can't get enough of them!

Mrs. DS loves the one with Norah by herself on the slickrock.

Edited: 8:26 pm, September 18, 2012
Hudson Valley
posts: 1,250
reviews: 1
4. Re: Buckskin Gulch hike

Thanks! We love Buckskin Gulch. :D

Edinburgh, Scotland
posts: 52
reviews: 4
5. Re: Buckskin Gulch hike

Thanks all - that's exactly the sort of info I was looking for. I realise that conditions can change day to day so there are no guarantees but it was encouraging to know that conditions were good this March at least.

Thanks also to Pudgy for posting the photo link. These photos are fantastic and just confirm that this is a hike we should definitely do.

Looking forward to our trip more every day.

Durham, North...
posts: 31
reviews: 18
6. Re: Buckskin Gulch hike

How does Buckskin compare to the popular Antelope Canyon? Looking for alternatives to a crowded slot canyon in June.

Hudson Valley
posts: 1,250
reviews: 1
7. Re: Buckskin Gulch hike

Andrea, I have pictures of both posted on my web page (follow the link above).

From our experience last March:

Antelope Canyon is short, very beautiful, and crowded.

Buckskin Gulch is a longer hike (out and back - so as long as you want it to be), very beautiful, and fewer people.

While Antelope Canyon was very scenic and I'm glad I saw it, we much preferred Buckskin Gulch and Water Holes slot canyon for the general experience. Water Holes we only saw two people. It's pretty too.

Santa Ana, CA
posts: 2,615
reviews: 13
8. Re: Buckskin Gulch hike

When I went I hiked the Wire Pass to Buckskin Gulch. It was a terrific place to hike.

However, Buckskin Gulch was free-flowing mud, like my hiking book said. I didn't have grubby boots or a hiking stick so I could only turn around.

Edinburgh, Scotland
posts: 52
reviews: 4
9. Re: Buckskin Gulch hike

I was surprised to see an update to this thread since it seems so long since I posted, however, it's opportune since we hiked into Buckskin Gulch a couple of days ago, on March 31.

Kathy - good to hear from you again since it was your advice that clinched Buckskin Gulch as a destination on our trip. Here's a mini trip report:-

First thing to mention - we didn't have a 4wd or high clearance SUV, just a standard saloon (don't tell the rental company). House rock valley road to wire pass is not a great surface but, provided it's dry, it's doable. Mrs ElTee was very uneasy about this but we made it safely. Although the Ranger at the Paria Station told us that the road was "as good as it gets", Had the road conditions been any worse I would probably not have done it.

Since there was rain in the vicinity, and we started early afternoon, we figured we'd hike for no more than two hours before turning back since we thought it would take about the same time to hike back out and we wanted to be clear of HRV Road just in case. I've no idea how much rain it takes to make the road impassable to normal cars but if anyone does, feel free to post. As it turned out we hiked in about 1.75 hours but it took less time on the return since we didn't stop for so many photo opportunities! No photos to post unfortunately since we're still on the road (Yosemite at the moment). The photos look ok on the camera but if you want to see what BG looks like follow pudgy groundhog's link above - I don't think my photographic skills will do it justice.

There was no wading in water involved and a few muddy stretches were pretty easily passable. There's a big boulder quite early in the hike which is mildly intimidating. Going down is ok but getting back is the problem. However, don't worry unless you're on your own and not confident or fit. Mrs ElTee made it ok after warning me not to take her photo climbing back (a Bridget Jones moment apparently).

In summary :-

1. The access road is not a great surface. if you have a standard car make sure you're aware of recent conditions.

2. Provided the weather has been dry you can make it with care, hike a reasonable distance and have a very rewarding experience.

3. You will not be alone but you won't have the hordes of tourists encountered in Antelope Canyon.

4. Upper Antelope Canyon is amazing but crowded. BG is more impressive than lower antelope and more enjoyable than upper antelope IMO but not quite as photogenic.

5. At the risk of labouring the point - conditions are volatile. Just because we did this in March doesn't mean you'll be ok later in Spring or Summer. Check before you go.

6. You cannot survive a flash flood. Check in with the Paria Station before you go.

7. If you want to see what BG looks like, follow pudgy_groundhog's link above.

Hudson Valley
posts: 1,250
reviews: 1
10. Re: Buckskin Gulch hike

Thanks for reporting back. I'm glad you enjoyed it! Amazing place, right? Enjoy the rest of your trip!!