Buckskin Gulch: The Longest Slot Canyon

So you’ve heard of Antelope Canyon. That photogenic slot canyon in northeast Arizona where you just can’t take a bad picture. But have you heard of Buckskin Gulch? Over 13 miles long, it’s allegedly the longest slot canyon in the world. You don’t have to pay for a tour here, but you do need to pay the BLM for a hiking permit, which you can do right at the parking lot. The best towns to stay near here are either Kanab, UT or Page, AZ. They’re both about an hour away. We stayed in Kanab because we wanted to also hike The Wave. There’s a lottery system for that every morning at 9am, and we didn’t win the lottery. But the hike through Buckskin more than made up for it!

Make sure to stop by the BLM and check weather reports since it is a slot canyon, and flash floods can happen around this area. When it does, you don’t want to be strolling around in there. But if all’s good, bring plenty of water and some snacks, and get ready for a nice, cool hike. (Though it can be pretty dang hot outside the canyon.) The BLM ranger suggested starting at the Wire Pass Trailhead. Upon entering…

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Notice the sticks and debris stuck from a flash flood?
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It gets pretty narrow in some spots.
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And then it widens up in other areas.
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It had rained about a week or so before our hike. Sometimes you might be walking in areas with ankle or knee deep water. This was the most water we saw on our hike that day in May.
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Once you hike in a bit from Wire Pass Trailhead, you get to a T-intersection clearing area. Going left, it’s a short hike to the Buckskin Gulch trailhead. Going right is a much longer hike, ending at the Paria River.
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In that clearing area, look around carefully and you’ll find ONE petroglyph.
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This spot is a challenge for short people. Don’t hike this by yourself if you’re a shorty like me. You’ll have to wait for someone to come by to help lift you over that rock!
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If you’re heading to Kanab to try and win the lottery for The Wave, but weren’t one of the lucky 10 out of 100 people in the room that morning, head over to Buckskin Gulch and you’ll be just as happy this hike. Plus most of it is in the shade!