Buckskin Gulch & The Paria

Nick

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Aug 9, 2007
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I've had Buckskin on my radar for quite sometime and I'm thinking 2012 is the year I do it. I'm wondering if anyone can shed some light on what the best time of year to hit it would be. Seems like spring could be a bit soupy in there but I don't know. What's it like inside the world's longest slot canyon?

And what is the best route? The point-to-point down to Lee's Ferry sounds awesome but maybe a Wire Pass to White House would be more reasonable?
 

DOSS

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Jan 17, 2012
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I am officially inviting myself on your trip :)

I did the wire pass to White house route a couple of years back as a single night and it was great, I am pretty sure that the best bet is to expect it to be a little soupy and have some wades while you are there as well as crossing the paria about a million times the next day :) Here is my trip report http://scottsadventuresandworld.wordpress.com/2009/08/17/buckskin-gulch/
I would be up for either route though but don't know what time of year is going to be the best in all reality..
 

cirrus2000

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Jan 18, 2012
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Mine was a little wacky. I went in March 1, Wire Pass to Lees Ferry. It was quite cold the first couple of nights - some cold snowy weather had gone through a couple of days before. The last people to do the full trip had come out a couple of days before me. The next group through was starting on the day I exited. In other words - I was very, very alone! Didn't see anyone for the whole trip, 'til I got to the parking lot at the end.

Weather-wise, as I said, cold the first couple of nights, after that it was nice. Last day I was sweating as I reached my car.

I got a shuttle from Betty Price. On the way up, she told me that the last people through (a group of pastors) had said that Buckskin was the driest they had ever seen. It was true - the deepest I got all the way through was just a tiny bit above the knee.

With the cold weather, I missed out on foliage - dry and brown everywhere. Some riparian greenery would have been nice. The pluses were the solitude, cool temperatures, and the dryness in Buckskin. One day I plan to do the trip again, with greenery, but do it backwards: Lees Ferry to Wire Pass.

Some photos (taken with one battery and one 1GB card): https://picasaweb.google.com/cirrus2000/BuckskinParia
 

markj

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Jan 21, 2012
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My lady and I have been looking to do it this year. We explored Wire Pass and a short distance into Buckskin while passing through last year- http://marktheintern.blogspot.com/2011/09/labor-day.html -and it's been on our minds ever since. If anyone is planning a weekend trip down there and doesn't mind another pair tagging along, give us a shout.
Thanks.
 

Kirk

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Jan 21, 2012
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I did Wire Pass to Lee's Ferry in mid-September 2010. The water was low and cool, the springs were flowing, and the weather was perfect. We had a 12-person group and spent 4 days hiking. I would have liked an extra day to do some more exploring. The pools in the Buckskin were muddy and cool but never more than knee-deep. It's still my favorite trip.
 

pixie1339

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I would think May and September would be good months, as you avoid monsoon season and still have warm weather and long days. It can be cold in deep slots, especially if you have to do any wading. Either route would be amazing. I imagine you're planning on backpacking instead of a thru hike, correct?
 

Nick

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Alright, I'm sold. Just checked the permit calendar and the only weekend after march with more than 2 permits is Easter weekend. Maybe I'll wait until Feb 1 and snatch some up for early May right after the spring semester ends. Wire Pass to Lee's Ferry and a 30+ mile loop through the Maze in the same month sounds pretty nice. :)
 

HomerJ

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Anyone on here done the Wire Pass to White House as a day trip? Any tips/recommendations?
 

DOSS

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Anyone on here done the Wire Pass to White House as a day trip? Any tips/recommendations?
Don't do it, take the time to enjoy the trip, that is my recommendation.. I did it as a single night trip and I think you would have to start in the dark and end in the dark missing a lot of the pretty of the place.
 

HomerJ

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Don't do it, take the time to enjoy the trip, that is my recommendation.. I did it as a single night trip and I think you would have to start in the dark and end in the dark missing a lot of the pretty of the place.
That's what I was thinking, but my friend is wanting to do the day hike. I'm afraid that we'd have to hurry too much and I wouldn't have time to setup my tripod and take proper photos.

Thanks
 

Nick

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That's what I was thinking, but my friend is wanting to do the day hike. I'm afraid that we'd have to hurry too much and I wouldn't have time to setup my tripod and take proper photos.

Thanks

That sounds kind of awful to me. Isn't it like 20 miles?
 

Jammer

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Feb 23, 2012
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I've done the Buckskin a couple of times -- great hike. It's pretty cool to camp in the canyon near the confluence, but here's a creative alternate way to do it if you are comfortable with some scrambling:

Drive to Middle Trail TH -- Camp on the ridge which looks down on the canyon and over to Steamboat Rock and way off to Coyote Buttes North.
Leave your camp and drive to Buckskin TH (or Wirepass)
Hike to Middle Trail exit and climb up to your camp which is waiting for you.
Day 2 -- hike back down in and finish the Buckskin and head up the Paria to White House TH.

This strategy does NOT require an overnight permit (but you should still get two Day Hike permits.)

Getting up and down the Middle Trail is not for those afraid of heights and assumes a pretty good sense of navigation if coming from the bottom up. You also need to be sure to not MISS the exit. Once up on top you can make a side hike to Cobra Arch -- you know since you have so much extra time from not carrying a big pack through the slot! :)

- Jamal
 

HomerJ

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Awesome idea Jamal!! :twothumbs: So if you camp up on top you don't need a backpacking permit?!! That's good to know! I really like this idea, then I don't have to pack my gear through the canyon, just a daypack!
 
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