Paria Canyon from White House to Big Spring


Mar 13, 2012
Four of us backpacked down Paria River Canyon from White House Trail Head down to BIg Spring the week of Apr 25-28, 2017. We did a day hike up Buckskin Gulch as far as the rock jam. The scenery is incredible. We hit the river at a very low flow rate, in fact, the first day down to Buckskin we barely got our feet wet which is unusual for this time of year.

Although there is water the full hike, drinking water is a bit of a premium. The water in Paria initially was milky - full of sandy sediment. Later in the hike (no rain anywhere in sight) the river rose about 6 inches or so and became brown muddy. The water sources we found were:
1. Buckskin Gulch water at the confluence was clear. We filtered from some pools about 1/8 mi up Buckskin - several good campsites on some sand highs. This is about 7 or so miles into the hike.
2. On the right side going DC there are a few seeps. The best one is a bit more than a seep with an actual flow at the bottom on the right side at Big Spring. It was pretty easy to spot with the low water. It was excellent water.

Campsites are also a bit rare as the canyon is narrow with few high sand bars. There is a fair campsite about 3 miles in on the left by an old cottonwood. We utilized this one on the way out. At Buckskin about 1/8 mi up there are numerous sights on both sides. You can't miss these for the trees (not many in the narrow canyon). There are a couple more down on the way to Big Spring but the one at Big Spring has several sights but they are sandy as are all the sights we found in Paria.

Temperatures were great for hiking - highs 60 - 70. Evenings were a bit cool but not bad with lows in the 40s. The only issue was wind. It was quite breezy most of the time. The camp at the trail head was really dusty with sand on Monday evening as was the last night at the cottonwood.

Here is the map of the hike:

Click here to view on CalTopo
Three of the 4 of us at the trail head (Eugene Aufdembrink, Charles Lame and Pastor Chad Miller) - Denis Rutherford was the photographer.


I guess this is "white house"

Some neat rock formations along the trail

A little friend on the trail - very small as compared to the horse dung on the side.

More formations

Up Buckskin - Note the absence of water.

A few picture from Buckskin Gulch:



Buckskin camp

The four of us in Buckskin

Big Spring - nice water

Big Spring Campsite

Last camp site - by a cottonwood tree about 3 1/2 mi from White House


And we had a visitor. We had put up our tents on Friday morning and found this guy (about 4 ft) right in the middle of where our tents were. Temperature was about 40 so thankfully he was pretty lifeless.


And we made it out to the trailhead

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