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    Buckskin Gulch: how to visit one of the largest canyons in America

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    Joel Fulleda

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    Although it is not one of the most popular tourist destinations, the Buckskin Gulch it is the longest and deepest slot canyon (the height of the walls reaches 500 meters in some points) in the southwestern United States and according to some of the world. It can be reached by taking the Highway 89, and is located roughly halfway between the cities of Kanab and Page on the border between the states of Utah and Arizona.

    Together with the Water Holes Canyon it is certainly a valid alternative for those who have not been able to book a tour to the very popular Antelope Canyon, or simply want to enjoy this spectacle of nature without having too many tourists around.


    • How to travel to Buckskin Gulch
    • How to obtain a permit to visit the Buckskin Gulch
    • Recommendations to keep in mind
    • Where to sleep in the area

    How to travel to Buckskin Gulch

    You can reach the Buckskin Gulch by undertaking four paths walking

    • Buckskin Trailhead: to reach the beginning of this trail you must take the House Rock Valley Rd for 7 kilometers. From the beginning of the path to reach the Buckskin Gulch you will have to walk for at least 5 kilometers in a very wide gorge before the walls start to get higher on both sides and start the actual canyon. This has the disadvantage of making the experience longer, tiring and distracting.
    • Wire Pass Trailhead: this is the solution most popular among tourists who want to take a trip to Buckskin Gulch. The start of this trail is also located along House Rock Valley Rd just under 6 kilometers south of the Buckskin Trailhead. This trail is named after a small canyon that you have to walk through before reaching the larger Buckskin Gulch.
      It is the most popular solution, especially for those who do not have the whole day to devote to the excursion, because it allows you to reach the first part of the Buckskin Gulch in a relatively short time, while traveling through a spectacular slot canyon. Also at the confluence with the Buckskin Gulch you can observe sculptures along the walls ancient petroglyphswhich makes this choice even more recommended. From this point on, the canyon continues for over 25 kilometers before reaching the Paria Canyon.
    • White House Trailhead: like the previous one, this route is also recommended if you only have half a day to dedicate to this excursion. The trail starts at the end of the White House Trailhead Road where there is also a camping area. Before entering the real canyon, however, there will be a part of the road to go through a wider gorge which, like what happens in the Buckskin Trailhead, for some can turn out to be a much less fascinating experience.
    • Middle Trail: this trail is the most not recommended of the four because after having traveled the usual House Rock Valley Rd for 4 kilometers it needs to use another road that is much more seedy. Also to access the base of the Buckskin Gulch you have to climb a stretch of wall.

    How to obtain a permit to visit the Buckskin Gulch

    Il Buckskin Gulch it is part of the area of Paria Canyon – Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness and it is necessary to have a permit at a cost of $ 6 per person to be deposited at the classic self-pay boxes, which you find at the beginning of each route, with the payment receipt to be affixed to the dashboard of your vehicle.

    Recommendations to keep in mind

    While it is undoubtedly a very unique and fascinating attraction, there are many recommendations to be taken into account before venturing out to explore the Buckskin Gulch. First of all, the roads that lead to the various paths are all dirt roads and, to be safe, it is better to have a 4 × 4 vehicle or in any case with a sufficient height above the ground.

    When it rains, or it has recently rained, moreover both the trail roads and the House Rock Valley Road, due to the mud, become substantially impassable, moreover do not underestimate the dangers of a flash flood sudden that, especially inside a slot canyon, can be extremely dangerous. So be careful even if it has rained heavily in places close to Buckskin Gulch.

    Once you reach the starting points of the various trails you will encounter numerous obstacles along your path, from heaps of masses a puddles of water more or less deep which can remain for many months after thunderstorms before completely drying out. Recommended times of the year to hike Buckskin Gulch are in spring and autumn (therefore during the so-called dry season when rainfall is less likely), because in the summer the heat can be really torrid, making it very difficult for an excursion later in the morning.

    Another recommendation concerns clothing. You will not have to miss suitable shoes (much better if waterproof) and bring an adequate supply of water with you. Obviously, be cautious in general and beware of dangerous animals in this area such as snakes.

    To be updated on the status of the routes and on any factors to be taken into consideration, you can contact the Paria Contact Station which is located on Highway 89, 8 miles before (or after depending on where you are coming from) the entrance to House Rock Valley Rd. Bureau of Land Management it is open seasonally from March 15th to November 15th from 8:00 to 16:30 every day of the week.

    Where to sleep in the area

    As mentioned, Buckskin Gulch is basically halfway between the city of Kanab in Utah and Page in Arizona. Depending on your itinerary, one of the two accommodations will certainly be right for you. To get a general idea of ​​the hotel offer of the two cities, you can read our advice on where to sleep in Page e where to sleep in Kanab.

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