However, after inclement weather, the road can be impassable even to 4×4 vehicles. I have been there once and backpacking is my favorite to enjoy there. A log stuck in the narrow walls of Buckskin Gulch, about 40 feet (12 m) above the ground level, August 2009. In the second part of this series, find out how Flat Stanley, and the rest of us, manage to escape the flash flood and learn Navajo. Bridget recently posted…My Plans for 2021 – Will I return to the Appalachian Trail? Flat Stanley appears unconcerned. Pinned it for later. It is fraught with potential deadly threats from dehydration, venomous snakes, challenging terrain, no GPS or cell service, rockslides, and the ever-present real danger of flash floods. After gorging on blueberry cheesecake, we all lie back on our sandy benches, staring at the heavens. It is also possible to day hike from either trailhead, returning the way you went in. Backpacking permits are required for overnighting at any of the campsites along the Paria Canyon corridor. It is located at the mouth of Paria Canyon, 7.5-miles upstream (dry for much of the year as well) from the confluence. I notice that though my GPS usually won’t function in the canyon, it intermittently springs to life whenever the walls surrounding us become lower. “I think we should turn back now,” says a worried Suzanne. Before you leave, you’ll want to park two cars, one at Wire Pass and one at your endpoint (probably White House Trailhead). For this reason, you should take care of your business before you go. . Donât get me wrong, â¦ Buckskin Gulch (named on some maps as Kaibab Gulch, or The Dive) is a tributary of the Paria River that drains an area around the Vermilion Cliffs in far south Utah and joins the Paria exactly at the Utah/Arizona border, 20 miles from Lees Ferry next to the Colorado River. They selected the spot with a flash flood in mind. I even concede that Flat Stanley won’t require us to carry any extra supplies considering that he doesn’t eat much and, since he’s made of paper, water is his mortal enemy. It sometimes is as narrow as 2ft. Buckskin Gulch and the Paria River Narrows. Three trailheads give access to the gulch; Middle, Wire Pass and Buckskin. Click here for a more detailed guide for the Middle Trail Escape. The canyon is typically no wider than ten feet and gets as narrow as two feet. ARIA CANYON-VERMILLION CLIFFS WILDERNESS, Utah — “Meet Flat Stanley,” my sister Jen says to me as I’m about to leave her house. Hikers climb up sandstone formations on the Middle Route near Buckskin Gulch. Buckskin Gulch is located in the southwestern part of Utah very close to the Arizona border. Lucky to be Alive - Flash Flood in Buckskin Gulch KANE COUNTY, Utah -- A group of hikers say they are "extremely lucky" to be alive after a flash flood came roaring down the slot canyon they were camping in during a 5-day excursion in southern Utah. Soon, it becomes obvious that we won’t make it to the first safe campsite before dark. You can also continue on to safe campsites at the confluence of Buckskin Gulch and the Paria Canyon, 14.5 miles from the start. Buckskin Gulch to Middle Route GPS track (download GPX or KML). Buckskin Gulch is best explored as a multi-day backpacking trip but a permit is needed and the process is very competitive. If however you are headed to Kanab hit up Escobar’s Mexican Restaurant or Houston’s Trails End. WARNING: Flash Floods Occur Here â They Can Kill You! What time of the year did you go and what was the temperature like? How long? The recommended route requires a shuttle. Backpacker Magazine lists Buckskin as one of the 10 most dangerous hikes in America because of the flood potential. A tent sits high on a ledge near the Middle Route, in a place we named The Penthouse. But our major concern is that there are only two safe places for us to camp: at the confluence of the Paria River and Buckskin Gulch (11.5 miles away) and atop the apparently impossible-to-find Middle Route escape trail (6 miles away). This takes us longer than expected due to our last-minute decision to hike the entire distance of Buckskin Gulch and the Paria Canyon, from Wire Pass to Lee’s Ferry, a much longer trip than the typical two-day Buckskin Gulch-only hike. We begin looking obsessively for the enigmatic Middle Route. My Plans for 2021 – Will I return to the Appalachian Trail. Flat Stanley marvels at the scenery in Buckskin Gulch. These canyons have a very high flash flood potential and caution should be used. I watch it as the displayed coordinates become closer to matching those of the emergency exit. Bureau of Land Management Paria Canyon permit. As we continue, the canyon narrows, the standing pools of water get colder, and the mud gets deeper. Most hiking blogs we’ve read suggest that very few hikers have ever found the route, but I find one blog that provides the exit’s geographic coordinates. As Jen tells it to me, the story strikes me as surprisingly scary and morbid, especially in a book meant for children, but then I remember enjoying as a kid the terrifying stories of genius children’s writer Roald Dahl. With their steep, narrow passages, slot canyons are especially susceptible to flash flooding, so hikers should never venture into Buckskin Gulch while it is raining or when rain is in the forecast. But, finally, we spot a steep route up the walls, across jagged, sand-covered stone, on the canyon’s left side. The canyon is very deep and narrow so GPS devices are almost completely useless and actual distance can’t be measured reliably. The Buckskin Gulch and Wire Pass Trailheads are accessed via the House Rock Valley Road which can be a rough dirt and gravel road. When I look at the GPS, which, thankfully, happens to be functioning because the canyon walls have temporarily widened, the coordinates are correct. In Brown’s book, the newly-flat Stanley quickly learns how to sneak under doors into locked rooms and visit faraway places through the mail. Sadly, there is no food anywhere near the trailheads. So, the group, even Flat Stanley, seems a bit tense when we begin the hike midday, especially Rich and Suzanne, our unfaltering worrywarts. “Then write a story about what he did. And another hike to add to my bucket list! Buckskin Gulch has no toilets. Obtain an accurate weather forecast prior to entering the canyon. Flat Stanley doesn’t seem hungry. Start hiking in the morning, leaving immediately at dawn. It shaves off 2.8-miles of what is inevitably a very long day. After seven miles of hiking, everyone is tired from our heavy packs filled with over eight pounds of water per person (no water sources are available in the canyon). Even without his input, the group decides to continue hiking. We hike slowly, giving us time to enjoy the fantastic, alien scenery fully and take photos. The floodwaters originated in the headwaters of the Buckskin, far north of the slot canyon itself, from a monsoonal downpour not â¦ Day-hikers can purchase a day-use permit at any of the trailheads for a small cash fee ($6 as of 2020). Be careful.). I am going with the park service’s distances although the canyon feels longer. The signed turnoff to Buckskin Gulch Trailhead (located 0.2 mile east of the road), which you avoid, is located a â¦ Camp that night at the Wire Pass Trailhead, 68 miles east of Kanab, Utah. There are no permits held for walk-ins. A wall of raging water and debris can come rushing down the narrows of Buckskin Gulch when thereâs heavy rain in southern Utah. google_ad_client = "ca-pub-6276294760545794"; We fall asleep to the sound of wind, whistling through the canyon, lightly kissing our tents. Buckskin Gulch presents numerous hiking difficulties such as miles of streambed strewn with small cobble stones making footing difficult, threats of flash floods, large and deep stagnant pools of cold water that may require swimming, and log and rock jams, such as the one encountered at Mile 14.5. Jen thinks naively that giving me Luke’s Flat Stanley is a good idea, because I’m about to drive with my friends Wendy, Rich, Suzanne, and Wini to the remote and rugged Paria Canyon-Vermillion Cliffs Wilderness on the Utah-Arizona border to hike the length of Buckskin Gulch, the world’s longest slot canyon. To do so, you’ll need a permit. We erect one of the tents on the lower bench, and then I convince Wini to let me construct our tent on the ledge above, which requires another vertical climb. If you can find it, you may choose to spend the night eight miles in, high above the canyon, at the Middle Route escape trail. My suggestion is don’t enter the canyon in the first place if there is even a slight chance of inclement weather. ... Due to the risk of flash flood there are no good campsites in Buckskin Gulch until you get to the confluence with the Paria. My friend Wendy and I have obsessively checked the weather report over the past week, and meteorologists predict no rain during our trip. It is the longest and deepest slot canyon in the Southwest and offers obstacles like rock jams, pools, quicksand, and the potential for flash floods. A boy made of paper, and five other hikers, traverse Buckskin Gulchâs Middle Route. The overnight permits are released on a monthly rolling window which becomes available at Noon (MDT) on the 1st day of each month three months ahead of time. I think sightseeing is boring. Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email. We don’t feel any more raindrops. Constant vigilance. Due to the popularity of Buckskin Gulch, we reserved five of the required camping permits two months ago. While the campsite known as the Confluence is actually in Buckskin Gulch it is only barely and is considered a part of the Paria Canyon permit system. google_ad_slot = "2575306589"; While backpacking the canyon requires acquiring a permit well in advance of your trip, day hiking only requires filling out a day-use permit and a small cash fee ($6 as of 2020) at one of the two trailheads and placing it in your vehicle. Peekaboo Canyon Wood Fired Kitchen is also a tasty choice especially if you prefer an all-vegetarian menu. This is a very strenuous trip and requires a Class 3 scramble out of Buckskin Gulch on the last day. Now, my wife and I travel as a way of life. Many people have died in slot canyons due to flash floods. I was born to roam. We went in September. I filmed a flash flood in Buckskin Wash / Gulch on 7/29/17. In case you need to go while inside the canyon the park’s service is kind enough to supply a wag bag to all backpackers when you arrive to pick up your permit. This is not a bad thing as it is so narrow that any water it does get quickly pools and can become very dangerous, very quickly. As long as the good Lord allows. “Take him with you wherever you go and take pictures,” Jen demands. Of course, Luke wants his Stanley to travel to places even more adventurous and more exotic than those visited by his classmates’ Stanleys. The only place to camp inside Buckskin Gulch is at the confluence with Paria Canyon (and by permit-only). 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