Nationally known for its beauty, the Paria Canyon has towering walls streaked with desert varnish, huge red rock amphitheaters, sandstone arches, wooded terraces, and hanging gardens.
Paria Canyon, Buckskin Gulch, and Wire Pass combine to form one of the longest slot canyon systems in the United States. Portions of the permit area are included in the Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness, Kanab Field Office, Vermilion Cliffs National Monument, and Glen Canyon National Recreation Area.
The Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness contains a variety of scenic, geological, historical, biological, and recreational values. Paria Canyon is noted for its scenery caused by erosion of the sedimentary rocks in the 2,500’ deep canyon producing a variety of unusual geological features such as arches, amphitheaters, and massive sandstone walls. At the Arizona-Utah border the Paria Canyon and its tributary, Buckskin Gulch, form spectacular ‘narrows’ only a few feet wide in places and several hundred feet deep.
These geological features are enhanced by springs, hanging gardens, wooded terraces, interesting plants, and a variety of wildlife. The canyon rims provide scenic panoramas of not only the Paria Canyon and its tributaries, but also the outlying canyon country, sandstone plateaus, and towering cliffs.
Opportunities for visitors to experience solitude vary from good to outstanding, depending on the area of use. Excellent opportunities exist for a variety of primitive and unconfined types of recreation. Backpack through water-sculpted narrows and colorful geological layers on your way through this spectacular canyon.
Expect the wild! In both the Paria Canyon and the Buckskin Gulch there are no marked trails, few drinking water sources, and only occasional contact with other visitors. The canyons present numerous hiking difficulties such as miles of stream-bed strewn with small cobblestones making footing difficult, quicksand and deep mud, threats of flash floods, large and deep stagnant pools of cold water that might require swimming, and canyon obstructions such as log and rock jams that may involve the use of ropes to ensure a safe descent. To help protect yourself and the wilderness experience, please take the following precautions:
- Check weather forecasts, river flow, and route conditions at the Paria Contact Station, the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument Kanab Visitor Center, or online before you go.
- Obtain accurate information about your route.
- Tell a responsible person your itinerary and whom to contact if you are overdue.
- If you carry an emergency beacon or SPOT, know how and when to use it. False alarms put rescuers at risk and can cause lasting damage to the canyons.
- Violators of group size may be cited if limit is exceeded. Do not travel or camp in larger groups.