Buckskin Gulch in Kanab, Utah is incredible. We were only able to explore a small part of it, and I cannot wait to go back. From what I have read online, the slot canyon is about 15 miles long. It is impressive and so gorgeous. Slot canyons are such a beautiful place to hike and explore and I just love them.
Info on Buckskin Gulch
Buckskin is located right on the border of Utah and Arizona. It is part of the Paria Canyon and Vermillion Cliffs Wilderness. It is a really cool area!! Make sure you plan several days to explore. You need a permit for the gulch, which you get at the trailhead, it is $6/person. It was recommended to us to start at the Buckskin Gulch trailhead. I cannot say whether or not this is the best choice, there are several, but it is the one we took. Next time I think we will try the Wire Pass Trailhead.
Google Maps took us right to the trailhead, so finding it was no problem. The trail follows a riverbed the whole way, so it is easy to follow. You can walk in the riverbed, as long as it is dry, of course, or there are well-traveled trails that will take you across for shortcuts.
As with any other slot canyon, DON'T GO if there is a chance of rain. Just don't. Flash flooding is really serious where there is nowhere to escape. We had a 0% chance and it had been dry for a while the day we went.
Our hiking experience
Now while this is an awesome slot canyon to hike into, let me tell you about our experience and you can learn from our mistakes. :). First, we didn't realize how far the trailhead was from our campsite. Although we were hiking at the end of May, it was already a really warm time in southern Utah. Hiking should be done early in the morning. It was about 75 degrees when we started the hike. This was our first mistake. Start early!
2nd, I had no idea how long the trail was. A few sites I did the research on were pretty vague. I assumed it would be about a mile or maybe 2 to the canyons. Well, it wasn't. The hike itself is not difficult, at all. We are used to hiking up mountainsides, so this was simple. Most are level and easy to walk along. The length was what was tiring. I am not 100% sure, but I believe it was about 3 miles to the canyon.
Even with the long hike, I still loved the area and the hike. It was so beautiful.
So, the problem with the length of the hike was we did not pack enough water. I feel like this was a total rookie mistake, especially in a desert country!
So, we had the heat, length of this hike, and lack of water going against us. How about the complete lack of any shade? You can see in the photos, there are hills around us, but no shade at all on the trail.
Everyone started out in a generally good mood, but after the first few miles, not so happy anymore....
The slot canyon
Part of our group decided to head back a few miles in. It was hot, and we had no idea where the slot canyons were going to start. This was a good lesson learned in researching hikes before heading out.
I could not go home without seeing the canyons though. There is something about hiking that drives me to see and find the view! Does anyone else hike like this? I will push through just about anything to get there. I was not going to let this trail beat me! I left my hubby and 2 sons in the shade of one canyon and headed for the slots. They ended up being about ¼ of a mile from where we stopped.
Photos of the canyon
They were well worth the effort. The slot canyons were so beautiful!
My oldest son and his friend joined me shortly. They are in great shape, so the hike was nothing for them. It was so exciting to finally get there!
Some people say these canyons are the longest in the world, 15 miles long. I am not sure if that is true or not, but it is the longest and deepest in the Southwestern United States.
After the hike in the hot sun all morning, it was so great to get back into the canyons where it was cool and so peaceful.
The walls are beautiful and worn in such cool patterns from water and wind. They are darker, as the sun rarely hits the canyon floor.
My favorite hiking companion
Cookie, our Cavapoo is my favorite hiking partner ever. He loves to go and go. He generally prefers to hike off lease, so hikes like this are perfect. Interested in my boots? These Columbia boots have been great and have plenty of miles on them. I love these Columbia pants as well. Not a sponsorship, I just love them!
As much as I would have loved to spend a few more hours in the canyon, we had a long hike back ahead of us. It was kind of sad leaving the peace of the canyon.
So, learn from my mistakes. Start early, pack plenty of water, and do your research! Most importantly though, definitely check out Buckskin Gulch. It is amazing!!
I also wrote a post about some of our other adventures in the area. Here is a post about Moqui Caverns, they are really cool and shouldn't be missed. We also camped and explored the Coral Pink Sand Dunes, which I recommend as well.