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John Guilford's Hikes

Paria River, Utah on 2002-05-22

Date: 2002-05-22

Location: Paria River, Utah

People: (including myself): Joe Tarantino

Start:		 8:30	0
Confluence:	11:55	7-1/4
End lunch:	 1:05	8
Confluence:	 1:30	8-3/4
Out:		 4:40	16
Joe and I camped at the White House trail head.  This "camp ground" has two outhouses, a half dozen camp sites with tables and BBQ grills, with water available two miles back up the dirt road.  To get there, go 44 miles from Kanab or 30 miles from Page on highway 89.  There you'll find a road on the south side of the road leading to the Paria Information Station (which has the water supply).  Two miles further south is the campground/trailhead. 

A [ PIX1 ] short hike from the trailhead puts you in the Paria River Canyon.  When we got there we found no trace of water.  The Paria river was completely dry.  At this point the canyon was wide with relatively shallow walls.  We started south trying to find firmer sand to walk on.  After the hike up Sandy Gulch to Red Cave, we were tired of walking on sand. 

Slowly the canyon narrowed and the sides rose higher.  At 2-1/2 miles we crossed under a pair of power lines.  The day was warm but not overly hot.  The river didn't meander much and we pretty much followed it down into the Vermillion Cliffs. 

[ PIX2 ]The canyon walls rose and narrowed and we entered the Narrows about at mile 4.  From this point on we were in a tall, narrow, sandy canyon.  Joe tried hunting up some quicksand, but it was too dry and we never found any. 

[ PIX3 ]The canyon scenery was spectacular.  About 6-3/4 miles into the hike we got to Slide Rock Arch.  This is a huge slab of rock that split off the top of the canyon and fell into the bottom.  Instead of shattering, it remained whole forming an archway. 

[ PIX4 ]A half mile further, at 7-1/4 miles, we reached the confluence with Buckskin Gulch.  Just before this we started hitting damp spots and pools - the first signs of water that we saw.  At the confluence we found a tiny stream flowing out of the Buckskin and down the Paria.  The sand was damp down here and the going easy.  [ PIX5 ]Just past the confluence we passed from Utah into Arizona.  A short ways below the confluence we stopped for some lunch.  Then we continued down canyon for a little ways, probably going to mile 8 before turning back.  We investigated going up Buckskin Gulch, but the canyon is narrow and the water and mud soon spanned the width of the canyon.  Not wishing to get our feet wet, we didn't go too far up into Buckskin. 

The way back was uneventful.  However, unlike most hikes where the return trip seems quicker than the trip out, this time the return trip seemed to take longer to me.  Perhaps it was because we were heading over terrain I'd already been on.  Perhaps it was because we were going from more interesting to less interesting terrain.  In any case, the top part of the hike seemed to drag on.  We finally reached the trail out of the canyon and returned to our campsite. 

It was a pleasant, relatively easy hike.  It looks like it would be fun to hike the Buckskin Gulch or perhaps the length of the Paria River someday. 


[ PIX1 ] Beginning of Paria River hike.  No deep canyon here!

[ PIX2 ] John in deeper part of canyon. 

[ PIX3 ] Slide Rock Arch. 

[ PIX4 ] Looking up Buckskin Gulch from the confluence. 

[ PIX5 ] Looking down the Paria from near our lunch spot. 

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Last updated on: Mon Jun 8 16:50:16 PDT 2015