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BLM > Arizona > On-Line Recreation Permits > Paria Canyon Wilderness Area/Vermilion Cliffs National Monument > Paria Canyon Permit Area > Plan & Prepare
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Vermilion Cliffs National Monument
Paria Canyon/Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness
Paria Canyon Permit Area - Plan & Prepare

What conditions should I expect in the canyons?

The best preparation for this hike is to follow the recommendations listed below and to stop by the Paria Contact Station before beginning your hike. Personnel at the Contact Station will have the latest information on conditions in Paria Canyon and Buckskin Gulch between March 15 and November 15. 

Hiking in Paria Canyon means having wet feet. There is no trail and the route generally follows the river bed. Crossing from bank to bank dozens of times per day is to be expected. Bring sturdy, quick-drying shoes that are appropriate for hiking in water, sand, mud, and over rough, rocky terrain. High quality synthetic or wool-blend socks will protect your feet from becoming tender due to the sand and gravel that accumulates in your shoes. More than one trip through Paria Canyon has been aborted due to painful blisters. Camping is not permitted within the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area portion of the trail. .

Plan on packing gear for a typical desert hike. If you are unsure about what to bring, please review our recommended backpacking gear list.

Please review the following question and answers before planning your trip.

If I do this as a one-way hike can I leave my car at Lee's Ferry?

Yes, the parking permit you receive will get you through the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area entrance. Then you just leave your car in the 14-day parking lot, with the permit visible on the dashboard. 

I only have one car. How do I get from Lee's Ferry to my starting point?

A list of approved shuttle providers is available. They will pick you up at a pre-arranged time and drop you at any of the trailheads

What is the distance and typical hiking time to Lee's Ferry from each trailhead?

White House to Lee's Ferry:38 miles (three to five days)
Wire Pass to Lee's Ferry:43 miles (four to six days)
Buckskin Gulch to Lee's Ferry:47 miles (four to seven days)

How fast you travel depends on several factors: the size of your group; the fitness level of your slowest member; the water level in the Paria River; the number of side trips you want to take; and the pace you wish to travel (quick or leisurely).

What to Expect




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What is the distance to the Paria Canyon - Buckskin Gulch confluence from each trailhead?

White House to Paria/Buckskin confluence:7 miles
Wire Pass to Paria/Buckskin confluence:14 miles
Buckskin Gulch to Paria/Buckskin confluence:16 miles
Lee's Ferry to Paria/Buckskin Gulch confluence:31 miles

What is the overall difficulty level of this hike?

It depends on where you begin your hike and the depth of the Paria River. If you leave from the White House trailhead and hike to Lee's Ferry, the difficulty level is moderate. The terrain is slightly down hill all the way but footing is often insecure due to sandy, muddy, and rocky surfaces. Leaving from Buckskin Gulch or Wire Pass makes the hike more difficult. Rocky drop-offs and obstacles exist in Buckskin Gulch and conditions can change with each rainfall. All hikers should be in good physical condition. The lack of a trail means you will spend a lot of time walking in water. Extremes in temperatures also impact hiking conditions.

What about drinking water?

This is a desert environment, so plan on at least one gallon of drinking water per person, per day to avoid dehydration. There are numerous springs in Paria Canyon between miles 10 and 25. These springs are marked on the Paria Hikers Guide. All water, even from springs, should be filtered or treated. There are no water sources in Buckskin Gulch. The Paria River flows year round below the confluence with Buckskin Gulch but is often very silty and can easily clog water filters.

This is a slot canyon, what about flash floods?

Prepare for extreme weather by obtaining current weather information from the Paria Contact Station or from the National Weather Service. Flash floods occur in the summer rainy season. It is difficult to predict exactly when a flash flood might occur. If you find yourself in a flash flood situation, get to the highest point you can. Usually flood conditions only last eight to 12 hours, but can last longer if a prolonged storm is in the area. Even after the water subsides, the hiking can remain difficult for days. It is better to cancel your trip than risk getting caught in a flash flood. These floods can be fatal. If you are in the canyon, stay in a safe place until the water subsides. Never make this hike alone. Always notify someone of your expected departure and arrival dates. The Paria Contact Station will have the latest condition reports-stop there before beginning your hike.

Can I take my dog?

Yes. Dogs are currently permitted in the canyons on a conditional basis. This use is being monitored. Your dog must be kept under control at all times. In the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, your dog must be leashed. You must pack out your dog's waste.

Who can I call for additional hiking information?

Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument Kanab Visitor Center: (435) 644-1300 or the BLM Arizona Strip District Office: (435) 688-3200

Why aren't there any signs in the canyons?

There is no established trail through much of the canyon bottom. Since this is a wilderness area, the minimum amount of signs are used in order to preserve the area's wild and remote character.

How come there are cows in the wilderness?

Cattle have been grazing in wilderness areas since before they were designated by Congress. The BLM manages land for multiple use and at times, livestock are present in the wilderness. "Within wilderness areas, the grazing of livestock, where established prior to designation, shall be permitted to continue subject to such reasonable regulations as are deemed necessary by the Secretary." (S4.)(d.)(4.), Wilderness Act of 1964.

Can I ride my ATV, mountain bike, or use my hang glider?

No. These and other motorized and mechanical vehicles are specifically prohibited by the Wilderness Act and BLM wilderness management policy

 Vermilion Cliffs National Monument 
Monument Manager:  Wayne Monger, Acting
345 E. Riverside Drive
St. George, UT 84790-6714
(435) 688-3200 
Hours: 7:45 a.m.-5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday 
10:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. Saturday 
Closed Sunday