Wire Pass to Buckskin Gulch Day Hike
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by Kristin Young | Updated On: September 23, 2019
Slot canyons are so incredibly cool, and the Wire Pass to Buckskin Gulch day hike is easy, yet still mostly undiscovered. I’m sure Antelope Canyon is incredible, but the massive crowds aren’t our style. With only a few other hikers on the trail and the beautiful slot canyon, Wire Pass is perfect for independent travelers.
It was the absolute highlight of our trip, and I’ve been singing it’s praises since we returned.
GETTING TO WIRE PASS TRAILHEAD
Located halfway between Page, AZ and Kanab, UT is a not so well marked dirt road called House Rock Valley Rd.
Our GPS worked just fine to get us to the entrance, and we still missed it the first time.
House Rock Valley Road is in pretty good condition, but I would recommend an SUV-and 4WD if attempting it when the road is wet. We did see a few cars parked at the trailhead, but the weather was nearly perfect that day.
Follow House Rock Valley Road for a little over 8 miles until you reach the trailhead that’s also shared with The Wave. You’ll find a large dirt parking lot and even pit toilets. Yay!
WIRE PASS TO BUCKSKIN GULCH TRAIL INFORMATION
3.4 miles round-trip- but can be extended about as long as you like through Buckskin Gulch
It’s an easy hike along a flat wash- our 4 year old managed just fine, but was pooped by the end of the day.
The slot portion is only the last half mile or so of the hike.
Rock Scramble: Be prepared to climb a little. There is an approximately 8 foot drop off shortly after entering the slot. When we were there, a very rickety wooden ladder had been left to help with the climb. From research, this is a relatively new addition, and I wouldn’t rely on it to be there. Many hikers of all ages have reported being able to make it down and back up just fine, but it will be harder with kids.
** Apparently if you exit the slot the way you came, there is a path around and you can re-enter from the other side. A hiker with a dog told us about it, but we did not investigate because rain was coming in and our boys were losing steam quickly.**
Yes, it is required, but for day hikes, you don’t need to do anything in advance. Read more about overnight permits here.
At the trailhead, grab an envelope from the box, fill out the information slip with name, vehicle plate info, and the number of people in your party.
Drop the envelope and fee ($7 per person) back in the locked box and place the other portion in your vehicle dash. Also make sure to fill out the day use hiker sheet with information on the number of people in your party.
KNOW BEFORE YOU GO
Water: There’s no water access at the trailhead, so make sure to bring plenty.
Our family of 4 brought 2 bottles on the hike and had a jug in the car for refills when we returned. We drank it all!
Sun Protection: There is little shade, so sunscreen is a must, but adding a hat and sunglasses would be even better.
Good Shoes: Tennis shoes will work just fine, but if it has recently rained you may have to wade through water. I would suggest a waterproof hiking shoe like this one.
The path to get there is mostly small pebbles, so a closed toe sandal isn’t the way to go.
We learned this the hard way with CONSTANT stops to pick pebbles out of my son’s shoes.
Flash Flood Risk: As with any slot canyon, DO NOT ENTER if there is even a hint of rain. Flash floods can happen VERY quickly and are deadly.
Bring Cash: You will have to pay your day use fee and there is no ATM or change available.
WIRE PASS TO BUCKSKIN GULCH HIKE
The trail begins along a dirt path and heads through a small metal barricade.
For the majority of the hike you will stay on the easy to follow wash. There are a few small paths cutting through the brush, but the Bureau of Land Management asks that you remain in the wash.
As you get closer to the slot canyon, a few taller rocks will begin jutting up offering a bit of shade and a place to rest.
And then you will see this, and know you’re in for an awesome treat!!
The walls begin to get taller and the slot canyon begins.
And then comes the 8 ft drop off. Luckily some nice person had put a rickety ladder up, but most reviews I’ve read don’t mention it- so be prepared to climb.
The deeper part only gets prettier!
Shortly after the slot canyon ends, you will find petroglyphs along the canyon walls.
And then it’s time to head back- and for the little guys- probably take a nap!!