Wire Pass to Buckskin Gulch Day Hike

This page may contain compensated links. For more information read our disclaimer here.

by Kristin Young | Updated On: September 23, 2019

Everything you need to know for the Wire Pass to Buckskin Gulch Day Hike

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. 

Turn off for House Rock Valley Road to Wire Pass Trailhead

Our GPS worked just fine to get us to the entrance, and we still missed it the first time.

House Rock Valley Road

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.

Wirepass Trailhead Parking Lot

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

Wire Pass Trail Information Sign

DISTANCE

3.4 miles round-trip- but can be extended about as long as you like through Buckskin Gulch

Wire Pass Trail Sign

DIFFICULTY

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 in Slot Canyon

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.**

Wire Pass Day use Permit

PERMIT

Yes, it is required, but for day hikes, you don’t need to do anything in advance.  Read more about overnight permits here.

Wire Pass Fee Drop Box at Trailhead

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.

Kid drinking water on Wire Pass Trail

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

Start of Wire Pass Trail

The trail begins along a dirt path and heads through a small metal barricade.

Hiking along the wash on Wire Pass Trail

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.  

Resting in a natural rock bench along the wire pass trail

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.

The entrance to the Wire Pass Slot Canyon

And then you will see this, and know you’re in for an awesome treat!!

The beginning of the slot canyon as the walls get taller

The walls begin to get taller and the slot canyon begins.

kids playing in wire pass slot canyon
The 8 ft rock scramble

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.

Wire Pass Slot Canyon

The deeper part only gets prettier!

Wire Pass slot canyon ends near the entrance to Buckskin Gulch

Shortly after the slot canyon ends, you will find petroglyphs along the canyon walls.

tired kid being carried along wire pass trail

And then it’s time to head back- and for the little guys- probably take a nap!!

If you’re in the Page or Kanab area, DO NOT miss this incredibly cool hike!  

PIN IT!

Everything you need to know for the Wire Pass to Buckskin Gulch Day Hike

About the Author: Kristin Young

5 Comments

  1. Bryan June 9, 2019 at 7:06 pm - Reply

    Awesome photos!

  2. Annette June 9, 2019 at 10:36 pm - Reply

    Very interesting and beautiful pictures.

  3. Carol June 11, 2019 at 2:19 am - Reply

    I want to see this!

  4. Followgram.net August 4, 2019 at 4:29 am - Reply

    As in any slot canyon, do not enter Wire Pass or Buckskin Gulch if there is the slightest chance of rainfall. In these canyons, as little as .25 inch of rain can run off the slickrock landscape and turn the slots into inescapable death traps. Save this memorable trip for fair weather only.

  5. Vivit-Tours January 25, 2020 at 10:48 am - Reply

    Note: there are multiple trailheads that provide access to Buckskin Gulch. Wire Pass Trailhead offers the most direct access for a day hike. This is not to be confused with the Buckskin Trailhead, which follows a wash for several miles before intersecting with Wire Pass Trail and then the confluence with the Paria River.

Leave A Comment

OUR FAMILY

Young Family at Wire Pass

Exploring the world,
creating memories,
and spending time together.

OUR STORY

Sign up for Exclusive Monthly Content and Downloads

CONNECT WITH US!