Hiking Wire Pass Trail to Buckskin Gulch Outside Kanab, Utah

Thinking about hiking Wire Pass Trail to Buckskin Gulch in Southern Utah? Don’t worry – we’ve got you covered. This may be our favorite hike in Utah that was not in a National Park.

Table of Contents

Background of Wire Pass and Buckskin GulchGeneral Thoughts and Tips about Wire Pass and Buckskin GulchParia Canyon-Vermillion Cliffs Wilderness AreaParking Lot FacilitiesWire Pass TrailBuckskin GulchLooking for other trail suggestions?

Background of Wire Pass and Buckskin Gulch

Wire Pass and Buckskin Gulch are both slot canyons located in Southern Utah. We were down in Kanab on our recent camper trip because we got permits to hike The Wave (Coyote Buttes North) – You can readaout our experience here! We decided to drive down from Torrey to hike both The Wave and Wire Pass to Buckskin Gulch. Hiking in Buckskin Gulch has been on Sam’s bucket list since we visited Lake Powell back in 2020. We made the mistake of renting a Ford Mustang on that trip and we were unable to drive down the dirt road as it was not well maintained.

General Thoughts and Tips about Wire Pass and Buckskin Gulch

Wire Pass is a slimmer slot canyon with beautiful orange and red tones. It is very similar to Antelope Canyon. Buckskin Gulch is most famous for its 100-200 foot walls and deep maroon, purple, and orange tones. According to our research, Buckskin Gulch is known as one of the longest and deepest slot canyons in the world!

According to the Bureau of Land Management, Buckskin Gulch is around 16 miles in length. If you are considering hiking it, we hiked using the All Trails Map and enjoyed it. This is a dog friendly trail, just make sure you pay for the hiker/dog fee on recreation.gov! It is $6 per person and $6 per dog. If you choose to hike Wire Pass, be aware that there is a ladder that you will have to carry your dog down!

Paria Canyon-Vermillion Cliffs Wilderness Area

Locatedaout 30 minutes from Kanab, Utah is the beautiful Paria Canyon-Vermillion Cliffs Wilderness area. Most people know this regions because of the famous Wave that is located on this BLM land. Also because it is off of the same trailhead is Wire Pass and Buckskin Gulch.

Below is an image of The Wave – You need a permit for this adventure! You can check out our blog post about The Wave Here!

Parking Lot Facilities

This may be one of the nicest BLM parking lots that we have ever been to! (No Seriously!!)

In order to access the Wire Pass Trailhead and Parking Lot, you will turn off Highway 98 onto a dirt road called The Cockscomb. The Cockscomb and House Rock Valley Road is about 8-10 miles of dirt road until you reach the Wire Pass Trailhead Parking Lot. This BLM land is right on the Utah/Arizona Border and if you get permits to The Wave, you actually cross into Arizona to arrive at The Wave.

This parking lot was a decent size and in our opinion could probably fit around 50 cars. There are about 4 pit toilets that are in great condition (very well maintained in our opinion). You will need to purchase a parking pass and print it before you arrive at the trailhead. You can buy this daily pass from Recreation.gov! Here is a link to the correct pass – make sure you print it and put it in your dash.

Wire Pass Trail

This incredible slot canyon is right at the entrance of Buckskin Gulch. It is around 3 miles round trip and not much elevation gain if any! You will walk a short distance in Coyote Wash until you reach the entrance. The wash is in direct sunlight so remember to bring sunscreen, a hat, and long sleeved shirts with UV protection. Once you reach the end of the wash, you will arrive at the entrance to Wire Pass. See image below!

Once you are within the Wire Pass Slot Canyon, you will slowly begin your decent into the larger canyon. It is very important to not hike these sites during bad weather. These beautiful canyons were carved out by years of flooding and this canyon fills up with water incredibly fast. Make sure that you always check the forecast before you begin your adventure!

This ladder pictured below was newly built because the old one washed away in a flood in March 2023. If you choose to bring a pup on this adventure, make sure that you are able to carry your dog down this 8 foot ladder. 9

After hiking about a half mile in the Wire Pass Slot Canyon, you will reach a T in the road. You have the option to hike left or right into Buckskin Gulch. This large opening is where Buckskin Gulch begins! There are also beautiful petroglyphs on the wall with the large arch, pictured below.


See one of the many petroglyphs pictured below:

Buckskin Gulch

When you arrive at the T in the path after Wire Pass, we went to the right. We have heard that both views are beautiful, but we followed the All Trails map. We went on a fairly dry week and day so there was not any water in the canyon. After rainfall, the ground can be muddy or filled with water.

We passedaound 10-15 individuals during our 5 mile adventure and we started on the trailheadaound 8:30am. We were in Buckskin Gulch from 10am – noon.


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