Paria Canyon

Written by on February 17, 2017 in AZ Outdoor Adventures - 1 Comment

Tucked into the Vermillion Cliffs Wilderness in Arizona and Utah, are a series of amazing slot canyons that you have to see to believe. Paria Canyon is the most famous and among the longest and deepest slot canyons in the world. Paria (originally spelled Pareah) is a Ute Indian word meaning “salty” or “muddy water” — for good reason, the river that runs through this canyon is nearly always opaque beige in color from all the silt and minerals it captures as it carves its way through the surrounding sandstone walls. Wire Pass, Buckskin Gulch or White House, are the starting points to enter this wilderness of narrow gorges, soaring red rock cliffs and unusual rock formations, sculpted by wind and water, floods and freezing. Besides stunning scenery, hidden in the canyons are ancient Native American petroglyph sites as well as the fourth largest stone arch in the world, Wrather Arch.

Paria Canyon is roughly 38 miles long. The 15-mile long Buckskin Gulch intersects with Paria Canyon at the Arizona/Utah Border, about 8 miles downstream from White House Ruins. Buckskin is only a few feet wide in places, with cliffs soaring overhead to 300 feet or more. Paria Canyon has cliffs of up to 500 feet or more. Because the sun only strikes the floor of the canyon at high noon, the depths of the canyon stay 20 degrees cooler than the surrounding high desert above, making it a great hike during the hot summer days. In addition, the canyon nearly always has water, which means you are splashing through cooling pools all day long —making extra socks a necessity. Beware of hiking in Paria Canyon during the months of July through mid-September, also the area’s Monsoon season. Flash flooding is not only a threat, but a reality about five or more times per year during these months, with no higher ground to seek refuge.

One of the best ways we know of to backpack the canyon is with the guides from Just Roughin’ It Adventure Company. This group of dedicated, die-hard backpackers are the premier guides when it comes to wilderness adventure. Just Roughin’ It will provide all the backpacking equipment (if you need it) and food for your trip. Knowledgeable in the geology, flora, fauna and history of the area, they’ll keep you entertained every step of the way. You can be sure you are in the best of hands should something go wrong, because the Just Roughin’ It guides each have their Wilderness First Responder certificate, which means they have at least 80 hours of wilderness first aid training. And at the end of a tough day, these amazing guides will cook up a storm while you kick up your feet (and let them dry) and just enjoy the cool night air.

Because the canyon is so narrow and there are only a few places to camp, the Bureau of Land Management allows only 20 people per day to stay overnight in the canyon. This makes Paria Canyon just about as remote a location as you can find in North America. In order to be good stewards of the land, the BLM requires everyone to pack out all waste — human or otherwise — to prevent the camp sites from smelling like latrines and to prevent human waste from washing down stream. Don’t worry, Just Roughin’ It has that angle covered too, with double-bagged, chemically-treated containers that eliminate odor. The exit point of your adventure is the Lonely Dell Ranch at Lee’s Ferry, the historical crossing point for wagon’s heading farther west.

Just Roughin’ It Adventure Company offers backpacking in other locations besides Paria Canyon, including their most popular trips to the Grand Canyon — locations like Havasu Falls, the South Kaiabab/Bright Angel Loop and Rim to Rim trips are ever popular, however, for the seasoned hiker, even more challenging locations like Escalante, South Bass and Tanner trails are available.

In addition, you can join Just Roughin’ It on trips to backpack the wilderness of Yosemite, as well as day trips in the Arizona wilderness, which meander through ancient Native American ruins and abandoned mines, ghost towns and remnants of the Old West that you won’t find in any guide book. Finally, Just Roughin’ It offers amazing kayak adventures on the lakes and reservoirs in the Phoenix area.

Located in the Valley of the Sun in Chandler, Arizona, Just Roughin’ It offers thrilling adventures for guests of all levels … from novice to expert. All they ask is that you be in relatively decent physical condition and willing to train in order to participate in their adventures.

Just Roughin’ It Adventure Company, LLC.

2040 S. Alma School Rd. Ste 1

Chandler, AZ 85286




About the Author

One Comment on "Paria Canyon"

Trackbacks for this post

  1. Tweets that mention Paria Canyon | See the Southwest --

Comments are now closed for this article.

Get Adobe Flash player