Buckskin Gulch Guide

Buckskin Gulch Trailhead Kanab, UT 84741

Buckskin Gulch is not only the longest slot canyon in the southwest, but one of the longest in the world. The route goes through a beautiful sandstone slot that runs continuously for about 16 miles. It is deep, dark and narrow, with rolling walls and plenty of obstacles to make it fun.

While not a technical hike, Buckskin Gulch is rated as strenuous because of its length. You’ll be scrambling over rock jams and wading/swimming through potholes, so it wouldn't hurt to bring a rope along, just in case. You may also come across some quicksand and a rattlesnake or two.


Buckskin Gulch is located along the Utah/Arizona border, outside of Kanab. It’s near the Grand Staircase-Escalante Monument, in the Paria Canyon-Vermillion Cliffs Wilderness area. If you’re hiking the entire length of the Gulch, plan to park a car at each end of the canyon or make arrangements for a shuttle.

There are multiple trailheads into the slot canyon. The most popular is Wire Pass, located on House Rock Valley Road off of State Highway 89, halfway between Kanab and Page, Arizona. You can also start from Lees Ferry, White House and Buckskin Gulch trailheads.


The hike can be done in a single day by the most hearty hikers, but we think it’s better as an overnighter so you can explore and take photos. Permits are needed for both day-use and overnight trips to this area. Dogs are allowed to join you, for an additional fee.

For a single-day adventure, most people make it an out-and-back hike. Start at the Wire Pass trailhead to experience the narrowest part of the Gulch. Plan on hiking in about 5 miles to fully experience the canyon. 

When to Go

Temperatures get extremely hot during the summer in southern Utah, even inside a canyon. Plan to hike early in the day, or better yet, during the cooler months. April through May may be the best time. Earlier in the year, you may find yourself swimming through areas with cold, deep water.


Slot canyons are extremely dangerous when it rains due to the potential for flash flooding. Water rises fast in the narrow space — just a few inches can knock you over — and the surrounding sandstone becomes extremely slick. Stay out of Buckskin Gulch, and any other slot canyon, if there is any chance of rain.

Kanab Weather

Average Temperature


Average Precipitation

Rainy weather icon

Average Snowfall

Snowy weather icon