A Slot Canyon Hike
Wednesday, April 25th
One of the most popular hikes in this area is Wire Pass Canyon. The trailhead is on House Rock Road about eight miles south of Hwy 89. This is also part of one of the most popular hikes in the US. This hike can start at Buckskin Gulch or at Wire Pass Canyon which ends in Buckskin Gulch. The hike continues on down Buckskin Gulch to the confluence of the Paria River. And from there on to the confluence with the Colorado River at Lees Ferry. This involves hiking in the river a good part of the time. The hike is about 44 miles and takes 4 days.
I’m just here for a day hike though! To day hike in this area, there is a day use fee of $6/person, or $3 with a parks pass.
Wire Pass Canyon is a non-technical narrow slot canyon that is a great day hike. The first three-quarter of mile is an easy walk down the wash leading to the canyon.
There were a couple flowers in bloom here and there.
Getting close to the slot canyon.
Before long you enter the slot canyon.
Not far from the entrance to the slot, you reach the one obstacle to maneuver over. A large boulder is wedged in the canyon walls. The drop down the other side is about ten feet. The old tree limbs provide footholds to climb down so it really isn’t very difficult once you get a foot down on the limbs. With short legs like I have that’s the hardest part. 🙂 The photo below was taken on the downhill side. The rest of the canyon is walking along in sand mostly. For those who are not able to get past the boulder, there is a bypass around it. Go back to the entrance to the slot and on the left side there is a cairn. Go up the side of the canyon here. You can hike up and down past the obstacle, coming out just below it.
I made it down, yay!
The slot is very narrow, some places almost the width of my shoulders. The colors are amazing!
As you approach the junction with Buckskin Gulch, the canyon opens up with a huge alcove on the right side. Wherever the sun is hitting the canyon walls, they look like fire.
The lower few feet of the wall beyond the alcove contains a panel of many petroglyphs. And amazingly, with as much traffic as there is in this canyon there isn’t any defacement of the panel to speak of.
Sorry for so many photos, I just really love seeing the petroglyphs!
In Buckskin Gulch one can’t go very far in either direction until encountering water pools and mud. I hiked a ways up canyon, maybe a quarter mile. In this section, Buckskin is wider than Wire Pass.
I then turned around and went down canyon just below the Wire Pass junction. The light on the canyon walls was still beautiful.
I piddled around for a while looking at the petroglyphs, eating some snacks and just enjoying being here. After about an hour, I started back up Wire Pass Canyon.
This was a gorgeous day for the hike. The light on the canyon walls was amazing.
I came around a curve and this little jack rabbit was sitting in the wash. I guess he is used to seeing people as he didn’t seem very afraid of me.
To cap off a great day, there was another beautiful sunset. My camp is right on a bend in the river, and the water catches the glow of the sun as it is setting.
As the sunset progressed, the ridge looked like it was burning.
And that wraps up another day in paradise!