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.

Wire Pass 01

There were a couple flowers in bloom here and there.

Wire Pass 02

Getting close to the slot canyon.


Wire Pass 04

Before long you enter the slot canyon.

Wire Pass 05

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.

Wire Pass 06

I made it down, yay!

Wire Pass 07

The slot is very narrow, some places almost the width of my shoulders.  The colors are amazing!

Wire Pass 08

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.

Wire Pass 09



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.

Wire Pass 11

Wire Pass 12

Wire Pass 13

Wire Pass 14

Wire Pass 15

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.

Wire Pass 16

I then turned around and went down canyon just below the Wire Pass junction.  The light on the canyon walls was still beautiful.

Wire Pass 17

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.

Wire Pass 18

This was a gorgeous day for the hike.  The light on the canyon walls was amazing.

Wire Pass 19

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.

Wire Pass 20

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.

Wire Pass 21

As the sunset progressed, the ridge looked like it was burning.

Wire Pass 22

And that wraps up another day in paradise!

4 Comments on “A Slot Canyon Hike

  1. Beautiful, beautiful photos! For years I’ve been wanting to do that hike or one like it. One of these days…
    Be careful out there.
    Richard Swanson


    • Thanks Richard! I really liked that it didn’t involve hiking in standing pools of water that are neck deep or more, like a lot of slot canyons! It was very enjoyable and I hope you have an opportunity to hike it one day 😀


  2. Deb, beautiful pictures that’s definitely a day in paradise! Thanks for sharing your adventure!


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