The Paria Canyon Wilderness Area

The Paria River winds down through Utah and into Arizona, eventually to reach the Colorado River just above Grand Canyon. Paria (pah-REE-a) is a Paiute word meaning "muddy water". A few miles north of the Arizona border, the river cuts into cliff-forming sandstone. The gorge rapidly deepens, forming walls over a quarter mile high, but so close together in one five mile stretch that you can literally stretch out your arms and touch both walls at once. Sandstone cliffs characterize the canyon for the first 25 to 30 miles, after which the canyon widens out into mixed layers of sandstone and shale, before finally reaching Lee's Ferry on the Colorado River. Total mileage is just over 37, excluding the exploration of side canyons.

Water Pockets - these formations are scooped out of the cliff walls at several points along the canyon.
Buckskin Gulch - this side canyon is an alternative entry point for the Paria hike, and requires a lot of scrambling over blockages and chockstones. The walls are so narrow along most of this canyon that you can spread out your elbows and touch both walls at the same time.
Rockfall - passage in some places becomes restricted by rock falls, requiring a bit of scrambling to get around the blocked portions. While the water is ankle deep in the canyon through most of the hike, in these areas it can come up to your waist, or higher.
The Last Spring - this is the last spring in the canyon, with roughly 12 miles of hiking left to go.
End of the Trail - from the left: our friends Jorge and Liz, then me and Louise. We picked up Liz's car here and drove back up to the trailhead to get ours. The trail ends at the former site of Lee's Ferry, where many of the Grand Canyon rafting trips begin.

The main trailhead is located in Utah about 7 miles north of the Arizona border, roughly 30 miles west of Page, Arizona on US Route 89. Allow 4 days for the hike, including excursions up side canyons. The hike is relatively easy, but does require some climbing and scrambling in a couple of spots. You will be wading in ankle deep water most of the way. For more information, contact the BLM Kanab Resource Area Office, 318 North 1st Street, Kanab, Utah 84741.