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Buckskin Gulch Middle out question

Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
80 posts
1 review
Buckskin Gulch Middle out question

Would like to do a dayhike in Buckskin Gulch this October, we're avid hikers and can cover a lot of ground, we've done a lot of big day hikes (grand canyon rim to rim, half dome, mt. whitney, kalalau, etc) so i'm sure we'd have no trouble with getting from wire pass to white house in 12 or so hours. But i'm not so sure how much i'd enjoy being in a slot canyon for 12 hours :) We hiked the narrows once, although it was mid october so it was with drypants, but after 2 hours i was pretty content to turn around, it felt a bit repetitive after a certain point. Is buckskin the same?

An alternative would be just hiking to middle out and heading up, but then what? is there a trail to get back to wire pass? and is it that much faster getting back from above, than from down in the gulch?

If you hike to middle out, do you get to see a lot of the most scenic parts, or sections with the tallest walls? Or do you need to keep going for that?

Thanks!

12 replies to this topic
Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
80 posts
1 review
1. Re: Buckskin Gulch Middle out question

Ok from reading some old threads I found the answer to my question but I have a new question. So it appears it's not worth exiting at Middle Out unless you have a car waiting for you, and that it would be faster to just return the way you came. That said, for someone who just wanted to hike 8 hours or so in the canyon (4 hrs one way and 4hrs back) what's going to offer the best "section"?

1. Wire pass into buckskin gulch and turn around after 4 hrs

2. Enter at middle out and head toward wire pass for 4 hrs then turn around and head out middle out

3. Enter at middle out and head toward the confluence and up Paria, turn around after 4 hours, back out middle out

Steamboat Springs...
Level Contributor
3,169 posts
37 reviews
2. Re: Buckskin Gulch Middle out question

The whole shot would be a huge day hike. 21+ miles. Probably some wet pools to negotiate and wet creek walking near the bottom end of Buckskin and in the Paria. Also...... hiking it the whole way to Whitehouse, or..... doing the middle route, would require leaving a car at either place. The middle route requires a high clearance 4WD to get to the point you'd come out. That road also takes a bit of navigating skills, and there are also some pretty deep sandy spots. Not a place I'd like to hike in the middle of the day. Very exposed.

Personally....I think hiking in from Wire Pass and going in 5-6 miles gives you a great idea of what this place is all about. Then just return back to your car. Or... go in from the Upper Buckskin trail a few miles before you hit Wire Pass parking lot. Walk the more open wash (about 2 miles) until you hit some of the amazing slickrock on your left (north) and do some exploring there. You can't miss the giant mounds of tan brain rock. Continue on thru downstream...into the slot, and maybe hike a few miles past the confluence with Wire Pass, and then hike out thru WP back to the main lot. Very easy to get a ride back up the road a few miles to your car. Lot's of people at that parking lot.

zionnational-park.com/map-buckskin-gulch.htm

Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
80 posts
1 review
3. Re: Buckskin Gulch Middle out question

Cool thanks! We'll be there in mid october, i guess it can be wet anytime of year but i noticed some trip reports the gulch is dry as a bone and other trip reports people are wading through waist deep water many many times. i imagine if you got it dry doing it in a day would be a lot more feasible and enjoyable but i'm guessing there's no "time of year" when that's likely to happen?

Steamboat Springs...
Level Contributor
3,169 posts
37 reviews
4. Re: Buckskin Gulch Middle out question

You never know what you'l get till you get there. The problem is...that it only takes one really big thunderstorm to cause some flash flooding. Then it can be weeks and weeks before the pools dry up. Not a lot of sunshine in that canyon. I've walked a lot of it, dry and crusty. But have hit my fair share of mud holes and stanky pools. The Paria and lower Buckskin had full knee deep flowing water. I'm usually in this area in the spring.

USA
Level Contributor
1,267 posts
6 reviews
5. Re: Buckskin Gulch Middle out question

We did an out and back from Wire Pass into Buckskin and it was great. As to how far, it partly depends on how far until you hit water and if you want to wade through the water, or not. We hiked until we hit water and turned around, which was ~about 6 miles RT. We turned right at the confluence. Lovely.

Atascadero...
Destination Expert
for Lake Powell
Level Contributor
1,714 posts
6. Re: Buckskin Gulch Middle out question

Personally, I think the best parts of Buckskin are below where the Middle Route enters, but I’m splitting hairs. Above that, you have a lot of very narrow slot sections, not incredibly high, but extremely narrow (sometimes dark too) with pools. The farther you go, the deeper the canyon gets, and also fewer pools... except for the rockfall, there are no real obstacles in that section. The last 2 miles below the rockfall and the first mile up the Paria from the confluence are hard to beat—super deep, pretty narrow, highly photogenic.

No wrong answer on how to approach the hike. But I think the area around the confluence is best, which is like saying chocolate cake is better than cherry pie... a matter of preference...

Edited: 07 July 2018, 21:12
Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
80 posts
1 review
7. Re: Buckskin Gulch Middle out question

So would a better idea be to enter and exit via middle out? i've seen photos of the route, it seems like a class 3 scramble at best, which doesn't concern me too much, same for the rockfall. i've done a fair amount of scrambling. my biggest concern would be the roads getting to middle out with a ford explorer

Steamboat Springs...
Level Contributor
3,169 posts
37 reviews
8. Re: Buckskin Gulch Middle out question

I would talk to Paria Outfitters and see if they would do a shuttle and drop you guys off at the Buckskin middle route and leave your car at White House CG. That would be a really easy shuttle that might take less than an hour. Then you just walk down Buckskin and up the Paria to your car. You'd have the place to yourself. I bet they'd do that shuttle for a reasonable price, and then you wouldn't need to drive your car down that road and retrieve it. Worth a call or an email to see what they'd charge.

http://www.paria.com/tours-shuttles/

Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
80 posts
1 review
9. Re: Buckskin Gulch Middle out question

thanks thats a great idea, reading up on middle out on summitpost, it looks like it's a class 4 scramble with less than ideal footing because of sand, and a lot of exposure. not a problem going up but not sure i want to down climb that, have you done it?

Steamboat Springs...
Level Contributor
3,169 posts
37 reviews
10. Re: Buckskin Gulch Middle out question

Have not. Don't think I could get my wife to do this route. a little too exposed for her liking.

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