Paria Canyon
The Canyon
Rank: #3 Canyon Depth: 3,000 ft.
Rim Elevation: 6,100 ft. Stream Elevation: 3,100 ft.
Vegetation: Desert riparian Frequently Seen Animals: Bighorn sheep, falcon, mice, fish, deer, owl, frogs, Paria lizard, black widow spider, centipede, scorpion, rattlesnake, flies and gnats, ants, tarantula
Hiking Season: Year-round except July-Septmeber.  
The Trail
Name: Paria Canyon Difficulty: Moderately strenuous at times, but very long, with many river and boulder crossings.
Length of Hike (one-way): 38 miles to Lee's Ferry trailhead. Usually a 4-6 day backpacking trip. Trail Elevation Change: 1,300 ft.
Trail Low Point: 3,100 ft.  Trail High Point: 4,300 ft.
Water: Drinking water at Paria Information Station and Lees Ferry. "Springs are found within the canyon from about mile 10 to mile 25. The most reliable ones are marked on the Paria Hikers Guide available at the Paria Station or through Arizona Strip Interpretive Association at (435) 688-3230. The last spring, at Mile 25, is the most important one to find, as it is the last good water before the hottest stretch of canyon, the lower 13 miles to Lees Ferry. All water should be treated, river water is recommended only as a last resort."  
Tips: Rangers encourage hikers who are hiking the entire length of the canyon to start at the upstream end in Utah and hike into Arizona. The Paria Information Station in Utah is open March 15 to November 15, 8AM-5PM. The station offers water, trash pickup, restrooms, maps, books, rangers, but no phones. However, at the trailhead 2 miles south of the station, there are restrooms and a campground but no water. Many people leave a car at either end. If you leave a car at Lee's Ferry, park at the west end of long-term parking lot. Your Paria Canyon parking tag displayed on your dashboard exempts your vehicle from entrance fees charged at Lee's Ferry by the National Park Service. Restrooms, ranger assistance, and telephone are available at Lees Ferry boat ramp. There is no "trail" through the canyon. Hiking is in the riverbed, with hundreds of stream crossings. Wear appropriate footwear. Rivers and pools that must be crossed are never more than knee deep except during and after a flood. The famous Paria Canyon "Narrows" are in Arizona, a few miles from the Utah border. 
Hiking Permit Needed: Yes, currently $5 per person per day. Reservations  recommended during peak seasons (fall and spring). Contact: BLM Office in Kanab, UT (435) 644-2672; Paria info line, (435) 688-3200; or web site below. Reservations (for entry date) can be made up to one year in advance, and cannot be changed once made. Golden Age, Golden Access, and Golden Eagle passes cannot be used for hiking reservations. Maximum Group Size: 10 backpackers per group, and a grand total of 20 allowed in canyon per day.
Dogs Permitted: Yes, "dogs are allowed in the canyon. Fees are $5.00 per dog per day. Dogs must be under owner's control. Owners must carry a leash and collar. Dogs must be on a leash in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. (first 3 miles from Lee's Ferry). Owners must dispose of animal feces in the same manner as their own." Horses Permitted: No.
Cross-country Skiing Permitted: Not applicable. Mountain Bikes Permitted: No.
Swimming: Yes (wading).  Camping: Campsites are easily recognizable and found on the terraces above the riverbed. They are least available in the narrowest parts of the canyon, especially around the confluence of Buckskin Gulch. In the narrows camps should be as far above the river as possible, to be safe from any flood that does occur. There is also a campground at the Whitehouse trailhead in Utah. The BLM site has a really cool packing guide that calculates the weight of your pack:
Safety Tips: Paria Canyon is a "slot canyon" with some narrow sections several yards wide with sheer walls, in which flood waters can rise dramatically in flash floods during the summer monsoon, with no possibility to climb above for escape. The BLM lists Paria as the "most flash flood prone river in Utah." It is not advisable to hike it during July to September for that reason. Temperatures in the summer can go as high as 105 F. Another unusual hazard is quicksand. After a flood has passed through the canyon conditions can be very muddy with patches of quicksand intermixed in the riverbed. You will not sink out of sight but you may become uncomfortably mired with a backpack on. Take the BLM's safety quiz:  Don't count on cell phone access in the canyon. The BLM warns you that you may be responsible for your own rescue costs.
"Around mile 28 there is a three-mile portion of the riverbed full of large boulders. They make it more difficult to traverse. In low water and if no floods have inundated it in the past month it is not a bad hike. A primitive path bypasses this portion of the river and climbs up on the bench above. It is not maintained or very well marked, but it is visible as a way around the boulders in the riverbed."
Other DONT'S: "No camping in Wrather Canyon. No campfires or burning trash. No motorized or mechanized transports or equipment in the wilderness. No camping on or adjacent to archeological sites. No disturbing or defacing of canyon features or archeological sites. No burning or burying toilet paper."
The Drive
General Location: Although most of the hike is in Arizona, the recommended trailhead is in Utah, between Page AZ and Kanab UT. Trailhead Accessible to Low-Clearance Vehicles: Yes, both.
Nearest Town: Page, AZ  
Directions: The Paria Canyon Information Station is 30 miles west of Page, AZ on Rt. 89. The Whitehouse trailhead is 2 miles south of Rt. 89. At the southern end, Lees Ferry is 5 miles northeast off Highway 89-A, located in Glen Canyon National  Recreation Area. See authorized shuttle and guide companies.
More Information
U.S.G.S. Quad Name(s): Lees Ferry, Water Pockets, Ferry Swale, Wrather Arch. Office of Tourism Region: Grand Canyon Country
County: Coconino Managing Agency: Paria Ranger District, Kanab, UT (435) 644-2672; Paria info line, (435) 688-3200.
Web Site:

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