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Paria Canyon Hiking Vacation

Oct 21-25 Paria Canyon


  • Guides Choice trip in Paria Canyon
  • 5-day slot canyon thru-hike
  • World's longest and deepest slot canyon
  • One of the best hikes in the Southwest
  • Arches, towering walls & amphitheaters
  • Winding sandstone canyons
  • Historic ranches and sites
  • Wonderful solitude and scenery


Our Slot Canyons Traverse backpacking trip is a 5-day, 4-night thru-hike from upper Paria Canyon to where it enters the Colorado River east of the Grand Canyon. With water-polished, sandstone walls towering thousands of feet above us, these canyons are very similar to Zion Canyon but with fantastic solitude!This trip is for folks interested in adventure, solitude, fantastically unique landscapes, and a generally secluded experience. We trek a 30-mile length of Paria Canyon above its confluence with the Colorado; we explore Buckskin Gulch, the longest slot canyon in the world; we enjoy stunning and peaceful campsites; we visit arches, oases and have opportunities to see desert wildlife; and we hike heartily each day with mileages of 6-10 miles daily through a maze of Canyon Country landscapes.

The public agencies that oversee this region require that everyone pack out all solid waste, including human waste. We provide resources and training to make this manageable and efficient. However, if you'd rather embark on a trip in this region where that isn't required, we recommending checking out the Boulder Mail Trail in Southern Utah.


If, in the days leading up to the start date of this trip, significant precipitation is in the forecast, we will reroute it to a backpacking trip in Southern Utah for safety reasons.

Trip Dates

  •   October 21-25, 2019

Saint George, UT
5 days
31+mi / 50+km
$1425 Per Person

Travel to St. George

Utah Sales Tax



BACKPACKER Treks are for experienced backpackers to join fellow, like-minded BACKPACKER readers on extraordinary group adventures in the United States. The North Cascades, Utah, Yellowstone and more - these trips are in world-class backpacking destinations! These trips are 100% for readers of BACKPACKER Magazine and are not advertised to any other demographic. BACKPACKER readers are passionate about hiking, camping, wilderness and backcountry adventure - perfect company for like-minded companions!

Unique Adventures

These trips have larger participant:guide ratios (8:1) than on normal Wildland Trekking trips, allowing for lower price-point rates. The reason we can go with higher ratios is because participants must be experienced backpackers. The guide(s) will cook dinner each night but outside of that all meals are the guest's responsibility. Gear is also the guest's responsibility. Transportation, permits, reservations...etc. are provided. Just show up with your food, gear and passion for backpacking and have a blast connecting with nature and fellow backpackers!

Trip Itinerary

Day 1
  • Shuttle to the Trailhead: 3-hour drive from St. George
  • Hiking Mileage: 7.5 miles
  • Elevation Loss: minimal

Our Paria Canyon backpacking trip begins in St. George, Utah where we get an early start and drive to the remote trailhead. From the trailhead, we hike a short distance before entering the Paria drainage. The day's hike continues downstream and gradually the wash begins to resemble a canyon as the Navajo Sandstone walls rise on either side. We pass by Slide Rock Arch before we arrive at the Confluence with Buckskin Gulch. We'll set up our basecamp nearby.

Day 2
  • Hiking Mileage: 6-10 miles
  • Elevation Loss/Gain: minimal

Today we have the chance to explore 1.5 miles up Buckskin Gulch to the Boulder Jam and beyond. Buckskin Gulch is one the longest and deepest slot canyons in the world. At its deepest point near the confluence with the Paria its canyon walls stretch 500 feet above the canyon floor. As we progress, the day’s changing light plays on the canyon’s walls in a brilliant show of reds, yellows, and browns. Another option is to explore down the Paria drainage through stands of cottonwood and boxelder inside an enclosure of rich red, towering sandstone walls. We'll then break camp and continue downstream to a serene spring-side camp, where we’ll enjoy a hearty dinner and laughter beneath a star-lit sky.

Day 3
  • Hiking Mileage: 6-10 miles
  • Elevation Loss/Gain: minimal

This morning we'll enjoy breakfast, then continue down the Paria River. The canyon grows deeper and presents an ever-changing mix of massive overhangs, refreshing springs, exquisite lighting and a myriad of colors. We see evidence of historic development along the Paria. We pass by The Keyhole, marking approximately the halfway point of our journey. In the afternoon, we’ll have the option of hiking up Wrather Canyon to explore Wrather Arch, one of the most remote arches in the world. We’ll once again set up camp near one of the springs.

Day 4
  • Hiking Mileage: 8-10 miles
  • Elevation Loss/Gain: minimal

As we encounter the much softer Chinle Formation, the Paria Canyon begins to widen quickly. Today we will leave the creekbed and begin hiking on the high water route. This is a long day consisting of 8-10 miles of rugged canyon hiking and will likely take most of the day to complete. We’ll see Petroglyphs today and encounter a historic ranch.

Day 5
  • Hiking Mileage: 3-5 miles
  • Elevation Loss/Gain: minimal
  • Shuttle to St. George: 3-hour drive from the South Rim

After a relaxing morning, we will finish our journey today. We will have a chance to explore several historical sites along the way, including the picturesque Lonely Dell Ranch. We’ll meet our shuttle driver and enjoy a relaxing and scenic drive back to St. George.

Please Note: We always do everything in our power to follow the set itinerary, however it can change occasionally based on temporary access restrictions, weather, lodging/campground availability, guest ability/injury, natural events like fires and flooding, and other potential causes.

Trip Details

What's Included

  • A professional, knowledgeable, certified trip leader (full-time Wildland Trekking guide)
  • Roundtrip transportation from your hotel in Bozeman, Montana to Yellowstone and back
  • Backcountry dinners in the field
  • Bear cannisters when/where required
  • Entrance fees and national park permits
  • Emergency equipment including a company-issued first-aid kit and satellite phone
  • You will receive a Lifetime Hiking Membership entitling you, your spouse and kids to a lifetime discount of 10% off any Wildland Trekking hiking trip after your first one!

What's Not Included

  • Backpack, tent, sleeping pad, sleeping bag, trekking poles, cooking gear (gear list below)
  • Breakfasts, lunches and trail snacks
  • Clothes, raingear, and footwear (Oboz hiking shoes and boots recommended) (clothing list below)
  • Sunscreen, toiletries and personal items
  • Trip leader gratuity (industry recommendation is 10+% of trip cost)

Optional Gear List

  • Trekking poles
  • Backpacking stove and fuel (if your breakfasts only need boiled water, guide can boil water for the group in the morning at camp eliminating need for personal stoves and fuel)
  • Waterproof matches and/or lighter
  • Water filter (guide can filter water for the group at camp but if you would prefer to bring your own)
  • Camera, spare batteries
  • Notebook or paperback book
  • Vitamins
  • Fly fishing gear, if you want to fish (area-specific)

Important Packing Note

Please leave a shoe-box's worth of room in your pack for accommodating approximately 5 pounds of group gear that the guide will disperse to the group on the night of the trip orientation. Group gear will include food items for the group dinners as well as group dinner cookware, stoves, water filtration, etc.

Group Dinners

Your guide will plan and prepare all of the dinners for the duration of the trip for the group. Our prepared backcountry dinners include a diversity of tasty meals packed full of critical carbohydrates, proteins and fats. We carry foods that travel well in the backcountry – rice, pastas, lentils, beans, couscous, packaged meats, etc.

We regularly accommodate vegan, vegetarian, kosher and non-gluten diets and will make adjustments for food allergies. These and other special dietary requests may require an additional fee.

Gear List

  • Multi-day backpack (recommended 4000-5000 cubic inches)
  • Backpacking tent
  • 15 degree sleeping bag (down or synthetic)
  • Sleeping pad
  • Trekking poles (optional)
  • 2 1-liter water bottles or hydration system and a water bottle
  • Headlamp or flashlight and extra batteries
  • Bowl, plate, mug, fork, spoon, folding pocket knife and personal cookware needed for your breakfasts and lunches
  • Folding pocket knife
  • Waterproof matches and/or lighter
  • Backpacking stove and fuel
  • Camp pillow, lightweight, packable camp pillow.
  • Contact lenses and glasses if you wear contact lenses please also bring a pair of glasses - your contacts are likely to become dirty and may be difficult to clean
  • Sunglasses, sunscreen, lip balm
  • Bug repellent, preferably a product containing at least 25% "DEET" (some people are sensitive to this product)
  • Toiletries, and a small washcloth in stuff sack (bandana can serve as a washcloth)
  • Camera, spare batteries (optional)
  • Notebook or paperback book, (optional)
  • Knee braces, if needed
  • Prescription medicine, please inform your trip leader of any medications you are taking
  • Vitamins, (optional)
  • Money, for tipping your trip leader (optional but appreciated, generally 10+% of your trip cost based upon the quality of your experience)

Clothing List

  • Sturdy Hiking boots, mid weight, lug-soled, above the ankle, waterproof and ideally well broken in Important note: Buy your boots 1/2 size to 1 size larger than your street shoes to allow for feet swelling and thicker socks
  • Water shoes, supportive, closed-toed, well-drained shoe for walking in and out of the creek bottom. Several companies make water shoes for day-long hiking: Salomon®, Teva®, and Keen® to name a few (do not bring Vibram FiveFingers)
  • Neoprene socks, 1 pair breathable, waterproof neoprene socks for hiking in
  • Hiking socks, one pair for every two days of your trip, plus an extra pair to sleep in. Recommended brands include Bridgedale®, Smartwool®, or similar padded socks (wearing thin liner socks under your hiking socks is highly recommended). No cotton socks!!
  • Gaiters
  • Sunhat or baseball cap and bandana
  • Mosquito head net
  • Warm hat and gloves, sherpa style hat and light-to-mid weight fleece or wool gloves
  • Long underwear, one pair of wicking tops and bottoms that are light-to midweight, example materials include capilene, merino wool, polypropylene, etc.
  • T-shirt or nylon travel shirt
  • Warm top, mid-weight shirt, sweater or pullover, also wicking material such as merino wool, fleece or polypropylene
  • Fleece jacket or insulated coat, warm, lightweight and packable fleece jacket or coat insulated with a synthetic material
  • Nylon pants and shorts, or zip-offs
  • Bathing suit
  • Fleece pants (late August and September backpacking trips and Basecamp Trip only)
  • Rainproof jacket and pant - Waterproof/breathable jacket and pant such as Gore-Tex® or coated nylon - with the pants look for side leg zippers or a style that will allow you to remove them without removing your boots
  • On Inn-based and Basecamp Trips Only: a small duffel bag or backpack with extra hiking clothes and casual clothes.
  • On Basecamp Trip Only: towel and wash cloth

Trip Logistics

How do I Register?

Ready to hike? In the Dates section of this trip page, the green dates are bookable online by simply clicking on the date, and blue dates must be booked through our customer service team for a variety of possible reasons. To email our customer service team, you can click here to get the ball rolling. Our adventure consultants will confirm availability, and if you're ready to register we'll email you a link to a registration profile. You'll have 72 hours to complete your profile (and that of any dependents) and pay the deposit ($500).

Feel free to call us for more info - we're here 7 days a week!

Where Do We Meet?

You will rendezvous with the guide and group in St. George, Utah for an orientation meeting at 5:00 PM the evening before the trip begins. Your guide will be in contact approximately 2 weeks before your trip starts to specify the orientation location, and we are more than happy to pick you up if the meeting if you are staying at one of our recommended hotels but the orientation is taking place elsewhere. The guide will then pick you up at your hotel the next morning for transport to the trailhead. For Private Utah Tours your guide can meet you at your hotel in St. George or Cedar City, Utah at an agreed upon time.

Check out our Travel Resources page for information on flights, shuttles, lodging and more.

Start/End Times

Your guide will inform you of the first day's pick-up time at the orientation meeting. Generally, you can expect it to be between 4 and 7 am, although the exact time will depend on current weather and road conditions. We will drop you off at your hotel on the final day normally before 5 PM (this time is not guaranteed, as a variety of circumstances can influence our exact return time).

Safety Considerations

Your safety is our top priority. Our hiking tours are led by professional hiking guides, all of whom are wilderness-certified first responders or EMT's, each with years of guiding and wilderness experience. We've developed comprehensive risk management protocols that our guides adhere to in case of an emergency, and most tours carry a satellite phone. If you have any further questions about safety, please contact us at 1-800-715-HIKE (4453) for more information.


Your tour will be led by a trained, experienced professional with a solid guiding background, years of personal wilderness and hiking experience, medical certifications, and a passion for leading people into breathtaking landscapes. Check out our Meet Our Team page for staff bios.

Guide Working Parameters

Guides are required to take 8 hours off each 24-hour period to sleep, recuperate, take personal/down time...etc. In addition, as part of the 8 hours off they must sleep/rest or be in their tents/rooms uninterrupted for a minimum of 5 hours each night. We ask guests to respect these requirements and to not interrupt guides' off time and sleep time unless there is a true emergency.

Group Size and Age Restrictions

The standard group size on Paria Canyon backpacking trips is 8 guests and 1 guides. If you have more questions about group size, please give us a call at 1-800-715-HIKE (4453) and we'll answer all your questions.

Age restrictions are as follows:
  • 14 and older to join scheduled tours (mixed groups)

Weather in Northern Arizona

The weather in Northern Arizona varies seasonally. To be fully prepared, please follow the recommended clothing list closely (this list comes as part of your trip packet when you register). Read below for average high and low temperatures in the Paria Canyon area:

Average Temperatures (Fahrenheit)


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