Slot Canyons Traverse
- 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.
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 & Booking
You can also click here to request new dates or book through customer service.
We love to customize dates for private groups!
- Shuttle to the Trailhead: 3-hour drive from St. George
- Hiking Mileage: 7.5 miles
- Elevation Loss: minimal
Our Slot Canyons Experience 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.
- 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.
- Hiking Mileage: 6-10 miles
- Elevation Loss/Gain: minimal
This morning we'll enjoy a big 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Top-of-the-line tent, sleeping pad, sleeping bag, and technical backpack
- Use of trekking poles
- All meals are included from breakfast the first day through lunch on the last day
- A professional, knowledgeable, certified Canyon Country hiking guide
- Roundtrip transportation from your hotel in St. George, Utah to the trailhead and back
- 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!
- Clothes, raingear, and footwear (Oboz hiking shoes and boots recommended)
- Sunscreen, toiletries and personal items
- Water bottles and a headlamp or flashlight
- Guide gratuity (industry recommendation is 10-20% of trip cost)
All of our hiking and backpacking tours 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, nuts, breads, oatmeal, granola, and more.
For optimal taste and energy, we supplement all our meals with spices, herbs, oils, cheeses, butter, sugar, and fruits and vegetables (fresh and dried). In addition, we provide you with with an assortment of trail mix, snacks, and dried fruits to eat at your own discretion.
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.
We provide all group gear which includes the following:
- Deuter or Osprey backpacks
- Sierra Designs, Kelty or Big Agnes tents
- Sierra Designs, Kelty, Big Agnes and Mountain Hardware sleeping bags
- Thermarest or Big Agnes sleeping pads
- Leki or Black Diamond trekking poles
- Cooking stoves and cookware
- Company-issued first-aid kit
- Satellite phone
We ask that you supply a couple of gear items on your hiking tour. These items are three 1-liter water bottles per person and either a headlamp or flashlight per person. Basic items like sunscreen, bug repellent (where and when applicable), lip balm, and toiletries are also important. For this trip we also recommend wearing older hiking shoes or boots (as we do quite a bit of hiking in the creek), Neoprene socks, and ankle-high gaiters. All of these items are available online at Wildland Trekking Outfitters.
Please refer to the trip packet for a recommended clothing list (we email you a detailed trip packet when you inquire and when you register). All trips require a sturdy pair of hiking shoes or hiking boots, rain gear, and non-cotton and cotton clothing layers. A minimum of three pairs of wool or synthetic hiking socks are also required. All of these items are available online at Wildland Trekking Outfitters.
NOTE: See the Packing Lists page for more detailed information on what clothes and gear to bring on your hiking tour. The trip packet you receive when you contact us will have the most accurate clothing and gear list for the tour you're interested in.
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!
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.
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).
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.
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.
The standard group size on Paria Canyon backpacking trips is 6 guests and 1 guides, with a maximum of 8 guests and 2 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:
- 12 and older to join scheduled tours (mixed groups)
- 5 and older to join private tours, with final approval and specific logistical requirements (such as porter assist) determined on a case by case basis
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)|
Camping on Backpacking Trips
Sleeping on backpacking trips is in premier 1-person, 2-person or 4-person backcountry tents. Solo travelers, and anyone else who requests it, are issued single tents. Top-of-the-line self-inflating sleeping pads and sleeping bags (professionally laundered after every trip) are also provided.
Fresh & Delicious
Meals from breakfast Day 1 through lunch the last day are fully included and prepared by your guide. We never use dehydrated backpacking meals, instead serving freshly prepared, delicious backcountry cuisine made with a variety of common and specialty ingredients that travel well in the wilderness.
In the Action
Of course campsites vary tremendously by destination, trip and even by the individual day of a trip. However, you can expect to camp in beautiful areas that put you right in the action to make the most of your backpacking adventure. We carefully design our itineraries with campsites in mind.