World's longest, deepest slot canyon
800 foot sandstone walls
Arches, Giant rock falls
Pleasant hiking in refreshing, watery canyon
Desert Canyon Oasis
Bucket-list canyon scenery
GEOLOGIC TIME TRAVEL MODE
44 mi/70 km
POINT OF ORIGIN
GEOLOGIC ADVENTURER SKIL
The Undergraduate geologist adventurer is capable of hiking 2-6 miles daily. Trails are generally maintained and have 1500 feet or less of change in elevation. Your backpack will weigh between 20-35 lbs. Undergraduate time traveling hikers must be healthy and relatively fit. Previous backpacking experience is a good idea, but not required.
Experience one of the premier canyon hikes on the Colorado Plateau; deep slots, soaring sunset-colored walls, and trickling water everywhere
The Paria Canyon-Vermillion Cliffs Wilderness and Vermillion Cliffs National Monument is a geologic playground for the intrepid adventurer. It’s home to spectacular geologic features, numerous narrow canyons, outrageous sunsets, solitude, and the world’s longest slot canyon, Buckskin Gulch. A Buckskin Gulch to Paria Canyon Backpacking tour explores a deep, narrow canyon carved by the forces of water, wind, and time into gleaming sandstone walls, towering over 1000 feet above the Paria River. The hike covers roughly 38 miles of canyon, and as you make your way through the canyon, the beautiful sunset red-orange sandstone cliffs clim higher with every step. You will marvel at the beautifully sculpted walls, natural springs, ancient petroglyphs and a natural arch. Near the confluence, Paria Canyon opens to spectacular views of Lee’s Ferry and the Colorado River, the mouth of the Grand Canyon. Paria Canyon is a secret wonder of the Southwest and this backpacking tour is sure to astound, astonish, and leave an indelible mark and memory.
Hikers should have the ability to walk up noticeable elevation change and over uneven ground and surface for up to 9 miles per day and carrying a small pack of gear. Many routes and trails don’t have a shortcut or turn-around option. The hiking party moves at a gentle but steady walking pace with breaks.
A real back-packing trip, comfort is what you carry with you. There are no showers or electricity on the trail and restrooms are primitive. Backpackers can expect to sleep on a sleeping pad outdoors or in a small tent. Food consists of single-entrée meals, some food are freeze-dried or dehydrated with a few fresh food selections. Meals are prepared by your guide and served “group-style” out of pots and usually eaten out of personal meal-kits while sitting on the ground.
The trail less traveled, with some side trips to more popular overlooks and areas. Hikers can look forward to ease of access and simplicity of entry at parking, destinations, meals and morel. If there are crowds, then they’re easily avoided. Overnighting locations combine the convenience of access with the feeling of true solitude in the mother nature.
geologic time travel primer
The Buckskin Gulch to Paria Canyon Backpacking tour begins at the Wire Pass Trailhead in the Paria Canyon-Vermillion Cliffs Wilderness of Utah. After final preparations, we will begin our hike along Buckskin Creek. From the relatively wide Wire Pass Trailhead, the canyon will narrow fairly quickly and dramatically, with sandstone walls rising above us. There are frequent stream crossings, as well as a short jaunt to Cobra Arch, as we make our way deeper and deeper into the amazing narrows of this stone maze. After several miles we will arrive at our camp near the confluence with the Paria River. Kick back as your guide sets up camp and prepares an excellent dinner.
Time in the car: 3.5 hours
Elevation & Distance: 9 miles, 160 foot descent
Light Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Today’s hiking adventure starts with a gorgeous stroll in Upper Paria Canyon to Slide Rock, a unique feature of this canyon, made all the more enjoyable with only your daypack! Bring your camera and sense of wonder…this canyon is outstanding. Returning to camp, we’ll pack up and head further into the depths of Paria Canyon. Expect another day of frequent creek crossings, towering canyon walls and outstanding scenery.
Elevation & Distance: 9 miles, 160 foot descent
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Our third day offers more sunset sandstone, freshwater springs and world-class hiking. A short side hike will take us to Wrather Arch, an excellent geologic feature spanning over 200 feet. It is one of the most secluded natural arches in the Arizona and the American Southwest. Tonight’s camp will be in the vicinity of Shower Spring.
Elevation & Distance: 9 miles, 350 foot descent
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Today’s hike will watch as Paria Canyon begins to open up as we exit the narrows and enter its wider desert gorge reaches. Geology is the mechanism for this changing scenery, and you will bear witness! As we pick our way through the rugged gorge, keep your eyes sharp for the ancient rock art that dots the cliffs, ruins, and a homey pioneer ranch near the cree.
Elevation & Distance: 12 miles, 600 foot descent
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
The final day in this paradise begins with a lazy morning (or a spectacular sunrise, if you so choose). We will follow the ever-widening and deepening canyon to its confluence with the Colorado River and Lonely Dell Ranch. We’ll meet our shuttles, have a tasty lunch, and make the scenic cruise back to Flagstaff. Cheers!
Elevation & Distance: 5 miles, minimal descent
Drive Time: 2 hours
Give me some details!
What is included in the Trip Rate?:
Your geologist/guide with all professional, medical, and backcountry certifications
Gear: backpack, tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, trek poles
Kitchen: bowls, cups, utensils, backcountry kitchen
Food: Full meals and trail snacks
Transportation: Roundtrip from the host hotel to all activities/attractions
Fees: Permits, Entrance Fees, Camping Fees, all necessary trip fees
What is the Food Situation?:
Blue Marble takes care of all meals on your tour. Starting with breakfast on your first day through lunch the final day, your geologist/guide will prepare a variety of chef-inspired meals on the trail and in camp. All dietary needs are accommodated, so please get in touch with us to give us details of your requirements. There may be times where special needs necessitate a small rate increase.
Meals with include one main dish, which is prepared by your geologist/guide. Fresh options may be limited, as backpacking typically requires lightweight, non-perishable foods. Trail snacks will include meats, cheeses, nuts, chocolate, and other filling, delicious, and varying backcountry food.
Is there anything that i need to provide myself?:
Transportation to and from the host city/hotel
Lodging prior to and following your trip
Gear such as clothes, rainwear, and boots/shoes
Personal items such as toiletries and sunscreen
BMAG does not provide water bottles or Camelback-Style bladders
Personal lighting such as headlamps or flashlights
We suggest gratuities for your guide, typically 10-15% of the total trip cost
*Booked guests will receive a detailed information packet
What kind of group size can i expect?
Standard backpacking tours will accommodate 6 people plus one geologist/guide. The maximum group size is 10 guests and 2 guides.
Can I bring small children?
Children under 12 are generally not permitted on any of Blue Marble’s scheduled trips due to insurance liabilities. This can be negotiable on private tours, please contact us to discuss this policy
I want to book a trip, how can i do that?
Tour bookings can be completed through our online booking platform or through our office. A 50% deposit is required, and the full trip rate will be due 90 days prior to trip departure. Bookings within the 90-day window require payment in full. Trip rates are payable through our online booking platform or over the phone by Visa, MasterCard, AmEx, or Discover. Checks by mail are fine as well, as are bank transfers ($35 transfer fee).
Tell me more!
Where do tours start and finish?
This trip will begin/end in the point of origin city and you will need to spend the night prior to your trip’s scheduled departure there. Contact our office for travel arrangements and recommendations.
Can I meet the guide before the trip?
A pre-trip briefing is held at the host hotel the evening before trip departure. Any questions will be answered, and you will have the opportunity to discuss anything you wish with your geologist/guide. Most trips will depart between 6am and 9am the following morning.
ummm, what should i do with all my luggage and whatnot?
BMAG provides all transport throughout the trip. Our guests staying at the host hotel may choose to leave their car at the hotel. Our designated host hotels will typically store your luggage if necessary. In the event that this cannot be arranged, BMAG is more than happy to store luggage and personal belongings in a private and secure location during your tour.
how should i plan my travel after the trip?
In general, most trips can expect to be back to the host hotel by 6pm on the final day of the trip. Some trips may return earlier. BMAG typically recommends that you do not plan to fly home on the same day your trip finishes. Each trip has its own particular set of circumstances and logistics, so please contact us with any specific questions you may have.
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Join Blue Marble Adventure GeoTourism on geology-themed hiking and backpacking adventures! Find the perfect Grand Canyon hiking tour, Utah Canyon Country Tour, Vermillion Cliffs Backpacking or hiking.