Do You Need A Permit to Hike Wire Pass to Buckskin Gulch Trail?

The Wire Pass to Buckskin Gulch Trail is a dream to hike! Towering slot canyons, beautiful red rocks, petroglyphs… it is no wonder that it is a popular trail for travelers and outdoor enthusiasts alike!

And the answer to this question is yes, permits are required to hike Wire Pass to Buckskin Gulch.

Keep reading to find out why permits are needed, how to obtain them, and what to expect from this epic hike.

slot canyon with towering walls

Why is a Permit Required?

Permits are often required to maintain trails, bathrooms, parking lots, and more. It is also a way to see who accesses the trail and to track the number of people who use it.

How Do I Obtain a Permit?

Buildings at the trailhead.

Obtaining a permit is simple! You can:

  1. Pre-purchase your permits online at
  2. Purchase them at the trailhead by accessing the same website or by scanning the QR code posted by the bathrooms, pictured above. It is good to note that service can be spotty so it may be best to purchase beforehand.

There are day-use permits and overnight permits available.

Day Use Permits

Day Use permits are $6.00 per person and $6.00 per dog. Make sure you add any dogs as “children” on the form on These permits need to be displayed on your dash with the permit ID visible (either printed on your online receipt or on the envelope at the trailhead).

Rangers will ticket hikers who have not purchased permits.

You only need to purchase one permit per group and the group size need to be 10 or fewer.

  • There are no discounts or exemptions for permits. Everyone has to pay $6.00 to enter Wire Pass.
  • This permit ONLY covers Wire Pass Trailhead and not other permitted trails nearby.
  • These permits are non-transferable and non-refundable.

Overnight Permits

Overnight permits can also be purchased through However, there are some differences in obtaining these overnight permits.

Permits are $9.00 per permit reservation and $5.00 per person (and dog) per day you will be in the canyon.

  • These overnight permits have to be purchased in advance and picked up within 10 days of your trip in person at the Kanab Field Office.
  • Reservations are accepted at noon on the first of each month, 3 months in advance! So if you want permits for May, grab them on the 1st of February!
  • Only 20 permits are allowed for overnight use in the canyon per day (dogs do not count towards this total).

The opportunity to backpack and camp through Buckskin Gulch is an incredible experience. It is a bucket list item for many outdoor adventurers. describes it as follows,

“Nationally known for its beauty, the Paria Canyon has towering walls streaked with desert varnish, huge red rock amphitheaters, sandstone arches, wooded terraces, and hanging gardens.

Paria Canyon, Buckskin Gulch, and Wire Pass combine to form one of the longest slot canyon systems in the United States. Portions of the permit area are included in the Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness, Kanab Field Office, Vermilion Cliffs National Monument, and Glen Canyon National Recreation Area.

The Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness contains a variety of scenic, geological, historical, biological, and recreational values. Paria Canyon is noted for its scenery caused by erosion of the sedimentary rocks in the 2,500’ deep canyon producing a variety of unusual geological features such as arches, amphitheaters, and massive sandstone walls. At the Arizona-Utah border the Paria Canyon and its tributary, Buckskin Gulch, form spectacular ‘narrows’ only a few feet wide in places and several hundred feet deep

Where is the Wire Pass Trailhead?

Wire Pass Trailhead is located about an hour outside of Kanab, Utah and Page, Arizona.

To find it:

  • From Kanab, Utah drive 37 miles east on Highway 89.
  • From Page, Arizona drive 36 miles west on Highway 89 then turn south on House Rock Valley Road and drive 8.3 miles to the trailhead.
Car driving on a dirt road

Be aware that once you turn off Highway 89, you are driving on dirt roads that are not maintained. These roads are easily passable for most cars, but high clearance and 4WD tend to do better. The drive takes about an hour from both Kanab and Page.

Once at the trailhead, you will find a large parking area, pit toilets, and trailhead information signs.

How to Find the Trailhead

The trailhead can be found directly across the road from the parking lot area & bathrooms. Before heading off on the hike, be sure to take a minute to read through trail information on the signs, along with the warnings, and be sure to have your permit visible on your dashboard.

What Do I Need to Know about Hiking Wire Pass to Buckskin Gulch?

Now that you know how to get to the Wire Pass Trailhead, let’s discuss what you need to know about hiking Wire Pass to Buckskin Gulch.

A family inside the slot canyon. The orange color of the slot canyon looks like is glowing.

Trail Description

Wire Pass trail to Buckskin Gulch is 3.5 miles out and back and takes 1.5- 3 hours to complete for the average person.

The trail consists of sandy washes, two slots, and a large confluence with towering rock walls and petroglyphs.

The trail is relatively flat and easy, as it follows a sandy wash through the desert until you reach the slot canyons. This means the trail is sandy and hot for the majority of the hike!

There are some shady spots along the way but they are few and far between, so be prepared when you visit (keep reading for more on safety & preparation).

Three kids walk on a trail with rock formations in the background.

Once you reach the slot canyon you will need to climb over or around a couple of rocks or tree branches, and down a ladder (currently, this ladder is missing, but will more than likely be replaced).

Two kids climb a ladder inside the slot canyon

If you do not want to climb down the ladder (or missing ladder) you can take a trail up and around the first slot. The trail will drop you down into a canyon after the slot, and you can walk through from that end!

This optional trail works well for those who have dogs.

The first slot is brighter and contains very picturesque walls, as pictured below.

Orange slot canyon walls with a family walking through it.

After the first slot canyon, you will come out on a sunny trail. You may be tempted to turn back around and head back to the parking lot. However, you DON’T want to do that!

You HAVE to keep going! Walk down this short trail and pretty quickly you will be at the mouth of a second slot canyon.

This second slot canyon is much darker than the first and the rocks have a slightly different look to them.

A dad and two kids hike through a section with darker slot canyon walls.

Once you walk through this slot canyon you will find yourself in a massive confluence surrounded by towering rock walls.

A family stands in the confluence area surrounded by towering rock walls

It is truly breathtaking to view the confluence. Here you can soak it all in while taking a nice break in the shade, eating some snacks or lunch, and viewing the petroglyphs along the rocks next to the arch-like rock.

Petroglyph carved in the wall

The confluence is where Wire Pass meets up with Buckskin Gulch. You can choose to keep hiking into Buckskin Gulch or you can choose to turn around and head back from here. You will hike back through both slots and follow the same direction you came from.

  • Sign up for our weekly newsletter to get essential travel tips for visiting the West.

Weather & Safety

Flash Flood Warning Sign

The safety signs at the entrance of Wire Pass are no joke, and you need to heed the advice carefully.

  • You should NEVER enter a slot canyon when there is rain in the forecast. They are prone to flash flooding and it can be a deadly combination. Also check the weather farther away. Flash floods can begin upstream of where you are hiking.
  • Wire Pass can also be extremely hot. Make sure you are prepared with sunscreen and 4 liters of water per person.
  • Always be sure to let someone know where you will be hiking and when you should be back.
  • Always download a map beforehand. This area has no cell reception, so come prepared. Some people are able to get reception at the trailhead bathrooms so if you need anything last minute you can try this, but it’s always best to come prepared.
  • Bring along good snacks. You will need to fuel your body along the way to keep your energy up!

Where Should I Stay if I Want to Hike Wire Pass?

Here are a few options you may consider during your trip to Wire Pass & Buckskin Gulch:

  1. Camping at Wire Pass Trailhead

For those who love camping in the great outdoors, the Wire Pass Trailhead offers the perfect location. The trailhead has a designated camping area that provides access to the Buckskin Gulch and Wire Pass hiking trails. Camping at the Wire Pass Trailhead is free, but there are no facilities available, so you will need to bring all of your camping gear, including water and food.

  1. Kanab, Utah

Although it is a small town, Kanab, Utah offers a wide range of accommodation options, including hotels, motels, and vacation rentals. Some popular hotels in the area include the Canyons Boutique Hotel, Comfort Suites, and Parry Lodge. Vacation rentals are also available in Kanab, with options ranging from cozy cabins to luxurious villas. Check out my article The Best Unique Hotels & Resorts In Kanab, Utah for some great options.

  1. Page, Arizona

Another great place to stay is Page, Arizona. There are several accommodation options in Page, including hotels, motels, and vacation rentals. Some popular hotels in the area include the Hyatt Place, Courtyard by Marriott, and Lake Powell Resort.

  1. Camping at Stateline Campground

The Stateline Campground is located about 40 minutes from Wire Pass and Buckskin Gulch and provides a great camping option for those looking to stay closer to the hiking trails. The campground has 28 campsites, each with picnic tables, fire rings, and tent pads. The campground also has restrooms and drinking water available for visitors.

  • We have found a great resource to use when looking for hotel lodging accommodations is We often find really good deals and we love that we can compare prices and locations all on one website.

What else is nearby Wire Pass?

Wire Pass is nearby so many great spots to adventure and explore!

The closest cities are Page, Arizona and Kanab, Utah.

Wire Pass is also close to:

Is There a National Park Nearby?

Yes. Wire Pass is less than two and a half hours from 3 national parks: Zion, Bryce Canyon, and the North Rim of the Grand Canyon!

The national parks are crowded! If you’re visiting one of these locations and you need a game plan, we’ve got you covered. Download our travel guides, so you can visit the best sites efficiently and have a great trip!

Each of these guides come complete with a daily itinerary and audio guide in which we tell you all the stories behind the parks.

Additional Resources


Matt and Cheryl

We’re Matt and Cheryl, and we’re in the Rockies. :) We are both teachers. Cheryl teaches special ed, and Matt teaches American history. We love the American West and the national parks. We want to help you have a great vacation on your next trip to the Rockies.


    This site is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to We are compensated for referring traffic and business to Amazon and other companies linked to on this site.