I’ve hiked a couple times maybe 2-3 miles in a slot of Buckskin Canyon south from Wire Pass so it was interesting to see a more open part of the canyon in upper Buckskin Canyon.

BLM map Buckskin Canyon, Paria Canyon to Lees Ferry Utah and ArizonaThe Paria Canyon/Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness Area requires one of three kinds of permits: day use, advanced day use and overnight use.  After 16 miles Buckskin Canyon joins Paria Canyon for an almost 40 mile hike to Lee’s Ferry in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area.

House Rock Valley Road Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument UtahAccess by House Rock Valley Road south from SR89 can be a bit rough after rains.   When we arrived at the upper Buckskin Canyon parking we saw the was a fee of $6/person and $6 for the dog.

Upper Buckskin Gulch Paria Canyon/Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness area UtahYou can walk on a low bench through the vegetation or in the wash as we chose to do.

Bill & Sasha Upper Buckskin Gulch Paria Canyon/Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness area UtahBecause it was already pretty warm by 11am (we don’t seem to get very early starts) Bill and Sasha stopped in shade while I lollygagged along taking photos, many hundreds of photos, of this picturesque landscape.

Erosion on sandstone walls Upper Buckskin Gulch Paria Canyon/Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness area Utah

Sandstone cliffs Upper Buckskin Gulch Paria Canyon/Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness area Utah

Erosion on sandstone walls Upper Buckskin Gulch Paria Canyon/Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness area UtahI see so much sculpture in the sandstone walls.  The power of water is amazing.  Do you see the silhouette of two people wrapped in a blanket above?

Curled cracked mud Upper Buckskin Gulch Paria Canyon/Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness area UtahAnd evidence of recent water left behind.

Bee plant Upper Buckskin Gulch Paria Canyon/Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness area UtahBee plant grew along the wash, once used by Natives as a binder mixed with ground minerals to make paint/glaze.

Upper Buckskin Gulch Paria Canyon/Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness area UtahWe only saw one couple on the trail and stopped to chat.  He was obsessively searching for some feature known as Edmaier’s Secret to the point he didn’t even notice the beauty around him.  He’d seen some YouTube video of getting to this mystery site with a fence for a marker.

Arch Upper Buckskin Gulch Paria Canyon/Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness area UtahWe may have found it but it really wouldn’t make any difference as everywhere I looked was beautiful.

Possible cat track Upper Buckskin Gulch Paria Canyon/Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness area UtahMaybe a cat track in the sand?

Sasha by sandstone fins Upper Buckskin Gulch Paria Canyon/Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness area Utah

Sandstone fins Upper Buckskin Gulch Paria Canyon/Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness area Utah After seeing a fence along the left side of the wash we took a side trip.  We climbed through the barbwire, clambered over 300 feet of soft rolling sand dunes onto slick rock with sharp fins of harder sandstone.

Teepee rock Upper Buckskin Gulch Paria Canyon/Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness area UtahI could have just walked into this landscape for hours, or even days.  We talked about an overnight backpack to just lay on the rock and watch the stars.

Dunes & sandstone formation Upper Buckskin Gulch Paria Canyon/Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness area UtahFound a large juniper tree and hid in its shade for lunch.

Sandstone formation Upper Buckskin Gulch Paria Canyon/Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness area Utah

Sandstone formation Upper Buckskin Gulch Paria Canyon/Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness area UtahThis one giant shape entranced me.  Such artistic shapes and textures formed by ancient sand dunes, water and wind.

Toadstool Upper Buckskin Gulch Paria Canyon/Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness area Utah

Upper Buckskin Gulch Paria Canyon/Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness area UtahBy 2pm the temperature had increased noticeably and the sand and stone was getting hot so after lunch we hurried back to the wash to get Sasha on cooler ground with shade options.

Bedding planes Upper Buckskin Gulch Paria Canyon/Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness area Utah

Daisy Upper Buckskin Gulch Paria Canyon/Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness area UtahWe hoofed it back at a little faster pace but of course I still took photos along the way.

Sandstone formation Upper Buckskin Gulch Paria Canyon/Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness area UtahAlong the last stretch Bill and Sasha took a shortcut over a bench while I walked in a loop of the wash.  Nice thing about coming in last is arriving to a pre-airconditioned truck.

Lizard on sandstone Upper Buckskin Gulch Paria Canyon/Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness area UtahEverywhere Bill shows me in southern Utah needs a return visit, in cooler temperatures.

Hole in sandstone Upper Buckskin Gulch Paria Canyon/Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness area Utah“The Colorado Plateau is to the geologist a paradise. Nowhere on the earth’s surface, as far as we know, are secrets of its structure so fully revealed as here.”  –Clarence E. Dutton, 1882