The Magical Landscapes of Utah: Cross Country Exploring with a Return through Buckskin Gulch and Wire Pass
As I’ve written time and time again, Utah is a spectacular, amazing state. But for all the myriad of treasures packed into the state, the areas around Buckskin Gulch and Coyote Buttes (home of the famous Wave) in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument are some of the most fantastic. Fantastic as in mind-blowing. Both Tom and I have visited here separately, but decided to start at the northwestern end of Buckskin Gulch, an area neither of us had explored. We stuck to the wash for a mile and a half but soon the petrified dunes and sculpted rock landscapes to the north beckoned, so we left trail and went overland exploring. We trekked for awhile, climbing 500 foot dunes and marveling at the rainbow colors, apparently got turned around at some point, rejoined the Gulch, and then proceeded in the wrong direction. Once we realized our mistake we were halfway from the trailhead no matter which way we went so I requested we continue through the gulch and out Wire Pass back to House Valley Road, which we could walk to return to the car. Our day thus turned into quite an adventure. I celebrated the incredible scenery and beautiful sunset with a beer.
Ahh, it all looks so familiar to me now, I’m happy to say! I sure do miss those slot canyon hikes! It’s so weird coming back to Florida after being out there. There’s so much water here!! I think the Tent Rocks Mnmt hike was one of my favorites out there. I really, really liked Utah and Arizona 🙂 Great photos! Makes me miss it all
Now you know why I’m so enthusiastic about Utah! 😉 I agree the differences in water are startling too; after living 31 years of my life on the east coast I have found that now I notice whenever there IS water as opposed to noticing its absence. I’m so happy you enjoyed your trip. And yes- the tent rocks are awesome!!
Beautiful place! I love this scenery. I’ve been to several over-the-top awesome parks in Utah but not Staircase Escalante…hopefully get there!
Staircase-Escalante has so many phenomenal places; it’s definitely worth exploring. Slot canyons galore!
Man, does this area look amazing! In all my visits to Utah I have yet to hit House Rock Rd. area. I’m hoping to change that in September. I see you have a pooch with you in the photos. I was thinking of hiking Wire Pass to the Buckskin Gulch junction but I have my doubts I’ll be able to navigate the drop offs (and subsequent climb back up) solo with my 40 lb dog. How far into Wire Pass are the drop off?
I definitely think you should try it! The first (of two) drops in Wire Pass is less than 2 miles from the House Rock TH. Going down should be fine (they’re less than 8 feet and your dog should be able to jump) but going back up will probably require you being able to pick up your dog so that he/she can scramble. There is however a pass which starts near the junction and leads cross country, dropping down where Wire Pass opens into the wash. The photo in my post of the fence is right where is comes out. Basically, if you’re dog is agile and you can lift a little and cajole him/ her I would say go for it. Also, there are always people in the slot canyon who will help you out. Finally, the other option is to start at House Rock, drop down through Wire Pass, then turn left to hike Buckskin Gulch 4 miles back to that TH, then 3 miles along the road back to your car. Hope to helps!