Paria Canyon Backpack
Fully Guided Tour
Backpacking the lower Paria River Canyon from White House to Lee’s Ferry is a desert dream come true.
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What is included on your backpacking trips?
Backpacking trips include overnight permits, lightweight tents, team cooking equipment, main meals, trailhead transport from the closest town, water purification, team first aid and emergency communication, and of course experienced backpacking guides. Almost all of our backpacking trips also include a hotel night (double occupancy) before and after the hike, as well as a team dinner pre- and post-hike.
What gear do I need to bring?
Dreamland Safari Tours provides tents, team cooking gear, water purification, team first aid & emergency communications. You need to bring (or rent) a backpack, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, cup/bowl/spoon, and your hiking attire including a waterproof jacket and down jacket. Rentals for backpacks, sleeping bags & sleeping pads are available through Dreamland Safari Tours.
What type of food should I expect?
Dreamland Safari Tours provides breakfasts, dinners, and light lunches while we are on the trail (as well as water, coffee and tea). You can expect both fresh meals and the occasional backpacker's freeze-dried meal. We can accommodate many dietary restrictions with prior notice.
What is the bathroom situation?
Except for the Grand Canyon itineraries, there are no outhouses to be found on our backpacking itineraries. On most backpacking trips, expect to bury solid human waste by digging cat holes. For some itineraries such as the Paria and Buckskin Gulch, the use of wag bags is mandatory.
How much weight will I have to carry?
Standard pack weights for most of our itineraries vary between 35 to 40 lbs, which includes a ~5 lbs team gear allocation in addition to your personal gear. Your gear choices, trip duration, and water availability on your itinerary are the main determinants of final pack weight.
Is it possible to hire porters?
Most of our itineraries are subject to strict group size limits, which makes it difficult to impossible to offer porter services. That said: if you are booking a private backpacking adventure and would like to explore the possibility of adding on porter services, please give us a call or send us an email to discuss.
How do I get to Kanab or Escalante or... ?
Most of our backpacking programs start and finish in small desert towns which can be admittedly hard to reach. Public transport options are very limited, which makes travel by (rental) car advisable. If you are flying in and would like to avoid renting a car, please give us a call - we may be able to assist with car pools with other backpackers or airport pick ups.
Is there a place to leave my vehicle?
There is a safe spot to park your vehicle for the duration of the backpack on each of our itineraries.
Is tipping the guide customary?
Yes! A typical gratuity is $20-$40 per person per day -- so for a 5-day trip, the suggested tip would be between $100 and $200 total. You can read more about guide tipping from the perspective of one of our guides on our blog here.
The lower Paria River Canyon is a remote wilderness area that dissects the Vermilion Cliffs National Monument. It is an incredible, 38-mile+ desert route that offers incredibly stunning and diverse scenery ranging from the deep, dark narrows of Buckskin Gulch to seldom-seen Wrather Arch. There is no road access to the Paria River Canyon system between the two terminal trailheads of this hike, White House Campground at the North end and Lee’s Ferry on the South End. Depending on the length of the various optional side trips, you may end up hiking up to 50 miles (and no less than 38 miles) over the course of this five day adventure.
About the Paria River
The Paria Canyon drains a large area of the high country of Grand Staircase Escalante. Over millions of years, the power of water has carved an impressive passageway through the Paria Plateau and created the beautiful, varied landscape of the Paria River Canyon in the process. As we gradually descend through layers upon layers of richly colored sandstone towards the Paria’s confluence with the mighty Colorado River at Lee’s Ferry, you’ll be transported back in time as we follow the footsteps of both Native Americans and Mormon Pioneers who traversed this area in centuries past. Come experience one of the most remote desert wilderness areas of the Southwest and create memories that’ll last a lifetime.
About Dreamland’s Guided Paria Canyon Backpack
At Dreamland Safari Tours we are proud to utilize our decades of experience in desert adventures, backcountry risk management and expedition planning to offer you an exclusive Paria Canyon Backpacking Adventure. You bring your personal backpacking gear & camera; we take care of the logistics. Rental options for select gear such as backpacks, tents and sleeping bags are available upon request.
Overnight backpacks of the Lower Paria River are difficult to plan due to a variety of factors:
- Hard-to-get permits (only 20 overnight permits are issued each night for all fifty miles of the Buckskin-Paria corridor)
- Time-intensive trailhead shuttles
- Flash flood risks
- Remote terrain with limited escape options
Our 7 day guided Paria Backpacking Adventure includes:
- Overnight permits for the Buckskin-Paria corridor
- Experienced backpacking guides at a 1:4 guide-to-guest ratio
- Main meals & lodging in Kanab, double occupancy; contact us to enquire about the possibility of a single supplement
- Trailhead transport from & to Kanab
- Cooking equipment
- Breakfasts, lunches and dinners
- Water purification and/or water resupply
- Team first-aid kit and at least one Wilderness First Responder guide
- Satellite messenger communication in case of emergency
- Human waste bags
- Pre-trip gear & training advice as desired
Check back as we intermittently add new dates to our schedule!
Interested in a private Paria backpacking trip just for your group? Call us at 435.644.5506.
Fully Guided Tour
Hotel check-in and team welcome dinner (dinner & double occupancy lodging are included in the price)
9am – Guests meet at at 406 East 300 South, Kanab, Utah 84741. Guests may leave cars or extra bags here.
9-noon Gear check, trailhead transfer & lunch
12pm – Trail time begins. Approach Paria Canyon Narrows, establish camp for the night. ~8 miles hiking.
7-10 daily miles of hiking along the Lower Paria River with side visits to Buckskin Gulch, Wrather Arch, and more
Hike out to Lee’s Ferry (10-12 miles)
Afternoon trailhead pickup and return transfer to Kanab, hotel check-in. Team celebration dinner. Dinner & lodging are included in the price.
Guest Experiences with Dreamland Safari Tours
We had a phenomenal winter adventure walking the length of the Paria canyon with some side canyon explorations. This was major bucket list check off! Sunny did a fantastic job as the lead guide. Our meals were plentiful and excellent. She had some great tips and tricks for comfort for winter camping. I enjoyed learning about the Paria from her and getting to know her better. She is a great steward of Leave No Trace ethics and safe backpacking practices. I also really enjoyed hiking with Maddi and Andrea who also guide with Dreamland.
Sunny was great about pre-trip communication. She developed a thorough pre-trip packet and answered my emails promptly. I really appreciate the extra time she took to give me gear, day hike, and reading recommendations. Booking was easy and I think the price is spot on for all that is included and her service. Her itinerary included hotel stays before and after the trip with associated meals. This was a huge perk that other groups do not routinely offer. It was great to have a “home base” in Kanab at either end of the trip.
I highly recommend this multi-day backpack excursion with Dreamland as well as their other day trips.
Diantha W – February 2021
My family and I did a 42 mile hike down the Paria with Sunny and Nathalie. It was AMAZING. I felt so completely confident with the terrain knowing that Sunny was scouting quick-sand and drop-offs for us. It was the most beautifully in-nature immersive experience I’ve ever had. I learned so much from each of these marvelous women and can’t wait for my next trip with them. The trip was technically through Sunny’s company AWExpeditions, and supported by Dreamland.
From what I understand, the conditions during our particular trip were a little more cumbersome than usual due to this season’s floods. We trained the whole year in advance and did great, we were aged 34-68, and I’m heavy enough that people don’t reach for the term “athletic” when they see me, but we all did great. Felt good to live in my body and move in tune with my body for 5 whole days.
Also, shout out to Jan who drove us to the trailhead and picked us up; her enthusiasm and support was memorable.
Shannon B – October 2022
WOW! I just completed a two night backpack through Buckskin Gulch with Sunny and Orion from Dreamland Safari Tours. Both guides were really capable, knowledgeable and fun to be around. I appreciated all the pre-hike planning that Dreamland put into this difficult hike through this wet slot canyon – this enabled me to be prepared for this rigorous tour.
I would definitely recommend Dreamland for your future adventures.
Neal W – October 2020
Wow! Just wow! Everything I was hoping for and more. The geology was jaw dropping, the trip organization was stellar, and Sunny’s intimate knowledge of the canyon allowed us to see the little secrets that other will miss. But the best part was Sunny’s competency in not only leading the trip, but invoking a camaraderie and chemistry amongst a group of strangers that will inevitably lead to long term friendships. That is is a gift to all of us!
Tina Q – October 2021
What to Expect on this Paria Canyon Guided Trip
The Lower Paria River Canyon is an incredible hike, and a bucket list destination for many desert adventurers. This is a challenging multi-day trip for seasoned hikers; prior backpacking experience is highly recommended. While the Paria Backpack is a fully guided adventure and Dreamland Safari Tours will take care of group logistics, you have to be prepared to carry your own overnight gear as well as four liters of water, snacks, and your share of the food required for all three days. Depending on your gear choices and packing discipline, your backpack will likely weigh upwards of 30-35 pounds. We will cover 8-12 miles of uneven, demanding desert terrain each day. If you are at all concerned about your physical ability to complete and enjoy this backpacking adventure, please give us a call at 435-644-5506 to discuss the feasibility of your participation.
What Gear Should I Bring To Hike the Paria River Corridor?
All participants will receive a comprehensive gear check list as well as recommendations for gear to buy or rent for this trip. We provide cooking gear & meals but ask that participants bring their own overnight gear i.e. backpack, tent, sleeping pad, sleeping bag et cetera. Dreamland Safari Tours has limited rentals available for select gear items (such as tents, backpacks, sleeping bags, trekking poles), which may be reserved on a first-come-first-serve basis.
A Word about Flash Floods in the Paria River Corridor and Buckskin Gulch
The Paria River as well as its tributaries (most notably: Buckskin Gulch) are susceptible to flash flooding. If there is rain in the forecast, it may be unsafe to enter the Paria River Corridor. We carefully choose dates for this hike that carry a low likelihood of monsoonal storms and other seasonal precipitation. Should the weather not cooperate, we will pivot to an equally spectacular ‘backup’ route of similar difficulty – possible alternatives include rare locations along the Paria Plateau, Grand Staircase Escalante or possibly even the Grand Canyon.
If necessary, weather-related rerouting decisions will be made at the last minute; rerouting does NOT entitle participants to a refund. We work hard to create a flash-flood mitigation backup route which is equally as challenging, rewarding and beautiful as hiking the length of the lower Paria River. If flash flood risk makes it unsafe to enter the Paria River Corridor, we will reroute this backpacking adventure to a different location which is not as exposed to the risk of flash floods.