View Full Version : Paria River Canyon Trip

04-22-2004, 05:22 PM
I hiked out of the Grand Canyon on April 10th and drove back to Flagstaff to clean up, repack, pick up my friend Jerri Lynne from the Amtrak station and get some sleep. We got an early start on Sunday morning at 4:30 am and drove to the long term parking lot at Lee’s Ferry where our shuttle ride from Betty Price was to begin. Because of a miscommunication between Jerri Lynne and I she was under the impression this was to be a 3 day 2 night trip when I had scheduled it to be a 5 day 4 night trip so we could explore all the side canyons. Well, she had been freaking out the entire evening before and even though we’d picked up extra food at the grocery store, she was still uneasy about this trip because she didn’t feel she was up to it. So, to ease some of her worry, I carried all the shared gear (tent, stove, fuel, filter, extra food, etc) and so this made for a pretty heavy pack for me (probably a little more than 50 pounds).

Betty picked us up at 8:00 am along with the 2 Johns, a father and son team who were also hiking. While waiting for Betty we met Hanna and Nathan (who looked eerily like a couple I know) and found out that we had the same tentative schedule. We started the hike at Whitehouse at 10 am and headed into what turned out to be a picture opportunity every second. I can’t describe how breathtaking the trip was . . . my neck HURT from looking UP at the sheer red canyon walls. It was absolutely amazing. At first JL and I were trying to hike without getting our boots wet, I even put on my gaiters in an effort to keep my feet dry . . . Well, I learned 2 things: one, gaiters suck and two, you can’t hike the Paria Canyon without constantly wet feet. Once we accepted that wet boots was a an unavoidable reality which took about 20 minutes of the hike, we became experts at trudging right through the river. I can’t describe how perfect this trip was, the weather was sunny and dry and the terrain was amazing, I am not even going to bother to describe it because the pictures do a better job.

The 3 hardest things about this hike was how exhausting it is to walk IN the river all day long and the “quicksand” that we termed the MFing bootsucking MUD and how VERY difficult it was to locate the springs. We each carried atleast a gallon almost every day and we had to pump from the river on Day 3 because we couldn’t find a spring. The biggest and most accessible spring was Big Spring. There were occasional springs that weren’t indicated on the map but some were very hard to access water from . . . I took pictures and wrote down detailed descriptions of the springs that were there if anyone ever needed them. We cut the trip to 4 days 3 nights because JL was having a hard time sleeping . . . this forced us to skip the side canyons though I am sure they would’ve been spectacular. We took pictures of our poor banged up feet everyday so forgive the gross foot pictures.

Sunday April 11th – Whitehouse Trailhead to Mile P10
Monday April 12th – Mile P10 to Mile P20
Tuesday April 13th – Mile P20 to Mile P29
Wednesday April 14th – Mile P29 to Mile P38

My pictures are at



04-23-2004, 08:00 AM

Thanks for the great trip reports. Your photos are wonderful. I can't wait to get to the Grand Canyon - only two weeks left!!!!!:) :) :) :) :)

05-04-2004, 11:29 PM
Two friends of mine and I hiked up the Paria river, over the top to Hackberry Canyon and back down on April 17 - 22 of this year. We went in 2 days after you came out. We started and ended at the old movieset. Water in the river was considerably lower and we were able to cross it with wet feet only now and then. We took over 500 pics between us. Found lots of clear water in the side canyons. Weather was great and views were great. Only rained the first night we were there. Slept out under the stars all the other nights. Hackberry canyon was spectacular.

05-31-2004, 12:50 PM
I'm glad to hear your trip went so well. (you probably remember we exchanged emails beforehand)

Ours was equally spectacular, but trust me you had it easier by going a couple days later! In the 4 days from when we arrived at Whitehouse to when we exited, the water levels went down dramatically from all the rain preceding the trip. We went up Buckskin Gulch on the way back out on the last day (we didnt have a shuttle), and it was muddy and damp with a little standing water...apparently 2 days earlier Buckskin was a raging river. We had one stretch around the "Confluence" where we hiked for a nearly an hour straight in the water, at its highest point at waist level. My legs were screaming the next day.

We found one great spring, and utilized it out and back...it was at what our map called "First Crack." I think it's just a little bit before Big Spring. It was maybe 100 feet from the river, and we would have missed it except i was nervously exploring everything with any potential for a spring at that point, since we had run out and the river looked so muddy. The water was suprisingly warm from the spring...probably 90 degrees or so.

Did you find any petroglyphs? We had no luck with that. We did loop through an "abandoned meander" that was like an oasis park almost.