Top three reasons to hike the Paria Canyon:
One of the best canyon-backpacking destinations in the world
Walk away stronger and with a more refined sense of self than you had before
Towering walls of red rock, spectacular sandstone arches, and beautiful hanging gardens
Utah offers miles on end of natural beauty and wilderness, and the Paria Canyon is no exception. Nestled in the heart of the Vermilion Cliffs, it is one of the best and most spectacular canyon-backpacking destinations in the world. Red rock walls that soar for hundreds of feet above the canyon floor; narrow sections that remind of the Narrows, AZ, rainbow-colored rock layers, and hanging gardens provide a unique experience for any hiker. Backpacking through the lower Paria Canyon is a bucket list item for many desert explorers and outdoor enthusiasts. The traditional route covers 38 amazing miles of off-trail that will introduce you to all the wonders of remote backcountry travel. Challenge the status quo and make forays into the world of mountaineering in an all-female environment. With each mile, you’ll feel more confident and get a more refined sense of self than you had before. Combine the best of both worlds by learning how to navigate ever-changing conditions as you explore the neverending beauty of Utah. Push your boundaries in the outdoors and slowly but steadily step into the big mountain realm!
Spring and fall
St. George is 1.5 hours away from the starting point
Intermediate to advanced
Book this adventure
Women’s Backpacking Trip Through the Paria Canyon
Experience the thrill of off-trail adventures on this 7-day all-female hike through the Paria Canyon, UT! The White House to Lee’s Ferry route that you’ll explore during the week covers 38 miles of canyon-floor ground with plentiful river crossings, diverse rock formations, and miles of mandatory wading. Let your seasoned, naturalist, female guide show you the basics of a backcountry adventure. Learn all about camping and navigating through the wilderness while you meet like-minded women, gain more self-confidence, and make lifelong memories!
Day 1: Meet and greet
After you arrive at Kanab, meet your guides and the group you’ll share this experience with over a welcome dinner. Kanab is a true Western Classic. It will transport you back to a time when small-town charm and cattle ranching was a mainstream way of life. Relax and energize for tomorrow, and spend the night in the Canyons Collection.
Day 2: White House Trailhead
After a hearty breakfast at the hotel, head to the trail with your guides. You’ll be transferred to Dreamland Safari Tours around 9am and shuttled to the White House Trailhead about an hour and a half away. Have lunch and enjoy the fresh air before embarking on your adventure! Follow the Paria River south and prepare for some wading. You’ll backpack for 5-7 miles before enjoying a delicious dinner and setting camp where you’ll spend the night.
Days 3: Buckskin Gulch
Make your way along a long and deep slot canyon named Buckskin Gulch before you reach the Paria Canyon — one of the best canyoneering locations in the world. Follow the steps of early Mormon pioneers and the seasonal migration patterns of the area’s native Paiute and Anasazi people and enjoy the historical sites and stunning geologic formations along the way.
Day 4: Judd Hollow Area
Spend your day adventuring and discovering the natural wonders and wildlife of Utah. Your seasoned and professional guide will show you the fundamentals of adventuring in the backcountry as you hike through the Judd Hollow valley packed with exciting historical sites and marvellous panoramas.
Day 5: Wrather Arch
Learn how to navigate ever-changing conditions and explore the neverending beauty of the Canyon! Wrather Arch is a natural cave-like arch made of dramatic, picturesque Navajo sandstone. It is the least accessible among the major natural bridges in the Southwestern US, making the approach even more exciting! Once you reach the arch, take some pictures and enjoy the rocky environment that only few will experience!
Day 6: Lee’s Ferry
Today is your last day of exploring the Canyon before returning to civilization. Hike the last section of the trail to a place where old meets new! Lee’s Ferry, a natural corridor between Utah and Arizona, took an important role in the exploration and settlement of northern Arizona. Rich history, beautiful nature, and clear, cold waters make this area great for a break and relaxation before reaching the endpoint. Once you return to Kanab, enjoy a celebratory dinner with your all-female group and spend the night at the Canyons Collection.
Day 7: Departure
After 6 days of getting to know your group and exploring the Canyon, share stories over breakfast and say your goodbyes! This adventure might be over, but the friendships and memories will last forever!
Meet your guides
Lead guide and the owner of AWExpeditionsLead guide and the owner of AWExpeditions
Lead guide and the owner of AWExpeditions
Through AWExpedition, Sunny created an amazing experience from the moment we arrived in Kanab. Exceptional guide, caring individual and amazing landscape.
Sunny is EXTREMELY knowledgable of the Paria Canyon (knows all potential risks and fun secret sites). She focuses on making sure each of her clients get what they are looking for out of the experience (building skills, learning the geology, making personal connections). I HIGHLY recommend her. October was a stunning time of year to hike this amazing canyon. Warm days, cool nights, and fall foliage.
Everything. Sunny Stroeer is truly remarkable, and is the reason I applied for the summit scholarship and eventually summited Komo Kulshan (Baker) in the Cascades. She beautifully brings together women from different backgrounds, age, mountaineering, and professional experiences and creates an inclusive, exciting, and supportive environment for all. I always felt included, and never felt like I had to prove myself or my physical strength, like I do so often in male-dominating outdoors environments. I learned so much from Sunny, as well as the other female guides about glacial mountaineering, safety, and other skills useful for trekking across snow covered peaks. The women I barely knew day 1 quickly became friends and strong team members I look up to in so many ways. I cannot recommend AWE enough, and any individual wanting to venture into the mountains with the incredible group of women Sunny brings together, will truly be in AWE of the world, your team members, and all that you are capable of too. I can’t wait for many more adventures with AWE! Thank you Sunny!!!
Sunny is such a wonderful leader! I have gone on two expeditions with AWE and both were fantastic. The small group was a lot of fun. Sunny encouraged and challenged us throughout the trek, and has a high level of awareness and flexibility that made our trip safe and successful even when obstacles came up. I would highly recommend Sunny and AWE.
I would follow Sunny anywhere! She is a strong, intelligent leader with a realistic understanding of the circumstances and limitations of the group in the moment and over the course of the expedition. Before the expedition she set forth some expectations of ability with training milestones to meet to be set up for success. During the expedition she will encourage and push for your own inner strength to shine through but will also suggest a decent if needed. That is why I’d follow her anywhere – I trust her level of awareness and knack for safety!!
Trips with AWE are extremely well planned, organized, and executed (Founder Sunny Stroeer does have an MBA from Harvard after all!). Plus, she is patient, kind and fun as hell! A top notch mountain woman whose judgement and skills I trust 110%!
Things to know
Covid measures in Paria Canyon, Utah
57hours is committed to providing safe outdoor adventure experiences. We require all guides using our platform to have a COVID-19 safety plan and to make the details of that plan accessible to travelers. In most cases, group sizes will be reduced, guides will avoid overcrowded locations, and other safety measures will be met depending on the location and activity.
We also expect clients to respect local regulations and take measures to protect themselves, guides and the communities they’re travelling to. For more information on COVID-19 measures in Paria Canyon, UT, please refer to the official Government of Utah website.
Please contact us if you have any questions or require further information. We are happy to provide you with the most up-to-date information!
What you get on this adventure:
- An experienced, local rock-climbing guide with extensive knowledge of the area
- 5 days of hiking
- 2 nights of hotel accommodation pre- and post-hike in Kanab
- Meals in town and on the trail
- Transport between Kanab and the trailhead
- Paria Canyon permits
- All group backpacking gear (cooking, water filtration & emergency communications)
What’s not included:
- Your own transport to/from Kanab
- Personal backpacking gear — can be rented by the guide
- Alcoholic beverages
During your time on the trail, you can expect standard nutritious backpacking breakfasts, light lunch, and fortified “just add water” freeze-dried dinner. If you have any special dietary requirements (vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free and celiac, dairy-free), please contact us prior to booking to make arrangements.
How fit do I need to be?
Hiking in Paria Canyon does not require a lot of skill but all participants must be in good physical condition and have some previous hiking experience. You have to be able to comfortably hike 8-10 miles on uneven terrain (and not feel utterly exhausted at the end of it) in order to enjoy this hike. Previous backpacking experience is helpful.
The Paria Canyon Backpack is not a mountaineering adventure, but it is an excellent introduction into remote backcountry travel, endurance, safety, and camping. There is no elevation change along the Paria River, but there is a lot of uneven footing as well as long stretches of mandatory wading. October typically sees the Paria flowing all the way from White House to Lee’s Ferry, and we’ll have wet feet for at least 70% of our trip (if not more). Keep in mind, the weather in summer can be very hot and you’ll also be packing a backpack filled with water and other things you’ll need throughout your trip.
What do I need to bring?
Here’s a list of the equipment you need to bring:
- Backpack large enough to carry all the items listed (around a 40L bag)
- Hiking poles — optional
- Sleeping bag
- Sleeping pad
- Water bottle or hydration bladder (2L capacity)
- Personal trail snacks — bring a minimum of 2,500 calories
- Plastic mug, bowl, and spork
- Fire matches, lighter, or tinder
- Lightweight hiking boots or shoes that can get wet
- Weather-appropriate clothes for layering
- Fast-drying base layer (no cotton)
- Long sleeve shirt
- Warm layers: fleece or down jacket
- Lightweight wind/waterproof jacket
- 4 pairs of hiking socks
- Neoprene socks — optional
- Dry bag for electronics — optional
- Waterproof rain jacket
- Buff or bandana
- Toiletries (sunscreen, hand sanitizer, bug spray, toilet paper, etc.)
- Small quick-dry towel
- First aid kit
- Headlamp or flashlight
- Camera — optional (but recommended)
Dress comfortably and for the weather in clothes you can move in. We suggest bringing clothing appropriate for the season. Layers are best and don’t wear jeans.
Equipment is available to rent directly from the guide. If you would like assistance with gear rentals or purchase recommendations, please contact us.
Group sizes and age requirements
Group sizes and prices:
- For this group adventure, the max client to guide ratio is 5:1, and all participants will be women.
- Cost is per person. The cost does not decrease as the group grows.
Min. age requirements:
- If you are older than 18, you’re good to go.
- Minors younger than 18 may be permitted to join the hike on a case-by-case basis, but must be in the presence of a parent or legal guardian.
If your group has hikers under the age of 18, contact us prior to booking to make arrangements.
Deposits and cancellation policy
Registration for an adventure with your guide requires a $500 USD deposit. The balance of program fees will generally be due 120 days prior to the starting date of the program. It is your responsibility to adhere to the fee payment schedule. Late payment will result in cancellation of program reservations and forfeiture of all fees paid.
The $500 deposit is non-refundable. All other program fee payments are refundable upon request unless the expedition has already incurred costs on behalf of the applicant.
In some cases, if you are required to forfeit your spot, you may find an acceptable replacement in which case your deposit and fees would transfer to your replacement without penalty.
Participants agree that beginning on the first date of the program itinerary, there will be no refunds of program fees for any reason whatsoever.
Though unlikely, an expedition may be canceled for any reason prior to departure. In that event, the deposit and expedition fees pay by the participants will be refunded. In circumstances where the expedition has already made payments to foreign agencies (climbing permits / logistics support) for a program, some portion of program fees may not be fully refundable.
In the event of cancellation of a program and upon refund to participants of all program fee payments, the expedition organizer shall be released from any further liability to participants, including but not limited to liability for additional costs participants may have incurred.
Expedition participants acknowledge that during the program, certain events may occur which may necessitate certain additional costs not contemplated at this time, including but not limited to the cost of evacuation during any part of the program, medical treatment, body recovery and/or repatriation, and other related matters. Participants agree that those additional costs are not responsibility of the expedition organizer and that the participant is responsible for payment of those costs.
Getting there and meeting location
To get to Paria Canyon, most people fly into Salt Lake City (SLC), about a five-hour drive, Las Vegas (LAS) just over a two hours away, or St. George Regional Airport (SGU) about 90 minutes away. From there, you can rent a car or take a bus ride to Kanab, UT, where you will meet your guides.
Once you and your guide agree on the details of your itinerary, your guide will suggest the best place to meet. The guide will take you from Kanab to Paria Canyon and choose the appropriate terrain depending on conditions and the ability of the group.