USA Wire Pass
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When locals and tourists hear “Wire Pass”, they usually are thinking about the Wire Pass Trailhead which serves as the beginning of two world class hikes. The 15 mile long Buckskin Gulch slot canyon is usually accessed from there as is The Wave. Permits for The Wave are extremely difficult to acquire. At the BLM (Bureau of Land Management) visitor center in Kanab, Utah, 200-300 people routinely gather every day to sign up for the lottery that awards 10 lucky people a permit. Another 10 people are awarded a permit via an online lottery. It’s a tough ticket. Likewise, only 20 permits are distributed for overnight hikes through Buckskin Gulch which are awarded via an online lottery. The good news is an unlimited number of visitors can purchase a Day Use permit for Wire Pass and Buckskin Gulch at the trailhead for $6 US. It’s an otherworldly experience even if you just hike a few miles down Buckskin and turn around. What many people don’t realize is that the relatively short 3 mile (4.8 km) round trip hike through Wire Pass to the confluence with Buckskin Gulch is a really fun outing and is a wonderful introduction to a slot canyon with many opportunities for photography. There’s one obstacle that varies in difficulty after each flash flood. The last time I was there (April, 2020) the drop over a choke stone was about 8 feet but had some rocks piled at the base to assist the climb down/up. However, there’s a relatively easy bypass located about 30 feet before the obstacle on the right. The bypass takes you up and over a small hill and drops you down a slickrock shelf about 30 feet beyond the obstacle.
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From Kanab, Utah drive 40 miles (64 km) east on US-89. Turn right onto House Rock Valley Road, located between mile markers 25 and 26 just before a guardrail and a sweeping left hand curve in the road. The Wire Pass trailhead parking area (which is also parking for the Wave) is 8.3 miles (13.36 km) down the road. It takes approx. 2 hours to get from Hurricane, Utah to the trailhead. The trail to “The Wave” veers off to the right about 1/2 mile down the wash. Don’t wander up that trail without a Wave permit. BLM rangers and park volunteers patrol the area to ensure hikers have the required permit which must be pinned to your shirt or backpack.