Paria Campsite, Utah–Alaska Trip

by | May 12, 2014 | 20 comments

Paria Campsite, Utah–Alaska Trip

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Today I am going to tell you all about out camp on the Paria River. I found this spot about 5 years ago when I hiked the Wave. For those of you who are unfamiliar with it the Wave is a totally unique rock geological structure that literally forms a Wave with grooved striations of multiple colors in it. It is so unique and spectacular that photographers come here from all over the world to shoot it—including me! But it is very fragile so the BLM has a put a strict limit of 20 visitors a day and those by permit only. Ten permits are given out over the internet and ten are given out in person by drawing each day.

The Wave.

The Wave.

 
Five years ago I came here to hike and photograph it and at that time the drawing for permits was held at the Pariah Contact Station. I asked at the station where I could camp nearby while I was trying to get a Permit and they said there was a very nice campsite under some Cottonwood trees just down a dirt road from the Station, and if it was full their was a campground at the end of the road that charged $5 a day. I was lucky and there was no one there so I camped under that tree for the next 5 days while I tried to get a Permit. On my third day of drawing I did get a Permit and so I will show you some of my pictures from the Wave.
The Pariah River, about 15 feet from our vans.

The Pariah River, about 15 feet from our vans.

It’s one of my all-time favorite camping spots so I wanted us to spend our first night on the road there. It turns out the drawing are no longer held there, they are held at the Kanab, UT BLM Office instead but we weren’t hiking anyway so we didn’t care. If you are ever exploring Southern Utah,  Highway 89 is one of the main routes because it connects Zion NP with either Monument Valley or with the Grand Canyon and Flagstaff. It’s part of what is known as the Grand Circle which connects the 5 National Parks in Utah (Zion, Bryce, Capital Reef, Canyonlands and Arches) with the Grand Canyon and Monument Valley in Arizona. I consider the Grand Circle to be one of the single most beautiful places on the planet, which every vandweller should see.
 this is he basic Grand Circle ut i can easily be expanded to include several other National Parks like Mesa Verde and the Grand Canyon,


zthis is he basic Grand Circle ut i can easily be expanded to include several other National Parks like Mesa Verde and the Grand Canyon,

Antelope Canyon

Antelope Canyon

If you ever explore the Grand Circle you’ll want to use this campsite! The nearest Walmart is 20 miles away in Page, AZ. Also in Page is another spectacular geological formation: Antelope Canyon. It’s a slot canyon formed by running water and is probably the most beautiful one anywhere. It’s on Navajo land so you need a Navajo guide to take you into it, but it’s well worth it! I’m including some photos from there as well.
These flowers were in bloom all around us.

These flowers were in bloom all around us.

To find this campsite head either East from Kanab, UT or West from Page, AZ on Highway 89 and keep your eyes on the mile markers alongside the road. The Paria River BLM office is between mile-markers 20 and 21 and is easy to see on the south side of the road. Turn in to go into the Office (where they have both trash pickup and water for the public). And just before the Office you will see a road going off to the left; turn down it and go about 2 miles, keeping an eye off to the right for some big Cottonwood trees and a small dirt road leading to them. If someone is already there you can keep going straight to a little campground that charges $5 a day and has porta pottis.
A field of flowers set against the red rock cliff.

A field of flowers set against the red rock cliff.

I hope you enjoy the photos! There’s a map to the camp at the bottom of the post.
Pariah-red-rock
paria-cliffs
Pariah-distant-use
A map to the Paria camp.

A map to the Paria camp.

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20 Comments

  1. Calvin R

    This post gives me still more to do when I get to the Southwest. It’s nice that you found that camping spot and then the event that draws others moved on.
    The pictures really share the beauty you see in Paria. Thanks.

    • Bob

      Thanks Calvin!
      Bob

  2. Jo L.

    Wow! I hope to tour the Grand Circle one day! Thank you for sharing your beautiful photographs. Enjoy!

    • Bob

      Thanks Jo!
      Bob

  3. Peggy

    Spectacular photographs, Bob! I’m drooling, ha ha. I definitely have to make it down there from Canada one day soon. I’m having van troubles right now but will be getting it fixed up next week. Happy trails!

    • Bob

      Peggy, I hope your van troubles are easy and cheap fixes! Come on down, there are some gorgeous places down here.
      Bob

      • Peggy

        I’d love to, Bob! The mechanic won’t get around to fixing my van until next week and he’s quoting $1,500…I’m not too happy about it!

        • Bob

          There is never a problem with getting a second (and third) opinion). You might can save save money.
          Bob

  4. Joe S

    Great timing Bob! I’m heading out that way at the end of the month and may use that campsite. Some of the other highlights of my trip will include destinations you’ve written about previously: Moab, Moki Dugway, House on Fire, Monument Valley, Ouray (Engineer Pass if it’s open).
    Thank you for providing such helpful first hand knowledge.

    • Bob

      You are very welcome Joe! Have a great trip to some fantastic areas!
      Bob

  5. Jim and Gayle

    You are right, that is one of the most beautiful areas we’ve seen. We camped at Lone Rock Beach, closer to Page, when we went to the Wave. It’s a nice spot to camp in the winter when it’s free and not crowded.
    Gayle

    • Bob

      Thanks Gayle, I’ll have to check that out.
      Bob

  6. Sameer

    We will check out the Paria Campsite! We are leaving Cortez, CO today. I think this would be a good time for Mr. Pico and I to travel the “Grand Circle”. Everyone should visit Mesa Verde. More remarkable than anything. Hope you are having a fantastic trip!

    • Bob

      Thanks Sameer, you won’t regret it! The weather here in Zion NP is perfect and most of the Grand circle is about the same elvation. However, Bryce NP is almost at 10,000 feet so be watchful for snow there.
      Bob

  7. jonthebru

    You are talking directly to me aren’t you? You are saying get off your fat okole, (Hawaiian lesson: your okole is your rump.) get the planning done and go there dog darn it! Is it nice in the early fall like late september early october?

    • Bob

      jonthebru, late October-November is the best time to visit because the cotonwoods will be turning color to a very pretty yellow. The crowds will be gone and the weather is perfect. If you go to Zion the shuttles have stopped running and you can drive right into the Park.
      Hope you make it off your okole!
      Bob

  8. The Vagabloggers

    Thanks for the info, Bob! We hope to share a few great camp spot finds such as this on our own blog as well. Sometimes when you’r headed into “the middle of nowhere” this type of info can be invaluable. We’re leaving Salt Lake for Bryce tomorrow, then continuing south to Flagstaff and beyond. Will definitely have to stop by this spot on our way.

    • Bob

      Glad to have helped! We are just passing by each other. If you stay around Quartzsite-Yuma-Parker this winter we should get together.
      Bob

      • The Vagabloggers

        Update: Stayed a night at this site and it was wonderful! Couldn’t see the cottonwood trees in the dark when we arrived, so as a heads up for anyone else who finds themselves in this situation: our odometer showed the turn-off to the camp spot to be 1.5 miles from the main highway.
        Bob, if we find ourselves anywhere near Quartzsite this winter, we’d love to get together! The only problem is that we never know where we’re going to be until we get there 🙂

        • Bob

          Vagabloggers, I understand the feeling! My summers are that way but in winters I tend to be in the same few places. If you are nearby, you’re always welcome in my camp!
          Bob

Table of Contents

20 Comments

  1. Calvin R

    This post gives me still more to do when I get to the Southwest. It’s nice that you found that camping spot and then the event that draws others moved on.
    The pictures really share the beauty you see in Paria. Thanks.

    • Bob

      Thanks Calvin!
      Bob

  2. Jo L.

    Wow! I hope to tour the Grand Circle one day! Thank you for sharing your beautiful photographs. Enjoy!

    • Bob

      Thanks Jo!
      Bob

  3. Peggy

    Spectacular photographs, Bob! I’m drooling, ha ha. I definitely have to make it down there from Canada one day soon. I’m having van troubles right now but will be getting it fixed up next week. Happy trails!

    • Bob

      Peggy, I hope your van troubles are easy and cheap fixes! Come on down, there are some gorgeous places down here.
      Bob

      • Peggy

        I’d love to, Bob! The mechanic won’t get around to fixing my van until next week and he’s quoting $1,500…I’m not too happy about it!

        • Bob

          There is never a problem with getting a second (and third) opinion). You might can save save money.
          Bob

  4. Joe S

    Great timing Bob! I’m heading out that way at the end of the month and may use that campsite. Some of the other highlights of my trip will include destinations you’ve written about previously: Moab, Moki Dugway, House on Fire, Monument Valley, Ouray (Engineer Pass if it’s open).
    Thank you for providing such helpful first hand knowledge.

    • Bob

      You are very welcome Joe! Have a great trip to some fantastic areas!
      Bob

  5. Jim and Gayle

    You are right, that is one of the most beautiful areas we’ve seen. We camped at Lone Rock Beach, closer to Page, when we went to the Wave. It’s a nice spot to camp in the winter when it’s free and not crowded.
    Gayle

    • Bob

      Thanks Gayle, I’ll have to check that out.
      Bob

  6. Sameer

    We will check out the Paria Campsite! We are leaving Cortez, CO today. I think this would be a good time for Mr. Pico and I to travel the “Grand Circle”. Everyone should visit Mesa Verde. More remarkable than anything. Hope you are having a fantastic trip!

    • Bob

      Thanks Sameer, you won’t regret it! The weather here in Zion NP is perfect and most of the Grand circle is about the same elvation. However, Bryce NP is almost at 10,000 feet so be watchful for snow there.
      Bob

  7. jonthebru

    You are talking directly to me aren’t you? You are saying get off your fat okole, (Hawaiian lesson: your okole is your rump.) get the planning done and go there dog darn it! Is it nice in the early fall like late september early october?

    • Bob

      jonthebru, late October-November is the best time to visit because the cotonwoods will be turning color to a very pretty yellow. The crowds will be gone and the weather is perfect. If you go to Zion the shuttles have stopped running and you can drive right into the Park.
      Hope you make it off your okole!
      Bob

  8. The Vagabloggers

    Thanks for the info, Bob! We hope to share a few great camp spot finds such as this on our own blog as well. Sometimes when you’r headed into “the middle of nowhere” this type of info can be invaluable. We’re leaving Salt Lake for Bryce tomorrow, then continuing south to Flagstaff and beyond. Will definitely have to stop by this spot on our way.

    • Bob

      Glad to have helped! We are just passing by each other. If you stay around Quartzsite-Yuma-Parker this winter we should get together.
      Bob

      • The Vagabloggers

        Update: Stayed a night at this site and it was wonderful! Couldn’t see the cottonwood trees in the dark when we arrived, so as a heads up for anyone else who finds themselves in this situation: our odometer showed the turn-off to the camp spot to be 1.5 miles from the main highway.
        Bob, if we find ourselves anywhere near Quartzsite this winter, we’d love to get together! The only problem is that we never know where we’re going to be until we get there 🙂

        • Bob

          Vagabloggers, I understand the feeling! My summers are that way but in winters I tend to be in the same few places. If you are nearby, you’re always welcome in my camp!
          Bob