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Paria Campsite, Utah–Alaska Trip
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I hope you enjoy the photos! There’s a map to the camp at the bottom of the post.