Difficulty III-V
Length 42 Miles
Gauge N/A
Flow Range
Reach Info Last Updated 03/13/2019 12:52 am

River Description

Overview: The Paria is the ultimate ephemeral desert river.  Boatable flows on the Paria are so fickle that some groups have had to hike out after the water dropped on them overnight.  While hard to catch, the Paria is worth the effort rewarding any paddler with 20 miles of beautiful, committing slot canyon paddling followed by another 20 miles of class III-IV boulder gardens (V at high flows).  This is one of those runs where calling in sick or driving through the night will be worth your time or you might wait years for your next shot.

What Boat?: At high flows this run would be great in a hard shell.  There would be a few scrapy sections near the beginning and end of the run but in general it would chanalize quite well.  Packrafting this run has become the popular option with the primary upside being an easier hike out if you were to wake up to a de-watered river (very possible). For a strong group you could catch the surge and just paddle the 42 miles in a day to avoid that possibility.  That said, I can’t see any reason why you wouldn’t want to linger in such a jaw-dropping canyon and doing the run as an overnighter is worthwhile. There will likely be some scouting to do on your first trip so factor that in as well. The primary downside of this run is the water quality. If there is water it will be a thick mud slurry.  This run will be hard on your packraft stowfly zipper and this is enough of a reason to paddle a hardshell if flows permit.

Flow: The most challenging part of this run is catching it with water. There is a USGS gauge on the Paria at Lee's Ferry. This is about 12 hours downstram of where you put in so keep in mind flows could be wildly different than what you will be paddling. A heavy rain on snowmelt mixture is what will be most effetive at bringing the Paria to a runnable level. During a good snowpackyear between February and April keep your eyes on the forecast and just wait at the put-in for the surge. People have paddled this run as low as 150 with lots of scraping. 350-500cfs would be a nice medium. 900 was fast and continuous with some stompy rapids but would be excellent in a hardshell. At low to medium flows this run in primarly class III-IV in difficulty with a few portages around sieves. Expect class V at high flows.

Logistics: If you plan to do the Paria in one night you need to obtain a permit which can be done online on the BLM site, over the phone (except on Sundays), or in person at the ranger stations in St George or Kanab. If you are planning to paddled the Paria in a huge one day push you would just need a self issue permit. The shuttle from Lees Ferry to the put-in is 1 hour and 20 minutes. You can leave your vehicle in the Grand Canyon overnight parking lot, a short walk from the takeout.  I recommend paddling out into the Colorado to rinse off the mud and walking back on the fishing trail.

Check out the AW Archives for an article from Sept/Oct 1995.

Rapid Descriptions


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12 years ago

I just spent a week hiking down the Paria. It looked very possible to creek it if you could catch the water levels right. I hiked in through Buckskin Gulch, no way to take a kayak in that way. I don't know what it looks like if you go in through White House. The upper part of the canyon would not have much in the way of rapids and would be extremely dangerous if rain was a possibility. The flash floods are deadly. The lower part of the canyon opens up more and has some areas that would make for some good creek boating. I will be posting a lot of photos from my trip to my Flickr account, look for Paria Canyon and Boilerblues.

No Gage

Gage Descriptions

Look for floods.

Directions Description

Take-out: At Lee's Ferry at the confluence with the Colorado. You can leave your vehicle in the Grand Canyon overnight parking lot, a short walk on fishing trail from the confluence of the Paria and the Colorado.

Put-in: To reach the put-in drive through Page and continue north on U.S. 89 until you reach the bridge over the Paria (120 minutes). To avoid a few miles of shallow braids turn south onto a dirtroad signed for the Paria Contact Station and Whitehouse Campground. Put-in at the campground or at any other pull out along this road.



No Accident Reports



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Kestrel Kunz

In the ongoing saga of hydro dam developments proposed within striking distance of Grand Canyon National Park, American Whitewater is asking for help from the paddling community to stop a development that would impact the greater Grand Canyon area and its tributaries. Back in October 2019, we wrote an article outlining the proposal submitted by Phoenix-based hydroelectric company Pumped Hydro LLC to place two dams on the Little Colorado River, a tributary of the Colorado River’s mighty Grand Canyon. This proposal was met with a large amount of pushback for the cultural impact on indigenous tribes, ecological impacts, and water use. To address these concerns, Pumped Hydro decided to file an alternative (yet equally problematic) proposal for a hydro development on Big Canyon, a tributary of the Little Colorado River. The Big Canyon project permit application has been accepted into the Federal Energy Regulation Commission’s (FERC) registrar, initiating a public comment period on the project ending August 1 and we need members of the paddling community to step up and make their voices heard!

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American Whitewater Analysis–National Monument Reductions

Evan Stafford

American Whitewater sprang out of the need to rally our community around our shared love for whitewater, to protect, restore and celebrate the rivers that have given us so much. When the President of the United States, announced his intentions to reduce in size Bears Ears National Monument by 85% and Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument by nearly half, we wanted to first see how the new borders would affect the protections these Monuments afforded several spectacular whitewater resources within their current boundaries. Read on to see how the Lower San Juan and several other rivers are affected. 

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Last Chance! National Monuments Review Comments

Thomas O'Keefe

Take action today using our easy online form to protect National Monuments designated under the Antiquities Act! A public comment period began on May 12th and ends July 10th for an April 26th Executive Order which directed Interior Secretary Zinke to conduct a review of all Presidential designations over the past 21 years. A number of Monuments being reviewed are of significant interest to paddlers and provide protections for cherished whitewater stretches, including Bears Ears (Lower San Juan River, UT), Grand Canyon-Parashant (Colorado River, Grand Canyon, AZ), Giant Sequoia National Monument (Tule River, CA), Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument (East Branch of the Penobscot River, ME), Rio Grande del Norte National Monument (Rio Grande, Taos Boxes, NM) and many more.


Kestrel Kunz


Tim Kelley


Thomas O'Keefe


Matt Muir


Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1208052 07/15/17 Kestrel Kunz
1211420 03/13/19 Tim Kelley updated description
1211421 03/13/19 Tim Kelley updated description
1211424 03/13/19 Tim Kelley directions to the river
1211426 03/13/19 Tim Kelley updated permit
1211427 03/13/19 Tim Kelley updated image position
1211422 03/13/19 Tim Kelley updated stats
1211423 03/13/19 Tim Kelley updated description
1211425 03/13/19 Tim Kelley updated description
1211428 03/13/19 Tim Kelley updated image position
1211429 03/13/19 Tim Kelley updated image position
1211430 03/13/19 Tim Kelley updated image position
1207888 07/07/17 Thomas O'Keefe minor edits
1194320 12/28/05 n/a n/a