[highlight color=”black”]WEDNESDAY WANDERLUST[/highlight]
Celebrities have descended upon Park City, Utah this week for the Sundance Film Festival, bringing attention to a state that is mostly known for a big salty lake and a kooky TLC show about polygamy. Needless to say, this is a great time of year to visit the Beehive State, as drunken celebs are annually wont to get hammered and mingle with the common folk after a long day of promoting films. But what about travelers who aren’t interested in seeing a 30 Rock star faceplant at an awards ceremony?
Lucky for them, Utah is also a hotbed of natural wonders. For instance, did you know that the state has the largest concentration of slot canyons in the world? If you are unfamiliar with what a slot canyon is, take a look at the gallery below (or watch this video in which Britney Spears meanders through one in a midriff-baring peasant top):
Like what you see? Those stunning shots are from Buckskin Gulch, the deepest, longest slot canyon in the United States (and some say the world). Open to visitors from late spring to fall, this narrow pass is a popular destination for hardcore hiking enthusiasts and the geologically-inclined tourist alike. If you’re up for a little adventure this spring, we suggest you pack up your camping gear and head to the Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs National Wilderness along the border of Utah and Arizona, where you can obtain a hiking permit and start exploring the Gulch.
Though it isn’t the most picturesque slot canyon in Utah (try Water Holes Canyon for something a little more colorful), Buckskin is said to be one of the best for hiking because it offers the out-of-this-world scenery of a slot canyon without many of the treacherous obstacles that plague other canyons like it. The only pressing danger is the fact that Buckskin is prone to flooding after large storms, and is often closed for days following heavy rains. But hey, who’s afraid of a little flash flood?
Another Debbie Downer note: this canyon is over 13 miles long, so if you’re not physically or mentally fit enough to hoof a half marathon in a claustrophobia-inducing space, this Wednesday Wanderlust getaway is probably not for you. It’s okay — we’re not judging you that much.
Whether you’re a rugged outdoorsman looking for a challenge or just a fair weather hiker who wants to see some pretty rocks, you should follow this checklist to make sure that your time in Buckskin Gulch is as enjoyable as possible. And if you get too tired to continue hiking while you’re down there, remember these motivational words: if Britney Spears could “hike” a slot canyon in a lace top and bell bottoms, you can surely do it, too.