MapTopoQuest topographic map of Starlight Canyon
- the narrows are southwest of '34'.
The first objective is to walk up the Paria River valley for 4.5 miles to the junction with Kitchen Creek on the left; the narrows of Starlight Canyon are a further 1.5 miles upstream along Kitchen Canyon. The main valley is little changing along the way, a half mile wide corridor of mud flats and pebble deposits with scattered patches of bushes and reeds, in the middle of which (for most of the year) flows the muddy water of the Paria, generally just a few inches deep. The sloping valley sides are made of highly colored, stripy layers of the Chinle formation, with vertical red cliffs of Moenave sandstone above.
The river needs to be crossed several times, as it flows round a few wide bends then enters a long straight section, passing two pairs of unnamed side canyons, later becoming more overgrown, wooded and a little narrower approaching the Kitchen Creek tributary. This too has a permanent stream flowing down, its waters red-brown in color, quite different to the usually light brown clayish water of the Paria.
Kitchen has a narrower, more entrenched canyon and hiking is easiest right in the sandy streambed. Starlight Canyon joins from the west after about 20 minutes walking while the main drainage soon reaches 40 foot Kitchen Falls, where the creek tumbles over a cliff onto a mass of boulders, a blockage which may be passed if desired by walking up a steep slope on the right hand side. Starlight Canyon soon becomes narrow and quite enclosed, the surrounding cliffs now higher and more vertical. The narrows begin with a wide curve leading into a straight, dark section and ends in several upward steps through cascades and shallow pools, then beyond, as before, is quite an open ravine bordered by thin ledgy strata that continues for several more miles and becomes gradually shallower. Starlight is a pleasant enough canyon, not really that special, but the clear stream running through the slot section makes it more interesting. The hike to here from the end of the Paria road takes about 5 hours round trip.