The Paria is one of the most popular destinations for canyoneering in the region. Buckskin Gulch, a side canyon along the river in the narrows section, is considered to be one of the longest and deepest slot canyons in the United States. The Paria is also home to a number of important historical, geological and biological resources. Lees Ferry and the adjoining settlement are located within the canyon just upstream of the confluence with the Colorado River, with a number of other abandoned settlements further north. The Paria and several nearby rivers and canyons also are the site of several well-preserved specimens of Native American petroglyphs, prehistoric drawings and symbols carved into stone. The Paria boasts a vibrant desert riparian habitat that is home to a number of sensitive and endangered species, and is also the location of Wrather Arch, the longest natural arch outside of Utah (although this claim may be superseded by Aloba Arch).
Paria Canyon was the site for a number of western movie sets from the 1940s to the 1970s. Among the movies filmed at this site were The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976), Sergeants 3 (1962), and Buffalo Bill (1944). The old film set in the canyon was a popular attraction but was damaged in a flash flood in 1998. The buildings were dismantled and rebuilt in a nearby location by volunteers. In 2006 these new buildings were destroyed in a suspicious fire.