Getting to the North Coyote Buttes is a real challenge. I tried to get a permit to visit this jewel for three consecutive years. Every beginning of the month I applied for a permit to be again disappointed. Persistence is the keyword.
The problem is that you apply for a permit and there is a limited number of allowed visitors per day. The reason for the limitation is to minimize the human impact on the fragile soil. Permits are not granted via first come first serve but through a lottery system. Probably half of the entire landscape photographer world community participates in this monthly process in the attempt to get a ticket to the Holy Grail. There are sometimes more than 1,000 applicants a month but only ten will get a permit.
You might be asking yourself is it really worth it hiking to the North Coyote Buttes? It is! On my hike back from ‘The Wave’ to my car I already knew that I need to return to this place. In the meantime I was lucky enough to visit North Coyote Buttes four times.
Contrary to all my other travelogues I will not provide you with the ‘Getting There’ instructions. First of all you need a permit and once you get it the BLM office will send you very detailed hiking instructions. Be advised to have these instructions with you when you start hiking. The trail is not marked. The instructions go along with a descriptive and pictorial hand-out, so that you will not get lost in the wilderness. I cannot stress this enough. People already got lost and died out there, because they were not able to find their way out there!
I will provide you with the information of how to apply for the permit and once you get it, you will receive all the required informations from the BLM office to access it. However, if you are lucky enough to get a permit there will several attractions at North Coyote Buttes. The Wave is only one of many. BLM will not give you knowledge of these spots. These “secret” locations are worthwhile to be seen and photographed. Here is a quick list with description were they are and how get to them (in edition):
How to apply for a North Coyote Buttes permit:
There are two ways to apply and get a permit.
Online: Follow the instructions posted at the site. You will enter your data for a permit 4 months ahead of your desired trip.
If you were not lucky to get a permit online and you are in the area, there is still a glimmer of hope. You can try to get a walk-in permit. The total number of permits being issued varies by group size, but there is a total of 20 slots per day, 10 permits are given away online and the other as walk-in. To apply for this walk-in permit you need to go to the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument Visitor Center in Kanab, Utah (745 E. Highway 89 in Kanab Utah across from Walkers gas station and Wendy’s restaurant) from 8:30-9 a.m. Mountain Standard Time -Utah- (9am Daylight Savings Time in summer) to submit your application. The drawing is NOT first come first served. It is again a lottery system. The permit will be for the next day.
For further details on this lottery system, either online or walk-in, you might want to read the BLM Vermilion Cliffs National Monument – Paria Canyon/ Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness webpage, as the rules get updated from time to time.
Last update: August 11, 2017