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Thursday, December 22, 2011

Hiking Coyote Buttes North and The Wave

The last place we visited on our southern Utah trip was "The Wave".  Actually, visiting The Wave was the purpose we planned the trip.  The BLM limits access to Coyote Buttes very tightly and tickets are hard to come by.  Only 20 people are allowed to visit each day, and the permits are divided into 2 groups.  Ten of the tickets are won through a lottery system 4 months in advance.  The other ten tickets are given out at the Kanab Ranger Station each morning. 
I had seen countless pictures of the wave and Coyote Buttes North, but the lottery permit system was daunting and troublesome.  In my mind getting a permit was not worth the jumping through all of the hoops. 
In November, somehow a few permits became available and I was able to snatch them up.  Bo-Yah!  With the permits, the BLM sends a detailed hiking map that also stresses that the route is for experienced hikers only.  With the level of detail in the hiking directions, clearly the BLM's definition of 'experienced' is considerably different than my own. 
We arrived at the trailhead about 9 AM and had a leisurely hike to the Wave.  My GPS showed 2.87 miles one way.  Most of the route is hiking across sandstone slabs, and although there are some ups and downs, generally it's a pretty flat hike- except at the end.  The last 200 yards is a moderately steep climb up a hill of sand, and right at the top is the wave.
WOW!  This place is pretty much a photographer's dream.   Even if you're an amateur photographer like I am (see the overexposed foreground in the picture above), it would take some serious bungling to not come away with several great pictures. 
We spend quite a while exploring and taking pictures.  It's amazingly beautiful, but also is a very localized area.  After visiting, I am able to understand why the access is so restricted.  Open access would leave the Wave completely overrun with visitors. 
I enjoyed some of the larger scenes, but also the fine detailing in the sandstone as well.  Enjoy the pictures. 

We thought about visiting "The Wave 2" further into Coyote Buttes, but my wife wasn't quite feeling up to it as it was her first major hike after giving birth in October.  I can't say I blame her!  She wasn't going to be left out of this one, and we definitely took it at a slower pace, but it was definitely a fantastic first big hike for #2. 
On the way out, we stopped and looked over a trailcam that's bolted to a steel post on the south of the trail.  It's off in the brush a few hundred yards after climbing the first hill on the way in.  If you notice it be sure to go and get a few good mugshots for the BLM Rangers to enjoy! 

Nearest City: Kanab, UT and Page, AZ
Location: N° W°
Time Needed: 5 hours
Difficulty: Moderate-
Kid Friendly: Yes
Additional Info: BLM Coyote Buttes Permit Area

1 comment:

  1. NIce! I too am turned off by the red tape, but would secretly love to visit...