KANAB’S COYOTE BUTTES: NORTH VS SOUTH?
Kanab, Utah is a small town located in the southwestern corner of the state. Despite its size, it is a mecca for outdoor enthusiasts. One of the main attractions in the area is Coyote Buttes, a scenic wonderland of sandstone formations, hoodoos, and unique rock formations. However, Coyote Buttes is not a single location, but rather a region with two distinct areas: North and South. In this article, we will explore the differences between these two areas and discuss the best ways to explore them, whether by hiking or ATV travel.
North Coyote Buttes
North Coyote Buttes is located in the Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness, which spans across the Utah-Arizona border. The area is accessible via a dirt road that leads to a trailhead. From there, visitors must obtain a permit from the Bureau of Land Management to enter the area. The permit system is highly competitive, with only a limited number of permits available each day.
Once inside North Coyote Buttes, visitors are greeted with a stunning landscape of swirling sandstone formations, arches, and hoodoos. The most famous feature of North Coyote Buttes is “The Wave,” a striking sandstone formation that draws visitors from around the world. The Wave is a challenging hike, with no defined trail and only a small sign marking the entrance. Visitors must have a good sense of direction and navigation skills — or a skilled guide — to find it.
While The Wave is the most well-known feature of North Coyote Buttes, there are plenty of other sights to see in the area. The hike to The Wave is just over six miles round trip, but visitors can easily spend an entire day exploring the surrounding formations. Many of these formations have been given playful names, such as the “Second Wave,” “Top Rock Arch,” and “Melody Arch.”
Hiking is the only way to explore North Coyote Buttes, as motorized vehicles are not allowed in the area. Visitors are required to pack in all of their food, water, and supplies, as there are no facilities or services available inside the wilderness area.
South Coyote Buttes
South Coyote Buttes, also known as Cottonwood Cove, is located further south than its northern counterpart. The area is accessed via a dirt road that leads to a parking area. From there, visitors can either hike or take an ATV tour to explore the area. Unlike North Coyote Buttes, no permits are required to enter South Coyote Buttes.
The landscape of South Coyote Buttes is similar to that of North Coyote Buttes, with sandstone formations, arches, and hoodoos. However, South Coyote Buttes has a slightly different feel, with more open spaces and fewer crowds. Visitors can explore the area on foot, or take an ATV tour for a faster and more adventurous experience.
ATV travel in Coyote Buttes
ATV travel is a popular way to explore the Coyote Buttes region, especially in South Coyote Buttes. There are several companies in the area that offer guided ATV tours of the region. These tours are a great way to cover more ground and see more of the area in a shorter amount of time.
However, it’s important to note that ATV travel is not allowed in North Coyote Buttes. The area is protected under the Wilderness Act, which prohibits the use of motorized vehicles. Visitors who attempt to enter North Coyote Buttes on ATVs risk receiving a fine and damaging the delicate ecosystem of the area.
For those who do choose to take an ATV tour in South Coyote Buttes, it’s important to follow the rules and regulations set forth by the Bureau of Land Management. ATVs are only allowed on designated roads and trails, and visitors must stay on established paths to avoid damaging the fragile desert environment. Additionally, visitors should always wear appropriate safety gear, such as helmets and protective clothing, and follow the instructions of their tour guide.
Hiking in Coyote Buttes
For those who prefer a more leisurely and environmentally-friendly approach, hiking is the best way to explore Coyote Buttes. Both North and South Coyote Buttes offer challenging and rewarding hikes, with stunning vistas and unique rock formations to discover.
When hiking in Coyote Buttes, it’s important to come prepared. Visitors should bring plenty of water, as there are no sources of water in the area. Additionally, visitors should wear sturdy, comfortable shoes and dress appropriately for the desert heat. It’s also a good idea to bring a map and compass or GPS device, as the trails can be difficult to follow in some areas.
Visitors to North Coyote Buttes should also be aware of the permit system and plan ahead accordingly. Permits can be difficult to obtain, and visitors should apply well in advance to ensure they have a spot.
Which area to choose?
So, which area of Coyote Buttes is the best to explore: North or South? The answer depends on personal preference and travel style.
North Coyote Buttes is known for its iconic formations, including The Wave, and offers a more challenging hiking experience. However, visitors must obtain a permit and be prepared for a more remote and rugged environment.
South Coyote Buttes, on the other hand, is more accessible and less crowded. ATV tours are available for those who want a faster and more adventurous experience, but there are also plenty of hiking trails for those who want to explore on foot.
Ultimately, both areas of Coyote Buttes offer stunning natural beauty and unique geological formations. Whether you choose to hike or take an ATV tour, you’re sure to have an unforgettable experience in this breathtaking region of Utah.
Explore Coyote Buttes with Expedition Kanab
Enjoying an outdoor adventure with Expedition Kanab is truly a unique and unforgettable experience. Our expeditions have been designed to let you discover some of the most incredible sights in nature while leaving lasting memories that you will never forget. At Expedition Kanab, we take great pride in the quality of our excursions, organization and programs so you know that no matter what, you’re sure to have an enjoyable exploration and an amazing journey!