What conditions should I expect in Coyote Buttes?
The best preparation for this hike is to follow the recommendations listed below and to stop by the Paria Contact Station before beginning your hike. Personnel at the Contact Station will have the latest information on road and hiking conditions in Coyote Buttes.
Hiking in Coyote Buttes means walking in sand and on sandstone. The terrain is rarely level and there is no trail. Bring sturdy, lightweight shoes that are appropriate for hiking on rough, rocky terrain. Many experienced hikers prefer a pair of lightweight trail runners. High quality synthetic or wool-blend socks will protect your feet from becoming tender due to the sand that accumulates in your shoes.
Plan on packing gear for a typical desert day hike. If you are unsure about what to bring, please review our recommended hiking gear list.
Please review the following question and answers before planning your trip.
How far is it to the "Wave" from Wire Pass?
About three miles (4.8 kilometers) one-way, over varied terrain. Expect sand, rocks and some short steep sections. How fast you travel depends on several factors: the size of your group; the fitness level of your slowest member; and the pace you wish to travel (quick or leisurely).
How far is it to the "Wave" from The Notch?
It depends on which route you take, but about the same distance as Wire Pass. The terrain is much more difficult and it will take you at least twice as long. Make sure you are confident in your backcountry navigation skills before attempting this route.
Is it really that difficult to drive to the Paw Hole and Cottonwood Cove access points?
Yes. Four-wheel drive is mandatory, as are topographic maps. You must be good at land navigation using USGS topographic maps and have superb deep sand driving skills. If you really want to see these areas, but don't want the stress, consider hiring one of our approved guides.
What is the overall difficulty level of hikes in Coyote Buttes?
It depends on where you begin your hike, where you're going, and the time of year. Most reasonably fit people can make it to the Wave and back without much difficulty. Anything beyond that requires a higher fitness level.
Summertime temperatures can easily reach 100F (37.7C). The sandstone that comprises the area absorbs this heat and radiates it, making the temperature on the ground even hotter. Extreme temperatures can make hiking conditions dangerous, and these conditions can exist anytime between April and October.
What about drinking water?
This is a desert environment, so plan on at least one gallon (3.75 liters) of drinking water per person, per day to avoid dehydration. There is no water in Coyote Buttes. Bring enough for everyone in your party for the entire day.
Coyote Buttes is not a slot canyon, should I worry about flash floods?
Weather is always a concern in the desert. If your hike begins at Wire Pass, the first half-mile is in the Wire Pass drainage. If a storm develops and a flash flood situation is created, get to the highest and safest point possible.
The biggest weather concern in Coyote Buttes is getting to the trailheads/access points. In wet conditions, House Rock Valley Road can be impassable. At one point, the Buckskin Gulch drainage crosses the road, creating dangerous driving conditions. Don't take chances. Help can take a long time to arrive.
Prepare for extreme weather by obtaining current weather information from the Paria Contact Station and the National Weather Service. Flash floods occur primarily in the summer rainy season. It is better to cancel your trip than risk getting caught. Flash floods can be fatal. Always notify someone of your expected departure and arrival dates. Between March 15 and November 15, the Paria Contact Station will have the latest condition reports and invaluable local knowledge-stop there before beginning your hike, otherwise contact the Kanab Field Office at (435) 644-4600 or the Arizona Strip District Office at (435) 688-3246.
Can I take my dog?
Yes. Dogs are currently permitted in Coyote Buttes on a conditional basis. This use is being monitored. Your dog must be kept under control at all times. You must pack out your dog's waste.
Who can I call for additional hiking information?
BLM Kanab Field Office (435) 644-4600, Monday thru Friday, 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. MST (Utah), except holidays.
BLM Arizona Strip District Office at (435) 688-3246, Monday thru Friday, 7:45 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. MST (Utah), except holidays.
Why aren't there any signs in Coyote Buttes?
There are no established trails in Coyote Buttes North or South. Since this is a wilderness area, the minimum amount of signs are used in order to preserve the area's wild and remote character. If you receive a permit to Coyote Buttes North, you will be given a maps and directions to the "Wave" along with your permit.
How come there are cows in the wilderness?
Cattle have been grazing in wilderness areas since before they were designated by Congress. The BLM manages land for multiple use and at times, livestock are present in the wilderness. "Within wilderness areas, the grazing of livestock, where established prior to designation, shall be permitted to continue subject to such reasonable regulations as are deemed necessary by the Secretary." (S4.)(d.)(4.), Wilderness Act of 1964.
Can I ride my ATV, mountain bike, or use my hang glider?
No. These and other motorized vehicles and mechanized equipment are specifically prohibited by the Wilderness Act and BLM wilderness management policy.