- Shelby Dominski
Hiking: Coyote Buttes North (The Wave) & Coyote Buttes South Lottery
If you are visiting Page, AZ, Northern Arizona, or Southern Utah, I highly recommend trying the lottery for Coyote Buttes North (The Wave) and/or Coyote Buttes South. These hikes are on the border of Arizona and Utah. This was my favorite hike to date!
I won the permit lottery for Coyote Buttes South and it was incredible.
To access either of these hikes you must have a permit. I heard the fine for going without a permit is $1,000 and you must show up in court in Flagstaff so I would not try to risk it if I were you. There are two options to obtain a one – the online lottery where you register four months+ in advance and the walk-in lottery where you put your name in a lottery system to hike the following day. The online lottery costs $9 just to enter (even if you don't get chosen) and the walk-in lottery is free to enter but costs between $5-$7 (cash or check only) per person if you win.
The North hike (The Wave) is what is on the windows screensaver and what you probably have seen images of already. It is an extremely popular spot for photographers and can be said to be one of the most beautiful hikes in the United States. The South is underrated and a much easier permit to get – only for the fact that more people know about the North. The locals say that the South is actually more beautiful and has so much more to see.
Here is how the walk-in lottery system works:
Location: Kanab Center Gymnasium – 180 E 100 North Kanab, UT (check the blm.gov website for more up to date information)
For Coyote Buttes North, they award permits to sixteen people or four groups (whichever comes first) per day by a name drawing system. The permits are for the next day and the maximum group size is six people. Doors open at 8:30am (Utah time) for entering and the winners are drawn promptly at 9am. It was hard to judge how many people actually entered based on the fact that you can fill the form out for up to six people, but there were at least fifty people in the room for the drawing, so chances were low of getting a permit but not impossible. Unfortunately, I did not get picked for this lottery on either of the two days I tried.
For Coyote Buttes South, they award permits to ten people or four groups (whichever comes first) per day by a name drawing system as well. The details are the same as above except they start the drawing system at 9:30am and winners are drawn promptly at 10am. I won this lottery on my first try! There were about twenty people in the room, so it was easier to get a permit, but I was lucky to have gotten one because some people did not. The one caveat to the South is that you must have a four-wheel drive vehicle to access the road that you start hiking from. Since I did not, I decided to hire a tour company. Luckily, I found another group of two people to do the tour with since all the tour companies I called would not take singles.
It just so happened that I ended up booking with a tour company called Paria Outpost and Outfitters located in Kanab, UT (very close to Coyote Buttes & Buckskin Gultch). Steve was our tour guide and it turned out he was also a Dead Head (fan of the Grateful Dead) so we had a lot in common! I would highly recommend going with Paria for a tour of South Coyotes (or White Pocket or any other hard to access hike) because it is extremely helpful to have someone showing you around the main areas as well as the secret spots and it is easy to get lost!
Here are some photos from my trip to the South area, which was truly spectacular:
I hope this article helped you in your travels and I hope you win the lottery for the North or South are of Coyote Butte! Leave a comment below if you have been to either and what your experience was. I would love to hear from you.