37.0425° N, 112.5122° W

 

Once a well-kept secret among hikers in Arizona, now a famous must-see for many. The Wave rock formation is located at the Utah-Arizona border, in the Paria Canyon-Vermillion Cliffs Wilderness. To get to this unique sandstone rock formation, it requires a physically demanding hike with extreme heat, deep sand, and loose rocks. However, that’s not even the hardest part about getting to this spectacular site. Being one of the 20 people allowed per day is the real challenge. To preserve and protect the environment, the Bureau of Land Management restricts access to the Wave to only 20 visitors a day.

 

 

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Photo by @betterthanamortgage

 

In 2018, more than 200,000 applications for permits were submitted. To get a permit, you can apply for the lottery online or in person. They say the odds are better if you show up to the Kanab visitor center for the daily drawing, but with more than 200 people applying in person a day, chances are slim. Don’t let that discourage you. As they say ” anything worth having is worth working hard for.” The Bureau of Land Management has provided a lot of information on how to obtain a permit as well as tips on what you should know before starting your hike.

 

 

Photo by @followtiffsjourney

Things BLM wants you to know before starting your hike:

  • Advance permits are required for day use. There is no overnight camping allowed in the Coyote Buttes permit area.
  • Day-use permits are available on-line here, and as walk-in permits at the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument Visitor Center in Kanab, Utah, the day before you wish to hike.
  • Campfires are prohibited.
  • Dogs are allowed. They must be kept under control at all times and you must pack out their waste.
  • Successful Coyote Buttes North permit applicants will receive a map and directions to “The Wave”.
  • A valid government issued I.D. is required upon permit pick-up.
  • Group size cannot exceed six in the same permit area on the same day.
  • Use of public land for business or financial gain requires a special permit.
  • Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), Unmanned aerial systems (UAS), or Drones are aircraft as defined by the Federal Aviation Administration, and are therefore not allowed to take off or land in BLM wilderness areas. 43 CFR 6302.20
  • If during your hike, your permit is inspected by BLM representatives, you may be asked to present a government issued I.D. for permit verification.

 

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Photo by @travisburkephotography

 

 

FAQ with Kanab Visitor Center

Do I need a permit?

A permit is required for hiking in Coyote Buttes North and South. Coyote Buttes North fees are $7.00 per person per day and per dog per day. Coyote Buttes South fees are $5.00 per person per day. If you take your dog into Coyote Buttes South, the fee is $5.00 per dog, per day.

Can I obtain a self-pay permit at the trailhead/access point?

No.  Self-pay permits are only valid for day use within Buckskin Gulch, Paria Canyon and Wire Pass. These permits do not give you access to Coyote Buttes North or South to include “The Wave”. Permits for Coyote Buttes North and South must be purchased in advance, either on-line or as a walk-in.

How do I obtain a permit online?

Permits for day hiking in Coyote Buttes can be obtained online here. For Coyote Buttes North, you will need to enter the lottery to obtain a permit four months in advance. Detailed lottery information can be found below. If you are planning a trip less than three months in advance, you have two options: you can check the calendar on the permit page to see if any slots are available, or you can try to obtain a walk-in permit.

For Coyote Buttes South, on-line permits can be obtained using the calendar option only. You can obtain a permit up to four months in advance. If you are planning a trip less than four months in advance, you have two options: you can check the calendar on the permit page to see if any slots are available, or you can try to obtain a walk-in permit the day before you wish to hike. Permits for new hikes are made available at 12 p.m. Mountain Standard Time (MST-Utah) or Mountain Daylight Time (MDT-Utah), depending on the time of year. See schedule below for details.

If you are unable to access the permit pages, you will need to change your security settings to accommodate BLM secure web page requirements. Click “Tools” on the menu bar, then click “Internet Options”, “Advanced” tab and then scroll down to the Security Section and check the box “Use TLS 1.0”. Click “OK”, then try the permit page again.

How many permits are issued online?

Half of the available daily slots for Coyote Buttes North and Coyote Buttes South are issued online. The total number of permits will vary by group size, but the total available slots for each area is 20 persons per day. Ten are issued online. The other ten are issued as walk-in permits.

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photo by @faiththefinalfrontier

 

Why is there a lottery and how does it work?

Coyote Buttes North is an internationally renowned hiking destination. In order to make it fair for everyone who wishes to visit, a lottery system has been put in place. (Coyote Buttes South is still on the calendar system) The lottery works like this:

  • You can apply up to four months in advance.
  • You have an entire month to apply.
  • You can apply for up to three entry dates per application. If you are a successful applicant you will only be authorized one trip.
  • There is a non-refundable $5 administrative fee to apply per application.
  • You will be notified on the first of the month via e-mail whether your application was successful or not.
  • See the “Lottery Example” below for a more detailed explanation.

Lottery Example

Let’s say you wanted to visit Coyote Buttes North in April. Here is the procedure you would follow.

  • Go to the Permit Page between Dec. 1 and Dec. 31.
  • Follow the directions, choosing up to three possible entry dates. If successful, you will only be authorized one date.
  • You will be notified via e-mail the first day in January whether your lottery application was successful or not. If you do not receive a notification, please call the number at the bottom of the page to see if you were selected.  Some emails do not work with the system.  It is your responsibility to check.  Do not miss the cut off of the 15th of the month.
  • After being notified, you will have 14 calendar days to pay for your permit. You can pay online with your credit card. Your e-mail notification will contain a link to a secure web page, where you can go to pay and submit the remainder of your trip information.
  • Your permit will be mailed to you four to six weeks after you have paid your fees, unless you chose the option to pick it up in Kanab, St. George, or the Paria Contact Station when you filled out your permit application.

What are the odds of getting a permit online?

Permits for Coyote Buttes South are usually available. If you enter the online lottery for Coyote Buttes North “The Wave”, attempting to obtain a permit for April-June and September-November, the odds were about 4-5% for 2013. For other months (off-season), the odds vary from 8% (August) -25% (January).

How do I obtain a walk-in permit?

If you missed the online lottery and are visiting the Southern Utah/Northern Arizona area, you can obtain a walk-in permit for Coyote Buttes North “The Wave” and Coyote Buttes South at the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument Visitor Center in Kanab, Utah. From mid-March to Mid November, walk-in permits can be obtained seven (7) days a week. From mid-November through mid-March, walk-in permits are issued Monday-Friday, except for federal holidays (including Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, and President’s Day). During this time, permits for Saturday-Monday are drawn on Friday. Please call the number at the bottom of this page if you have any questions about the walk-in permit process.

 

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Photo by 1963kag

 

Walk-in permit procedures:

  • For Coyote Buttes North “The Wave”, be at 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. For permits to Coyote Buttes South, be at the same location and submit your application between 9:30-10:00 a.m. The lotteries for Coyote Buttes North and Coyote Buttes South will run at 9 a.m. and 10 a.m., respectively.
  • Walk-in permits must be paid with either cash or by checks. No credit cards can be accepted.
  • Only one person per group may enter the drawing.  If more than one member from your group submits an application, your group will be disqualified from the lottery.
  • If you receive a walk-in permit, you must wait two weeks before you can re-enter the drawing.
  • Permit holders may be required to show their government issued I.D.

Walk-in Permit Example 

  • Three groups show up on a Tuesday. One group of six and two groups of four
  • A drawing is held with one potential permit being available for each group
  • If the group of six and the group of four are successful, all ten slots are filled
  • If the two groups of four are successful, there are still two slots remaining, and the group of six is then faced with a difficult decision, because only two of their party can receive a permit.

Some people have tried to circumvent the process by having more than one person in their group enter the drawing. This is dishonest and unfair to those who follow the rules. Please respect your fellow hikers and the BLM staff.  If more than one member from your group submits an application, your group will be disqualified from the lottery.

Is it possible to get a permit without buying it in advance?

No. But it is possible to get a walk-in permit one day in advance at the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument Visitor Center in Kanab, Utah (see previous instructions for walk-in permits).

Are there overnight permits?

No. Coyote Buttes is a day-use area only. There is no water available and there are no areas that cannot be reached in a day hike, so it would not be a good overnight destination.

Am I limited to one trip per year?

No, however, each trip requires a separate application and payment of fees.

Am I limited to one trip per month?

Using the lottery system, you are limited to one trip per month. If you obtain a permit using the calendar, you can obtain as many permits as there are available, but each must be purchased individually. If you obtain a walk-in permit, you cannot obtain another for two weeks.

 

Photo by @alex.kereszti

 

Are there limits on the total number of people per day in Coyote Buttes?

Yes. We allow 20 people per day into both Coyote Buttes North and Coyote Buttes South. This is a cumulative total from all trailheads/access points.

What is the group size limit?

No more than six persons per group. Everyone, regardless of age, must be included in the overnight permit.  This includes infants that are not walking.

How many groups may enter per day?

The number of groups is not limited. However, group size is limited to six and the combined trailhead/access point entry is no more than 20 persons per day for each area.

Once I have my permit, can I change dates or group size?

Yes, but you are limited in what you can do. A date change requires a $30 fee and available hiking slots on the current hiking availability calendars. A group size increase is handled by obtaining a new permit for the additional group members, keeping in mind that you cannot exceed the group size limit.

  • Permits are non-refundable and non-transferable.
  • If you need to cancel your trip you can cancel the permit by mailing it back to the St. George, Utah office at:  345 E. Riverside Drive, St. George, Utah 84790.  Once the permit is received, the trip will be canceled and the permit returned to the calendar.

How long will it take to get my permit after I make my purchase?

Permits will be mailed out four to six weeks after you have paid your fees, unless you selected the option to pick it up in person.

If you applied for a permit using the lottery, you will be notified whether you were successful or not on the first day of the following month. For instance, if you apply for a lottery application in July for the month of November, you will be notified via e-mail on August 1.

 

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photo by @davidgarciabarber

 

Are commercial guide permits available?

The BLM Arizona Strip and Kanab Field Offices authorize special recreation permits for commercial guide services.

Do the required permits apply to the entire wilderness?

Permit fees are charged for the Coyote Buttes North and South, Buckskin Gulch, Wire Pass and overnight Paria Canyon permit areas only. The surrounding areas are open to use without permits or limits.

Are permit fees required?

Yes. Permit fees must be paid in advance to permit authorization for each visitor.  There are no special fee considerations for Coyote Buttes North or Coyote Buttes South areas.

What are the fees?

  • $5.00 per person per day for Coyote Buttes South and $7.00 per person per day for Coyote Buttes North. There is a non-refundable $5 application fee for the Coyote Buttes North lottery.
  • Permits are non-refundable and non-transferable.
  • If you need to cancel your trip, you can cancel the permit by mailing it back to the St. George, Utah office at:  345 E. Riverside Drive, St. George, Utah  84790.  Once the permit is received, the trip will be canceled and the permit returned to the calendar.

Does my America the Beautiful Pass give me a discount on permit fees?

No. America the Beautiful Passes passes are only accepted for entrance fees to areas such as National Parks or some National Conservation areas. Special Recreation Permits for Coyote Buttes and Paria Canyon are NOT part of the America the Beautiful Pass program.

Where do I pay my fees?

Fees for online permits can only be paid by credit card. Fees for permits issued by phone can be paid by credit card or check mailed to the BLM Arizona Strip District Office; checks must be received before a permit application is authorized and a permit number is issued.

 Can I get a “raincheck” after I pay my fees?

No. Permits are non-refundable and non-transferable. “Rainchecks” cannot be issued for any reason. We apologize for the inconvenience.

 

Photo by @jetblue

 


Artem Kam

Artem Kam is the Founder of THE LORES Magazine and THE LORE CO. At the age of 18, he moved to Greenland, where his passion for adventure, travel, and storytelling began. After living in the arctic tundra of Northern Greenland, he moved to the secluded Azores Islands, the archipelago islands of Portugal. Next, his journey took him to mainland Europe, where he spent three years living in Amsterdam and traveling the continent. He is now based in Los Angeles, where he runs The Lore brands while continuing to pursue his passion for adventure, traveling, photography, and storytelling.

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