The Wave & Coyote Buttes

Unrivaled in beauty, the Coyote Buttes in the Vermilion Cliffs National Monument contain some of the most intricate and beautifully colored rock formations on the planet. The area is divided into two parts, the North Coyote Buttes and the South Coyote Buttes. Both areas require a permit from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) which allows only twenty people per day to enter each area. Ten permits are issued by online lottery, three months in advance, and ten daily walk-in lottery permits for the next day. The North Coyote Buttes is famous for The Wave formation but is the most difficult to obtain permits for, due to the lottery process and high demand. It is a six-mile hike to the Wave, three miles in and three miles out.

We offer guided tours to The Wave or North Coyote Buttes and will also visit beautiful places that others don’t usually see, including the Boneyard, the Second Wave, the dinosaur tracks, and a trip into the Wire Pass Slot Canyon and Buckskin Gulch.

We offer guided tours to South Coyote Buttes that include both Paw Hole and the Cottonwood Cove areas and also include a visit to White Pocket area as well. Check out the photos from the tour in the National Geographic February 2012 issue, taken by the photographer who was guided in 2010 into each area.


South Coyote Buttes:

The South Coyote Buttes require less walking and rivals the North area in beauty, as well as being much larger and more diverse. There are two destinations in the South Coyote Buttes: Cottonwood Cove and Paw Hole. The Lone Tree area is only a parking spot if you don’t have a 4-wheel-drive vehicle, and is a long walk up a sandy road even to see the ‘tip of the iceberg.' Your tour to the South Coyote Buttes will visit all areas, concentrating more on the Cottonwood Cove area, which is the most colorful. It will show you the best of South Coyote Buttes, which we know very well. If you have already been to South Coyote Buttes, we have a Further Tour which will visit another area of the South, that is, as yet, not so well-known.

The Paw Hole area of the South Coyote Buttes is not as colorful as the Cottonwood Cove area but one could spend an entire day there and see beautiful areas as well.

Our tours to South Coyote Buttes can include a trip to White Pocket, another extremely beautiful area where no permit is required. Between the three areas there is a lot to see and the tour usually lasts about 9 hours (8am – 5pm) or so, and includes lunch, water, and cold drinks.

The Wave or North Coyote Buttes:

Our tour to the North Coyote Buttes is the same time wise, (10 hours), however we are willing to customize any tours to fit your needs. We will attempt to show you as much as possible, while allowing time for optimum photo opportunities. We will work at the speed of the group. We go at your pace with the goal being to enjoy the day, see as much of the area as you wish, and to take home wonderful memories and world-class photographs.

We can also arrange an overnight shuttle to the South Coyote Buttes area for a camp-out and pick you up the next day for the tour. Although Coyote Buttes is day use only, you are allowed to camp in the parking area outside the wilderness boundary or at the nearby campground. We can provide multi-day tours and overnight camp-outs for professional and amateur photographers.

BLM Permits
You are required to obtain your own permit from the government. The online process for North Coyote Buttes is a random lottery process. You must file an application online and pay a fee 4 months in advance, then you will be notified if you are a successful winner in the permit lottery after the 1st of the month, 3 months beforehand. Each person (and dog) needs a permit, group size maximum is 6. As licensed guides, we do not need permits, so just get the number of permits for the people in your group.

The South Coyote Buttes permit process is first-come-first-served online 3 months in advance. In other words, South Coyote Buttes is not a lottery at this time, although if demand increases, the BLM may institute a lottery as well. In all cases, check directly with the BLM about how the permit process works. On the first day of the month the calendar will open for the month 3 months in advance, therefore, if available, you can secure the permit date immediately. (Include our guide permit number – SRP# AZA-034891.)

We can assist with the permit process, but there is no guarantee that you will receive a permit as it is a lottery.


$175 Per Person. Minimum 2. Maximum 6 (Call for Group Rates)

Pricing Includes:

  • Professional Tour Guide
  • Transportation To and From Big Water, Utah
  • Picnic Lunch
  • Bottled Water
  • Sales Tax

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