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Old 10-07-2019, 12:46 PM   #1
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Vermilion Cliff

We're interested in hiking Vermilion Cliffs / Coyote Bluffs in northern Arizona and would like information from those that have hiked / visited there. Yes, we've looked at the BLM website, but
was it difficult getting the permit(s)? We see they are available online, but it appears that only 20 people per day are allowed.
Where did you stay? It looks like Kanab is the closest for a RV site. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
How far of a hike is it from the parking area to the cliffs? We've read that it is a 5.5 mile hike. Again, first hand information is the best. We see that in its entirety, the trail is only a “moderate” 35 mile hike according to the BLM website (which, to me), doesn't really provide the information I'm looking for. Anyway. there is no way either me or my bride could do a 35 mile hike.
Thanks in advance.
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Old 10-07-2019, 07:10 PM   #2
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There is Lees Ferry campground and I thought there was one other but I can't find any info on it so it may have been the Lees Ferry CG I saw.


Page is a lot closer than Kanab and there are lots of Mom and Pop cgs along 89. Kanab is a long haul.
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Old 10-07-2019, 08:19 PM   #3
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I'm not really sure what you're looking to see there, but the permit area is divided up into two areas, Coyote Buttes North, and Coyote Buttes South.


The most popular is Coyote Buttes North, more commonly known as "The wave". Beautiful area, not really cliffs, but interesting sandstone ravines through layered rock. Numerous photos available on-line. To get to this area is 2.5 to 3 miles from trailhead to area you'll hike around in, and you can easily hike for miles through the formations. Trail can be somewhat obscure, sandy, and in the summer months HOT, virtually no shade, full sun. GPS, hat, and lots of water highly recommended.



Southern area is parking areas at end of two different roads and you explore rock formations in the vicinity of the trailheads, not really trails you just wander. To either trailhead is via dirt roads, can be problematic should it rain, and the southern areas are pretty much 4 wheel drive, or at least high clearance required due to poor maintenance most of the time, and there is some sandy areas that can get a car stuck.


Permit process is a nightmare, and I've struck out the last 6 times we tried. 10 permits for each area per day issued by internet lottery type setup. 10 per day at the Kanab BLM office by Bingo machine like lottery. Everyone goes in the morning of the day prior to when you want to hike, and fills out your application before 9am, with the application including the number of folks in your group. At 9am, the ranger draws a ball from the machine, and calls it out. If the number on your application matches, you get permits for each member of your group up until all members have a permit, or the 10 permits for the day are issued. If your group didn't take all 10, they draw the next number, and repeat process until all ten permits are issued. If your number is called and there aren't enough permits for all members of your group, it's your call, take what is available and leave some people behind, or pass so another number is drawn.


The last few years, every time I've tried, there has always been over 100 folks trying to get a permit per day.


Beautiful area, well worth trying to get a permit for, but the permit process means you waste a lot of time when you don't get lucky that could best used exploring the many other great places in this region of the country.
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Old 10-07-2019, 10:52 PM   #4
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We were leaving Arizona for the north for our summer one May and decided on a whim to stop and see if we could secure a 'Wave' hike permit. When we got at the BLM office there was a big crowd and many had returned from an unsuccessful previous day to get a lottery ticket.

Ten positions are had daily via online and ten in person. We, luckily, were one of the ten!!! The ticket was for the next day.

We stayed at Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park in Kanab. The BLM office is in Kanab. You'll drive perhaps 20-30 mi to get to the starting point. (I don't recall exactly) Kanab is the best place to stay.

Once you get to The Wave it is unbelievably beautiful. However, getting there and back is the difficult part. You will not be given a map and there is no marked trail. You are given a paper with landmarks and GPS coordinates. It's like a treasure hunt. Definitely take your GPS. There is very little shade and some deep sand spots. It's not flat. It is approx. 6 mi round trip and extra - depending how far into The Wave you go. It can take 6-8 hours.

You need to take twice as much water as you think you should!!! We each had backpacks filled with water bottles and we barely made it. A Camelback would work but still carry extra. Since we were there in May the heat was terrible - 95 deg. This could be a dangerous hike if you're not prepared. Some have died on it - a couple deaths around the time we were there.

Hope you can do it!

https://www.blm.gov/programs/recreat.../coyote-buttes
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Old 10-08-2019, 04:00 AM   #5
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Check out the hiking around buckskin gulch and cottonwood road which is between Kanab and Page. We rally enjoyed it.
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Old 10-09-2019, 08:31 PM   #6
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Check out the hiking around buckskin gulch and cottonwood road which is between Kanab and Page. We rally enjoyed it.
Exactly. In fact, from the same parking lot as "the wave", you can hike through an incredible slot canyon called Wire Pass that accesses Buckskin Gulch. We thought is was amazing. You only have to pay at the kiosk in the parking lot, unless you have a senior pass and it is free.
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Old 10-10-2019, 03:07 AM   #7
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Yep, that's the place. There are some interesting petrogylphs there and the slot canyon is about 22 miles long (if you wanted to hike that far). There are other slot canyons to hike in the area also. Have fun.
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Old 10-10-2019, 08:51 AM   #8
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Thanks!!

Many thanks for the many replies and great suggestions. I've copied and pasted the suggestions onto a word document and started planning our trip. Hope to get out to the area in April or May.
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Old 10-12-2019, 05:46 PM   #9
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Maybe you could call Paria Outfitters (half way between Page and Kanab) or one of the touring/outfitter companies in Kana and let them take you to some nice places. There are many, many of them in the area. We used Paria Outfitters in April to go to Whitepocket.

There is a small, just so-so campground West of Big Water and East of the BLM Contact Station on Hwy 89. The place is Cottonwood RV Park. 4920 Front St, Church Wells, UT. 435-675-5803. It's hard to find in google maps, search "Lake Powell Manor, llc" and "LV Tours USA" and you'll find it. If you use Paria Outfitters it is an ok place to stay with full hookups.

oh - good luck and hoping you get luck on "The Wave" lottery. I'd recommend if you get to go you use a guide company. You'll be safer and really enjoy the day.

We spent just over 2 weeks in and between Page and Kanab and it still wasn't enough time to see everything in the area. And hopefully Cottonwood Road won't be closed due to weather.
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Old 10-12-2019, 10:46 PM   #10
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oh - good luck and hoping you get luck on "The Wave" lottery. I'd recommend if you get to go you use a guide company. You'll be safer and really enjoy the day.
I didn't realize you could do a guided 'Wave' hike.
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