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"Trouble In North Coyote Buttes" Top 5 Page for this destination Kanab by mikehanneman

Kanab Travel Guide: 95 reviews and 290 photos

The Journey

Most of the time it is a good idea to hike with other people. I went to North Coyote Buttes alone.

My friend Win told me to get there early because of the early August heat. I arrived around 8 in the morning and followed the BLM's directions. I headed into the wash and looked for the sign that would indicate where the trail was for North Coyote Buttes and Buckskin Gulch. Someone had taken the sign I guess. I followed the wash until I came to the start of Buckskin Gulch (longest slot canyon in the world) and had to turn around. I probably went at least a mile or more one way.

On my way back up the wash I ran into a couple from Switzerland. Nice people who were headed in the wrong direction too. I convinced them they were going to make the same mistake I had.

We headed to the starting point and found our way to the trail head for North Coyote Buttes. I was a bit apprehensive if I could find the Wave. A magazine in a Page hotel said they thought the BLM didn't want people to find the wave. Therefore protecting it. They gave an example of a party from Denver who wound up at Buckskin Gulch (like I did) and never did see the Wave.

I enjoyed my journey to the Wave almost as much as seeing the Wave. It seems like more people in Europe are aware of the Wave vs. Americans. I was told they even have an IMAX presentation of "The Wave."

Getting to "The Wave"

I enjoyed visiting with the Switzerland couple. They were in Utah for one month seeing all the sights. I lost their e-mail address, which bums me out.

The journey to the Wave was the highlight for me. Lots of ever changing scenery. We located the notch and headed for our objective. The only other people out there were an older couple from Germany and a young fellow from Norway. Behind the wave I checked out some "brain rocks." They were pretty cool. There are dinasour tracks along the ridge but I started to get hot in the 98 degree heat. I decided to head back alone.

Evidently I strayed too far to the right or east on my return trip. I had a digital compass but no GPS. It is almost 4 miles to get to the Wave so I had some ground to cover.

Now I am In Trouble!

I made it back to the final ridge before I hit the wash. I climbed over the crest of the ridge to see a 40 foot drop off on the other side. My bodies' core temperature was getting really hot at this point. It was after 1 o'clock and the sun was really intense. My Powerade was about 95 degrees too, so it wasn't any relief to drink.

I scrambled back over the top of the ridge and decided to head east and find a lower spot to get into the wash. Remember the BLM doesn't want any trace of you being there including building a pile of rocks too, so you can find your way back.

As I proceeded East, I knew I was heading downhill. At some point I decided to cross over the ridge and hopefully find the wash that would lead me back to my Jeep. When I looked ahead and down I saw a lot of rock and an exposed part of Buckskin Gulch. I had a hard time getting into the slot canyon. I slid down a steep smooth rock for 15 feet until I landed. Now I could see it looked like it could rain and I am in a slot canyon.

I looked at my digital compass and I knew which dirction to head but I kept getting cut off. I continued to walk in Buckskin Gulch. That was weird. It would be open and then completely like a cave. Dark and like 20 degrees cooler than the 100 degree temperatures outside. I decided I should try to find a spot to get up and out of the slot canyon. I was able to hoist myself up - God the rock was so hot! I sat there for a few minutes trying to gather myself and my composure. I didn't know if I would be able to make it out that day.

At this point things became a little fuzzy. I think I went over a steep ridge and back into the slot canyon. I remember walking out of Buckskin Gulch and how it seemed like a long way back to my Jeep.

When I went to sign out the person in charge of taking the sign in sheets took mine too. I drove to Kanab and stopped at the BLM office. I told them someone was going to die at North Coyote Buttes (I spoke to the asst. Mgr). I said there wasn't a sign at the beginning showing the way to Buckskin and to North Coyote Buttes. I also mentioned on the way back from the wave things tend to look a little different and they should have a small sign pointing to the area to cross to get to the wash. Then I asked him how often the person takes the sign in sheets. He said most of the time daily. I informed him the guy hadn't been there for 6 days to collect the sheets and took my sign in sheet for that day.

The BLM guy was polite and said I had some good ideas or suggestions. As I left he said, "now you have another story to tell."

I really enjoyed my trip to North Coyote Buttes and find myself liking it more each day. I made it out alive.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Great scenery, unique experience
  • Cons:Out in the middle of a wilderness area
  • In a nutshell:Kanab is a great hub to a lot of National Parks etc.
  • Last visit to Kanab: Jun 2008
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (5)

Comments (7)

  • travelgourmet's Profile Photo
    Apr 26, 2011 at 12:42 PM

    Hi Mike. Enjoyed your story telling on the hike to the "wave", actually the story from the wave. Tense. lol The photos and tips are timeless and well done. :-)

  • BeatChick's Profile Photo
    Mar 9, 2011 at 8:22 AM

    Wow - your photo of The Wave is incredible! That would make a gorgeous calendar. So what is the BLM?

  • Camping_Girl's Profile Photo
    Jan 22, 2009 at 5:05 PM

    Wow, I love that picture of the wave, it's incredible!

  • nickandchris's Profile Photo
    Jan 25, 2008 at 1:42 AM

    Oh my goodness, I was holding my breath reading this, praying you would find your way out!!!!

  • filipdebont's Profile Photo
    Aug 20, 2007 at 8:37 AM

    Hi Mike, nice pics - I've just returned from Kanab, from there I visited Zion, Bryce, North Rim and also The Wave (= great experience)

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo
    May 29, 2007 at 11:45 AM

    Quite a story! Fantastic photos of The Wave as well.

  • Feb 21, 2007 at 4:41 PM

    I've seen pictures of the Wave before, but I didn't know exactly where it was. I'll try to get over ther this summer to check it out. Good write-up.

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