| Coyote Buttes: The Wave
The Wave is located on the Colorado Plateau, near the Utah and Arizona border. The area is a gallery of gruesomely twisted sandstone, resembling deformed pillars, cones, mushrooms and other odd creations. Deposits of iron claim some of the responsibility for the unique blending of color twisted in the rock, creating a dramatic rainbow of pastel yellows, pinks and reds.
Paria Canyon contains the spectacular Coyote Buttes Special Management Area. The notorious sandstone buttes sit at the bottom of Utah's Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument and the upper section of Arizona's Paria Canyon -Vermillion Cliffs Wilderness area.
The Wave at a Glance
Wire Pass Trailhead - From Kanab, drive 40 miles east on Highway 89. The turn onto House Rock Road is located on the south side of the road (right side driving from Kanab). It is located between mile markers 25 and 26, before a sweeping left hand curve in the road, prior to a guard rail protecting the curve. House Rock Road soon becomes dirt and is impassible if wet. Continue 8.3 miles to the Wire Pass Trailhead parking lot, located on the right side of the road. Display your parking permit in your windshield.
The Wave Route - Walk across the road, to the east, and locate the hikers path. Sign in at the register box and read pertinent information. Soon the path drops into a wash. Walk down the wash (east) for .6 miles. Look for the signed path of use on the right side, above the wash, exiting Wire Pass Wash. Hiking becomes steep for the next few hundred yards, as an old 4WD road is followed to the top of the ridge and to the second register box. Once again, stop and sign in at the register. Shortly after leaving the register box, there may be an indication that the trail splits. Taking the left-hand fork is easier traveling. It continues east and passes large rock domes on the flats below. After passing the domes, the trail soon drops into a wash. It will be necessary to cross the wash and approach the slickrock ridge to the east of the wash. Continue to the east, up and over the slickrock ridge. Once on top, work down the east side (backside) of the ridge, but start bearing to the south (hikers right), and stay as high as it is comfortable, on the steep slopes of the ridge on the right.
Landmarks to locate the Wave
Twin Buttes - As travel continues south, two large buttes come into view. These are called the Twin Buttes, and come almost halfway through the hike. They are easier passed by walking up the slickrock bowl and going around the right side. A wash is encountered .5 miles after rounding the Twin Buttes.
Multi-colored Domes - Peer across the wash and notice the multicolored domes on the opposite side of the wash. These and the less obvious sandstone formations to the right are the Wave. Walk down into the wash, locate the dead juniper tree and the sandy path that leads up to the Wave.
The Wave - The area called Top Rock, is a collection of white Navajo sandstone formations. The south end of Top Rock divides North and South Coyote Buttes. The Wave is a chasm located on the northwest edge of Top Rock. The Wave is about .04 miles south of the Arizona and Utah state line.
Beyond the Wave: Top Arch, Sand Alcove, Melody Arch & Dinosaur Tracks
Top Arch - Most hikers never venture this far past the Wave. This section involves third class scrambling. Only those experienced in slickrock scrambling should attempt to go to the arch and beyond. Continue up the sandstone, heading toward the right. Locate the arch at the top of the mountain. Find the easiest path to travel up the steep slickrock. The arch is approached from the backside of the mountain. From the arch, the red cones of South Coyote Butte are visible.
Alcove - This hidden treasure is rarely found by hikers. To locate the alcove, return the way you approached the arch. This time stay to the left, hiking over crossbedded sandstone. In the alcove, fine grains of sand have been tossed and turned, wielded by wind, leaving a sculptured creation carefully piled in its bowels.
Melody Arch and Grotto - Window - From the alcove, scramble up and left of the alcove to attain the top. Once on top, travel southeast, following the maze of ridges and desert tanks, staying as high as possible. Steer toward the eastern edge of the cap rock. Soon a chasm appears in front. Look down and into the grotto that contains the window and Melody Arch. Backtrack far enough to find an easy route down into one of the tanks, scramble out the backside and slide down into the Melody Arch Grotto.
Best Trail Features - The Wave is a popular subject for nature photography, but its not an end to a hike. The vast area has many features to explore.
GPS Beta: Coordinates WGS84 Datum
Dinosaur Tracks: Grallator (Megapnosaurus) and Anomoepus
Stateline Campground - between Arizona and Utah. It's 10-miles to the Stateline Campground from US Highway 89. There are only 4 spots, so if you want to camp get a spot early. It's first come first use. Two of the camp sights are in Utah and two are in Arizona. There is no water, but there are vault toilets.
Coyote Buttes Special Permit Offices
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It's a better site than the NPS's anyway."
Written by the authors of the book: Favorite Hikes in and around Zion National Park