Click Here to Book Online

South Coyote Buttes Tour

Fully Guided Tour

Photography Paradise!

Interesting Geology!

Single Travelers

Please do not book online if you are a single traveler unless you have consulted us first. We have a two adult passenger minimum. It works much better if you call us or send us an email to discuss your options and find out which tours are running during your date window.

We go out of our way to open the wonders of the West to EVERYONE.

We are permitted, licensed, and insured.

Dreamland Safari Tours holds Special Use Permits from the Grand Staircase Escalante National MonumentGrand Canyon National Park, the Vermilion Cliffs National Monument/Paria WildernessKanab Bureau of Land Management and Arizona Strip Bureau of Land Management.

All Day Tours are 2 adult minimum. A single passenger must pay for two seats if there is not a scheduled tour. All daytours 50% off for children 15 and under. Some Day Tours are not appropriate for small children.

Tour departure times are chosen at reservation. All daytours are booked on demand with departure options to fit your schedule. Tours do not run on each departure time or everyday. For Sunset or Sunrise at our more remote locations please consider a scheduled or custom built overnight or multi-day tour. We do not provide Sunrise or Sunset Daytours except the Sunset Safari.

All listed tour durations and pickup times are approximate. Please allow 10-20 minutes of pickup time flexibility for unforeseen circumstances and varying pickup logistics. Water and snacks are provided on all tours. A lunch meal is included on all tours of 6+ hours. Vegetarian option available.

We reserve the right to fill all empty seats. Cancellation / Reschedule / Weather policy applies.

Please familiarize yourself with our FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS before contacting us.

To contact us with other specific questions or begin Making Reservations click the “Book Now” Button on each tour page or click Contact Us for info on how to give us a call or shoot us an email.

See all tours at a glance with our

Like its counterpart to the North, which contains the Wave, South Coyote Buttes Tour in the Paria Canyon Wilderness is a vast expanse of colorful slickrock sandstone with lots of sand in between.

Price

$205.00 for adults
$102.50 for Children (15 & under)

Tour Length

10 Hours

Departure Times

8am, 9am, 10am

Difficulty (1-10)

7

Recommended abilities

Not recommended for small children. Elevation change, uneven footing, and sand make this terrain more difficult. The distances are substantial at about 6 miles.
SCB permit is required for this tour.

Location

Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness

Attractions

Cottonwood Cove, Paria Canyon Wilderness, South Coyote Buttes, Vermillion Cliffs National Monument

Special Interests

Geology, Photography, Wildlife, Flowers
What is included on your tours?

Daytours include pickup and dropoff from local hotels, off-road transportation, natural history narration, guided hiking, photo advice, snacks, water, and lunch on tours of 6 hours or more. Our multi-day tours include all of this plus camping equipment, camp management, three excellent meals, stargazing, sunsets and sunrises for the photographer, and lots more time outside.

How soon should we book?

This depends on several factors, but our best advice is to book as soon as you finalize your plans. We do fill up, and if you have a limited window of opportunity, you may miss out. The smaller your availability window and the tighter your schedule, the earlier you need to book in order to ensure availability. The larger your group, especially if it involves more than one of our trucks (>7 passengers), the earlier you need to book.

Can it just be my group on the tour?

We reserve the right to fill the truck. There is always a possibility it will just be your group, but it is not guaranteed. Requests to make a partially filled tour private are considered on a case by case basis and are based on buying a flexible number of additional seats. Additional fees will apply. Customers booking standard fares and tours should never expect that the tour will be private. We can and will fill the seats to capacity if possible. The max is 5-8 depending on the truck and destination.

What is your weather policy? What is your cancellation/reschedule policy?

These policies are all found on our Policies Page. PLEASE NOTE: Because of the constantly changing weather, targets moving over the whole region (our trucks), unpredictability of weather forecasts, the complexities of different road surfaces in different areas, the variable nature of storms as far as coverage and volume in this area, and the fact that some of the best photography weather is often on days with a chance of rain, we do not reflexively cancel tours without solid information. However, as your safety is always paramount in situations where incontrovertible evidence leads us to believe that potentially dangerous situations are probable, we will cancel tours if necessary. We will assume tours will run until departure time. We do not cancel tours until departure time as the most relevant information is at hand. Also if we know of a particular area or time that will be a problem we will often consult with all parties on the tour as to how best to go about re-routing, postponement, or cancellation. Trying to manage this on the phone hours before the tour is nearly impossible. If a party decides to cancel prior to departure time for reasons of weather forecasts, the cancellation will be subject to the standard policy. Cancellations made by us at departure will be accompanied by a full refund if no other solution can be reached. Also the information we have at any given time is often incomplete. For example, we do not know if the Wave is covered in snow or if the route is hikeable, whether roads are impassable in a given location etc….as we do not have a webcam at these remote locations. We do try to network to get better information if we can. Sometimes incontrovertible evidence is only found once the tour has begun. Guessing, followed by reflexive cancellations, we have learned, produces more poor results for everyone involved, than the strategy we take. It is very, very complex making these decisions. We are always monitoring the weather and have many years of experience managing the logistics that are affected by weather in this area. Please trust us to act in both our best interests.

What kind of vehicles do we tour in? Do you offer ATV/Jeep Tours?

All of our tours are run in Chevrolet Suburbans or Crew Cab Silverados for comfort and safety. We do not offer ATV or Jeep Tours.

What do I need to bring on a daytour/overnight?

The biggest things you need to remember on a daytour are a small pack to carry your own water (essential especially on tours with more hiking), jacket for warmth and rain (essential), boots or high top sneakers (optional but optimal in sand), any essential medication, and camera. Other items include extra layers when cold, hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, chapstick, and other typical daytime sundries. For scheduled overnights bring all the same except an extra layer or two. You do not need a change of clothes. For overnights in April or October bring a warm hat and gloves. For custom multi-day trips just add a change of clothes or two. On all tours we provide water and snacks. On daytours of more than 6 hours and multi-days more than 24 hours we provide lunch. On scheduled overnights of 24 hours we do not provide lunch so please eat before you come.

What is the weather like there at various times of year?

You can find average monthly temperatures and precipitation for Kanab HERE and also read our BLOG POST on the topic.

Do you offer sunrise or sunset tours?

Due to the remoteness of many of our tours, there is no practical way for us to offer tours with sunrise photo shoots. If you are interested in a sunrise shoot, we suggest one of our overnight tours, specially designed for photographers. Sunsets can be experienced on our Sunset Safari Tour or can sometimes be accommodated on a case by case basis by request usually during Winter or at locations near Kanab. Remote sunsets in Summer require tours not returning until midnight and remote Sunrises require departures of 3:30am, both of which are impractical.

Is tipping the guide customary?

In the United States tipping is not required, but it is the socially accepted norm. When a service has been provided to you, tipping of the immediate providing individual is customary. Tipping of tour guides is typically around 10% of the tour cost. Tips are never expected, but always greatly appreciated by our guides.

Where do you pick up/meet? Do you pickup in Page, AZ?

We pick up anywhere in Kanab for all tours. WE DO NOT PICK UP IN PAGE. Other meetups or pickup locations are possible depending on tour logistics and are determined on a case by case basis. Pickups, meetup locations, and exceptions are purely at our discretion. If you are staying in Page, and wish to avoid backtracking, and are doing a Wave, White Pocket, or South Coyote Buttes, or a variant of these tours, we often arrange to meet people at the intersection of House Rock Valley Rd and Hwy 89. For those staying in Kanab but travelling on to Page or other AZ destinations that evening, guests sometimes follow in their own cars from Kanab and park them at an appropriate place to avoid backtracking. Many people travelling through or who have just arrived opt to meet us at our location: 4350 E Mountain View Drive Kanab, UT 84741. Parking and Storage are available here.

What’s the difference between the South Coyote Buttes Tour and the White Pocket / South Coyote Buttes Combo tour?
The White Pocket / South Coyote Buttes “combo” tour visits White Pocket and the trailhead at South Coyote Buttes known as Cottonwood Cove. The South Coyote Buttes tour visits two separate trailheads at South Coyote Buttes: Cottonwood Cove and Paw Hole.

All three areas are incredible and present unique opportunity for photographers. If you have the time, or plan to come back next year, we recommend spending a whole day at each location. If your time is more limited, the White Pocket / South Coyote Buttes “Combo” tour is your best bet, you’ll see the most variety in a single day. White Pocket is very different from South Coyote Buttes.

At South Coyote Buttes, Paw Hole is marked by deep red sandstone teepees that rise out of the earth, while Cottonwood Cove is known for more variation in color, intricate, striped patterns in the rock and delicate sandstone ledges.. Our South Coyote Buttes tour spends about 3 hours at each location, while our White Pocket / South Coyote Buttes “combo” tour spends about 2.5 hours at White Pocket and 3 hours at Cottonwood Cove.

There are no actual trails at Cottonwood Cove or at Paw Hole. Our tours typically cover about 4 miles of terrain at Cottonwood Cove and 2 miles at Paw Hole, (or 2 miles at White Pocket) but trips can be tailored to each group.

Guest Experiences on the South Coyote Buttes Tour

South Coyote Buttes (SCB) with Caitlin and Dreamland was absolutely amazing! It is seriously 2 hours of very, very bumpy off-roading to get to SCB from the Hwy 89 turn off, but it is SO worth it. From the SCB parking area, it is just a 15-20 minute walk (through sand) to get into the formations, and then it is like being in a Dr. Seuss book. You can’t even believe how amazing it is. I’ve never been to the Wave, so I can’t compare it to that, but even if the Wave is better, SCB is still mind-blowing. Even though we did this after hiking 2 days in Zion and 3 days in Bryce, it was nothing like either of those places and not in the least bit redundant. And even though there was one other guide company car in the parking lot, we didn’t see another soul while we were walking around…

Sherri M – July 8, 2018
TripAdvisor

My wife and I took a day long tour with Bailey. We can’t say enough good things about our experience. We felt secure in both her driving abilities and knowledge of both White Pockets and South Coyote Buttes. Also enjoyed the stop for cookies.

Rickv225 – May 21, 2019
TripAdvisor

Our tour guide, Orion, is an enthusiastic 30 something transplant from North Carolina with the nickname “Grizzly” assigned by his colleagues. His enjoyment at work and high energy spill over to his guests (on our trip two 30 something women from Italy and two 70 something college buddies (Alaska and Vermont) renewing a friendship). He is responsible and very safety minded. His goal is to be sure his guests have the best possible day in this area he loves.

Stewart K – April 29, 2019
TripAdvisor

We did the White Pocket / South Coyote Buttes tour, and the Peek-a-Boo / White Wave tour. Our guides on both these tours were excellent, they were knowledgeable, helpful, friendly and very personable. The lunch, drinks and snacks provided were very good. I don’t think we could have had any better tours.

Dreamer54252255082 – April 14, 2019
TripAdvisor

Great tour! We got the permit for South Coyote Butte and called Dreamland immediately to get a guided tour. Caitlyn picked us up at the hotel in Kanab and we had a great day of adventure! We enjoyed both areas – they were very different from each other–and are still talking about how much fun we had. Caitlyn had plenty of water for us because it was hot one that day. She was a lot of fun and made it a fun day, full of adventure!

Margaret V – August 10, 2018
TripAdvisor

Single Travelers

Please do not book online if you are a single traveler unless you have consulted us first. We have a two adult passenger minimum. It works much better if you call us or send us an email to discuss your options and find out which tours are running during your date window.

To call the South Coyote Buttes Tour a consolation prize for Paria Canyon runners-up is a discredit to this photographer’s playground. It pulls you in with tantalizing possibilities around every rock.

South Coyote Buttes Photo

The stone has been eroded by wind and water over Eons into a myriad of forms. The minerals seeping and collecting along concentration gradients give the rock its sharply defined colored layers often packed within millimeters of each other. Wander and scramble in search of the best angles amongst the vibrant striations, weird hoodoos and buttes, balancing rocks, Moqui marbles, beehives, swirls, teepees, delicate and elaborate fins, mini arches, and more. South Coyote Buttes Tour is broken into two main sections Paw Hole and Cottonwood Cove, accessed through deep sand roads in the Remote Paria Plateau which rests above the Vermillion Cliffs National Monument. Both are remarkable for photography with never-ending compositions. Both are visited on the South Coyote Buttes Tour.

SPECIAL PERMITS ARE REQUIRED FOR THE SOUTH COYOTE BUTTES PORTION OF THIS TOUR. DREAMLAND DOES NOT PROVIDE ADVANCE PERMITS OR HAVE AN UMBRELLA PERMIT. ONLY OUR GUIDES ARE COVERED BY OUR PERMIT. WHEN OBTAINING PERMITS ONE DOES NOT HAVE TO ADD OUR GUIDES TO THE TOTAL NUMBER. IN CERTAIN CIRCUMSTANCES, UPON REQUEST, AND WITH AN ALTERNATE TOUR PLANNED, DREAMLAND MAY ATTEND THE LOTTERY IN YOUR STEAD.

South Coyote Buttes Permits are relatively easy to get. To find about more about how to get these or any permits in the Paria check out our Permits page.

Fully Guided Tour

Photography Paradise!

Interesting Geology!

We go out of our way to open the wonders of the West to EVERYONE.

We are permitted, licensed, and insured.

Dreamland Safari Tours holds Special Use Permits from the Grand Staircase Escalante National MonumentGrand Canyon National Park, the Vermilion Cliffs National Monument/Paria WildernessKanab Bureau of Land Management and Arizona Strip Bureau of Land Management.

All Day Tours are 2 adult minimum. A single passenger must pay for two seats if there is not a scheduled tour. All daytours 50% off for children 15 and under. Some Day Tours are not appropriate for small children.

Tour departure times are chosen at reservation. All daytours are booked on demand with departure options to fit your schedule. Tours do not run on each departure time or everyday. For Sunset or Sunrise at our more remote locations please consider a scheduled or custom built overnight or multi-day tour. We do not provide Sunrise or Sunset Daytours except the Sunset Safari.

All listed tour durations and pickup times are approximate. Please allow 10-20 minutes of pickup time flexibility for unforeseen circumstances and varying pickup logistics. Water and snacks are provided on all tours. A lunch meal is included on all tours of 6+ hours. Vegetarian option available.

We reserve the right to fill all empty seats. Cancellation / Reschedule / Weather policy applies.

Please familiarize yourself with our FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS before contacting us.

To contact us with other specific questions or begin Making Reservations click the “Book Now” Button on each tour page or click Contact Us for info on how to give us a call or shoot us an email.

See all tours at a glance with our

About South Coyote Buttes

Stunning, colorful and delicate sandstone formations define South Coyote Buttes, an area open only to 20 permit holders daily in the Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness. There are two main trailheads here: Paw Hole and Cottonwood Cove. Both are incredibly beautiful, though Cottonwood Cove is generally considered the more spectacular of the two sites. Paw Hole is marked by deep red sandstone teepees that rise out of the earth, while Cottonwood Cove is known for more variety in color, intricate, striped patterns in the rock and delicate sandstone ledges the break easily. Our South Coyote Buttes tour spends about 3 hours at each location, while our White Pocket / South Coyote Buttes “combo” tour spends about 2.5 hours at White Pocket and 3 hours at Cottonwood Cove.

There are no actual trails at Cottonwood Cove or at Paw Hole. Our tours typically cover about 4 miles of terrain at Cottonwood Cove and 2 miles at Paw Hole, but trips can be tailored to each group. The entire South Coyote Buttes area is about 3 miles across from the north end to the south. We never cover the entire length on a tour. There is a lot to see out there.

Because there isn’t just one main feature everyone visits (like the Wave in North Coyote Buttes) South Coyote Buttes disperses other hikers. On most trips, we don’t see another person there.

South Coyote Buttes lies just south of the famous Wave, where permits are notoriously difficult to obtain. Its similarly styled sandstone buttes are just as incredible as North Coyote Buttes, but it’s lesser-known and harder to get to. You’ll see more variety here in a shorter hiking distance. The colorful stripes and otherworldly rock shapes provide infinite opportunity for photography. The view changes constantly. It’s really addicting to see what’s around the next corner. You will not want to leave.

Getting to South Coyote Buttes

South Coyote Buttes lies on the remote and rugged Paria Plateau in the Vermilion Cliffs National Monument in Arizona, with the Cottonwood Cove trailhead just 2.5 miles from the Utah border.

Roads on the Paria Plateau are unmaintained and are comprised of deep sand with rocky sections scattered throughout. A four-wheel drive vehicle with good ground clearance and off road tires is a must. Some experience driving in deep sand can really come in handy, especially in the summer when the sand is dry, soft and deep. We lower our tire pressure to power through the sections of deep sand. It takes almost 2.5 hours from Kanab to get to Cottonwood Cove and the road to get here is a bit rougher than the road to White Pocket.

For folks who don’t have a capable four-wheel drive truck and don’t want to hire a tour company, the Paw Hole trail is accessible by foot, via a difficult, 2.5-mile (each way) hike to the trailhead. Some folks park off House Rock Valley Road at the Lone Tree Access Point and walk up to the top of the plateau. House Rock Valley Road is usually accessible with a two-wheel drive car as long as it has a decent amount of ground clearance and the road is dry.

We don’t really recommend hiking to Paw Hole because the hike is steep and very sandy. It’s an exhausting 2.5 miles just to get to the starting point of your South Coyote Buttes adventure. It really makes sense to maximize your time by hiring a guide who can drive you there and show you the best this area has to offer. And we’re not just saying that because we sell tours.

South Coyote Buttes Geology

Back 190 million years ago, this area was much closer to the equator than it is today. The land was a hot, dry, windy desert. South Coyote Buttes is comprised of Navajo sandstone that got its start as towering dunes back in the early Jurassic Period. As the dunes were buried under more and more sand, they became saturated with groundwater. Slowly, groundwater minerals cemented the sand grains together, turning the dunes to stone. The thin slanting lines in the rock, called cross-beds, represent the steep faces of dunes as they advanced downwind.

There are many shades of red, pink and yellow that are caused by the oxidation of iron-bearing minerals. Colorful stripes appear in the rock throughout Cottonwood Cove, as if someone dipped a brush into rainbow paint and graced the sides of the buttes with color. Pink hues in the rock often indicate the presence of hematite, while limonite appears yellow or brown.

There are several theories about how the polygonal cracks in the “brain rock” came to be, including thermal contraction, moisture cycles and drying processes of the sandy sediments and tensile forces. Similar cracks have been observed elsewhere on the Colorado Plateau, especially at nearby White Pocket.

Also scattered throughout South Coyote Buttes are Moqui marbles. The marble-like concretion has a sandstone center encased in an iron oxide shell. Scientists say iron was dissolved into ground water 50 million years ago and collected to form sphere shaped iron concretions. In 2004, two Mars rovers landed on the Red Planet and sent back images of BB sized formations similar to Moqui marbles. NASA scientists call them Martian blueberries. NASA studied Moqui marbles on the Colorado Plateau to learn how they form, wondering if this could provide evidence of water on Mars. Results are inconclusive. The Martian blueberries may have been caused by meteorites. But it’s fun to imagine a far out connection between the Arizona desert and Mars. Rock gathering here is prohibited.

Fossilized dinosaur footprints can also be found at Cottonwood Cove for those willing to venture down into a steep canyon. Toenail imprints are actually visible in the Otozoum tracks that were made by heavy, bipedal prosauropod dinosaurs that roamed this area in the early Jurassic, long before raptors, T-rex or Stegosaurus came on the scene.

Human History

Humans have probably been passing through South Coyote Buttes since the ice age when nomadic hunters wandered the expansive landscape in search of large game. The Paria Plateau is also home to Native American ruins dating back to the Pueblo Periods from about 750 A.D to 1250 A.D. Pottery fragments and arrowhead flakes can be found scattered throughout Cottonwood Cove. There is an incredible concentration of arrowhead flakes in the “museum” area of Cottonwood Cove where Native Americans may have sheltered in the canyon out of the wind and used the hard sandstone to shape chert into arrowheads.

 More recently, ranchers settled and grazing began somewhere around 1840. On the dry Colorado Plateau, ranchers often drew water from underground springs using pumps powered by windmills. One such windmill, now out of commission, can be seen at Poverty Flat between Cottonwood Cove and White Pocket. The windmill is out of commission, but ranchers still pump water from a well into a water tank on the hilltop.

An old corral still stands near a water pocket at Paw Hole. Ranchers named the area Paw Hole when they discovered horses had dug a shallow hole with their hooves where a water pocket lies just below the surface of the sand.

Grazing is still practiced on the plateau but it is not allowed in wilderness areas such as South Coyote Buttes. Congress designated the 112,500-acre Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness in 1984 to remain undeveloped and in its natural condition. When you get there we encourage you to find a quiet place. Sit down. Put away your camera. Look out across the incredible landscape and just take it in. Listen to the breeze rushing through the sagebrush. There is nothing you can see or hear that is manmade. Find peace in knowing untouched places such as South Coyote Buttes still exist. We sure do!