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The Wave of Coyote Buttes

Posted: Wednesday, September 19, 2012
The Wave of Coyote Buttes
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  • The Wave of Coyote Buttes
  • The Wave of Coyote Buttes
  • The Wave of Coyote Buttes
  • The Wave of Coyote Buttes
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Behold The Wave, a sandstone rock formation in the North Coyote Buttes Wilderness Area on the Arizona-Utah border. Coveted amongst hikers for its colorful, bacon-y swirls, undulating forms, and trackless trekking surfaces, access permissions are given to only 20 people per day to preserve the integrity of The Wave's 190-million-year-old sand dunes.

Wave visitors can enter the scene via 4 major access points, the Cottonwood Cove Trailhead, the Lone Tree Access Point, the Paw Hole Trailhead, and the Wire Pass Trailhead. Most points require 4-wheel drive vehicles, as they are undeveloped and have no trails, direction signs, or other navigational information once you enter the permit area beyond the trailhead.

The entirety of the Coyote Buttes area features exposed cross-bedded aeolian Jurassic Navajo Sandstone, the ribboned coloration of which is a result of different iron oxide pigments within the layers. Also preserved in the area's layers is a dinosaur trackway or trample surface, showing previous inhabitation by a multitude of dinosaurs. The area covers about three-quarters of an acre, and contains over 1,000 dino-prints dating back 190 million years.

Coyote Buttes overnighters are predominantly looking at campground accommodations. White House and Stateline Campgrounds are both open year-round, and have five and four campsites respectively. For hotel stays, travelers can head either to the Utah or Arizona side of the sandstone, with Big Water, UT being the closest stop, followed by Page, AZ about 18 miles away.

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