Within the Vermilion Cliffs National Monument you will find the Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness, an area of broad plateaus, tall escarpments and deep canyons. This area is in northern Arizona, north of the Grand Canyon and just south of The Grand Staircase. Ok, now stay with me. Within this wilderness area are the North and South Coyote Buttes. North Coyote Butte is home to an area known as The Wave, which has become known worldwide. Both North and South Coyote Buttes are restricted to no more than 20 people allowed to visit each day. These 20 people are selected through a permitting process, 10 of which are selected by random drawing on the day prior. This led us to be present in the BLM office in Kanab, UT, on Monday morning, September 28, 2015, at 9:00am for that day’s lottery to visit The Wave on Tuesday.
Descriptions will fail to tell you what you’re seeing. I’m afraid photographs will be inadequate to properly frame the sights. Your mind struggles to properly categorize this strange and wondrous landscape. Hoodoos (odd-shaped pillars of rock), spires, windows, arches, fins and towers with a variety of shapes and colors leave you not understanding how this could have come about but wanting to see more.
Encompassing some 1.9 million acres, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument is slightly larger than the state of Delaware, the largest land area of all U.S. National Monuments, it is part of the National Landscape Conservation System and is managed by the Bureau of Land Management.. Although Bryce Canyon and Zion National Parks are separately managed, they are part of “The Grand Staircase”. The name comes from the series of plateaus that descend from Bryce Canyon south toward the Grand Canyon, marked by vertical drops at the Pink Cliffs, Grey Cliffs, White Cliffs, Vermillion Cliffs and Chocolate Cliffs.
Capitol Reef National Park (pics), located just east of Torrey, UT, is 100 miles long but fairly narrow, running roughly north and south. Most of the park has very limited accessibility. The primary feature of the park is a long up-thrust called the Waterpocket Fold, about 75 miles long and 65 million years old. It is a warp with older and newer layers of earth folded over each other in an S shape.