Jaeger's Blog

To look at things is very different from seeing it – Oscar Wilde

Cottonwood Cove at Coyote Buttes South

SONY ILCE-7RM4, f/16, 1/320 sec, ISO 200

A local guide we met at The Wave on November 19th, 2021 suggested to visit Coyote Buttes South if we wanted to see more wave-like formations and colors.

According to the Bureau of Land Management BLM Coyote Buttes South is just a small part of the 112,500 acre Paria Canyon-Vermillion Cliffs Wilderness, but has some of the most visually striking geologic sandstone formations in the world.

We research the location on the Internet as soon as we got home and were able to get a permit for December 20th. What we found on the Internet sounded very promising but also pointed out the risks involved in getting there. The access road would be tricky with deep sand and we came across multiple reports where people got stuck and even spent the night out there. So in preparation for our trip we gear up with a towing strap, tire pressure gauge and air compressor to deflate / inflate the tires if needed.

We head to Page the day before, where we meet Misty, who happened to call Marco last Friday evening to vent off her frustration that she didn’t win the permit for The Wave that she had hoped for so much. Marco offered her the third permit we got for Coyote Buttes South. She happily accepted and joins us on Monday morning at 6am for a quick breakfast at the hotel. before we drive off with a car loaded with gear we hope we will not need, warm clothes, some snacks, plenty of water and camera equipment.
Sunrise is at 7:35am which is the time we aim to be at the turn off from House Rock Road to the sandy back road to Cottonwood Cove. The weather is perfect, not a single cloud, no wind, and temperatures just above freezing during the day (in the morning the lowest we see is 7 Fahrenheit / -14 Celsius though – and Marco was considering wearing his beloved shorts!?)

The first rays of the sun are letting the ice crystals sparkle and turn the landscape into a winter wonderland, it is just magical. Marco safely tackles the technical drive through sand, rocks, snow and ice to the Cottonwood Cove parking where we arrive just before 9am – our Jeep is the first car. We dress up and start walking towards the first sandstone formations we see to our left. The landscape we get to see is breathtaking and the patches of snow are the icing on the cake that make it even more magical. Every time we turn corners we are “wowed” again. The guide was right, this is just as breathtaking as The Wave and there is much more to see and a lot less people. Time is flying and soon it’s early afternoon and time to navigate back to the car to allow enough time to get back on solid roads before sunset at 5:10pm. Our Jeep is still the only car in the parking lot. We haven’t seen a single person or car since leaving the paved road early this morning.

The first 10 miles back to House Rock Road have not changed much since the morning but the driving north on House Rock Road is surprisingly muddy and in places very difficult to get through. Luckily Marco is able get us out safely and back to Page before dark.

What a day, so magical and beautiful, hard to put in words so we let the pictures speak to you:

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