Straddling the Arizona and Utah border, the vibrant and dramatic landscape of Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness spans 112,000 acres (45,324 ha) of spectacular geologic formations, desert wildlife and provides primitive outdoor recreation opportunities. Part of Vermilion Cliffs National Monument, the area has become one of the most popular destinations on the Colorado Plateau for visitors vying for a chance to hike and explore the backcountry.
Exploring the remote and primitive areas of Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness
The Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness boasts scalloped rock walls. The colorful swirls of cross-bedded sandstone in Coyote Buttes, to include the renowned “Wave,” are international hiking destinations. The Vermilion Cliffs, a 3,000-foot-high escarpment that is the namesake of Vermilion Cliffs National Monument, dominate the wilderness area and are as rugged as they are beautiful.
Key to visiting the area is understanding your responsibility when planning a trip here – acquiring appropriate permits, safely exploring the area, and protecting the natural landscape and visitor experience.
Unlike some national parks, Vermilion Cliffs National Monument does not have a visitor center, paved roads or hiking trails. The remoteness of this place adds to the beauty but also to the possible dangers. A visit here requires planning, knowledge of wilderness, backcountry skills and an appropriate vehicle. The nearest town is at least an hour away, so come prepared.
Vermilion Cliffs National Monument (Jessica Fridrich, Share the Experience)
Due to overwhelming demand, Coyote Buttes North (The Wave) requires a day-use permit available only in advance through two lottery options – the advanced lottery on Recreation.gov and the in-person lottery in Kanab, Utah.
Beginning June 1, 2020, visitors may apply to the advanced lottery on Recreation.gov, which offers the opportunity for a day-use permit four months from the lottery application month. For example, you may apply during the June lottery (June 1-30, 2020) for a day-use permit in October.
There is no overnight use in Coyote Buttes North.
Beginning July 1, 2020, Coyote Buttes South (day-use only, no overnight use) and Paria Canyon Overnight permits will be available for advanced reservation on Recreation.gov. Permits become available on the first of each month for a permit three months in the future. For example, you may reserve a permit beginning on July 1st for a permit during October.
Both Coyote Buttes North and Coyote Buttes South also offer day-use permits through the in-person lottery at the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument Visitor Center in Kanab, Utah, the day before you wish to hike. However, the Bureau of Land Management is temporarily discontinuing both daily in-person lotteries for permits to access Coyote Buttes North and Coyote Buttes South. This action is consistent with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance to limit gatherings to no more than 10 people per room.