Rockhound Photography / photo’s

Filed under: click here :),regular postings — Gary April 2, 2009 @ 11:08 am

I bumped into Jon while looking for camera equipment of all things.  I found a great deal plus found some great pictures!  I asked if I could write about his site and he was happy to share his pictures with us.

Please check out his site/pictures as they are beautiful!

Jon Cornforth is an award-winning nature photographer whose images have been recognized internationally for their masterful composition and incredible detail.  Jon travels over 6 months each year to challenge himself in new locations and document the unique creatures that live there.


Multicolored, eroded rock formations dominate most of southeast Utah, though
particularly outstanding is the desert either side of the Paria River,
beneath the Vermilion Cliffs – seen for example along the Cottonwood Canyon
Road or at the Paria Rimrocks. The kaleidoscopic scenery extends a little
way south into Arizona, before the land becomes more sandy and barren, and
all can be visited free of charge and with no access restrictions apart from
the Paria canyon system and one small area spanning the UT/AZ border (mostly
in AZ); this is Coyote Buttes, which was unknown before the mid 1990s but is
now quite popular because of just one formation, ‘The Wave’, a small ravine
between eroded sandstone domes formed of amazingly beautiful rocks
containing thin, swirling strata. The location was first publicized in
Germany, in magazine articles and a movie (‘Faszination Natur’ by Gogol
Lobmayr, 1995), and then was visited only by a small number of Europeans,
becoming widely known just in the last few years. Because the BLM considers
the formations to be particularly delicate, Coyote Buttes has recently been
subject to fees and entry limitations, with only 20 people per day allowed
to visit.

Location: Coyote Buttes are the far southern portion of the Coxcomb Ridge, a
40 mile escarpment that parallels much of the Cottonwood Canyon Road and
provides an impressive barrier to US 89 between Kanab and Page. The buttes
are reached by the House Rock Valley Road that links US 89 with ALT-US 89,
south of the Vermilion Cliffs in Arizona, and all are contained within both
the Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness and the Vermilion Cliffs
National Monument. The southern part of this track may have soft sand or mud
at some times of the year and a rather longer drive (21 miles vs. 8.5 miles)
is required to reach the main Coyote Buttes trailhead, so the northern route
is preferred; this rather bumpy road is also used to reach the Buckskin
Gulch slot canyon, and the trailhead for the Wave is the same as for the
Wire Pass entrance of the gulch. The BLM divides the buttes into North and
South, though the north contains all the famous sites, extending from Wire
Pass about 4 miles south (2 in UT and 2 in AZ), with the southern half
stretching a further 4 miles beyond that. Apart from the Wire Pass
trailhead, the only other easily reached starting point is The Notch, 2
miles from Wire Pass, where a trail crosses a pass in the cliffs and leads
to the south end of the north section. South Coyote Buttes is generally
harder to reach though lesser quality dirt tracks provide some access from
the east, while the very southern end (Paw Hole) can be reached by a 2 mile
4WD track starting from the House Rock Valley Road.

Permits: Entry to either North or South Coyote Buttes costs $5 per person,
with a limit of 20 people for each region and no more than 6 in a single
group. Half these are bookable up to 4 months in advance, by writing to the
BLM in Kanab or applying via their website
(, sometimes inaccessible), while the
other half are available by applying in person to the BLM office at the
Paria River, before 9 am on the day prior to the intended visit (the office
opens at 8.30 am). At 9 am, if more than 10 people are waiting, a lottery
system is used to select the chosen few. All successful applicants receive a
copy of the access regulations and, for North Coyote Buttes, a topological
map to help identify the route to the Wave, which is not well marked on the
ground. There is high demand for the advance permits and all may be taken
many months before the date of travel. A permit is also required for dogs -
another $5. No overnight camping is permitted anywhere in the area.

Trail to The Wave: From the Wire Pass parking area, a path crosses the wash,
runs alongside for a while then turns to the right, up the side of the hill
on the outside of the first big bend. At the top of the rim is the Coyote
Buttes trail register, then the path follows a disused, sandy road over a
plateau and down to another dry wash. Beyond here the land is generally
rocky and the trail is not well defined; the route is across the wash and up
the far side to the top of a small ridge, veering left a little to keep the
higher ground on the right. Over the ridge, the land opens out to reveal a
big expanse of sand and slickrock, with a long, high ridge to the right (the
north part of Coyote Buttes), a vast open area of sand and scattered rock
domes in the middle distance and larger, more concentrated red rocks to the
left, rising up to a mesa which forms the edge of Buckskin Gulch. Directly
ahead, just left of the main ridge and about 2 miles distant, the land rises
to a higher summit with a small but distinct dark notch about half way up,
which is directly above the Wave and so provides a point to aim for. The
hike is along the rocky slopes of the eastern side of the main ridge,
descending near the end into another sandy wash (Sand Cove) then up to the
Wave itself, though there are plenty of choices as to the exact route. The
time taken is between one and two hours, and the hike is relatively easy,
without much elevation change.

Sites in North and South Coyote Buttes, including the Wave, Wave 2, the
North and South Teepees, and the ‘Dinosaur Dance Floor’.

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