[Photo, above left: Unbelievably decorated slickrock in one of the sandstone reefs. Note the scalloped edge of sandstone running through the center of the photo. It is only a few inches high and razor-thin, so fragile that you could crumble it with your fingers. Photo, above right: A closer look at the delicate sandstone scallop.]
From the parking area at Cottonwood Cove, the Cottonwood Teepees and other sandstone attractions are about a half-mile walk to the west through brushy desert. Numerous small sandstone reefs are scattered through the desert running generally in a north-south line. This is a bit different than Coyote Buttes North where after crossing a short stretch of desert, you are in a slickrock wilderness for the rest of the hike. The colouration of the formations was also quite unusual, featuring a strong yellow colour. Variations of red or brown are much more typical.
[Photo, right: Pac Man rears his ugly head in Coyote Buttes South.]
We explored the reefs west of the parking area during the morning. As there are no trails or routes, we enjoyed scrambling up and down the rocks and through the formations. After returning to our vehicle for lunch, we set out to explore the large sandstone reef about a half mile northeast of the parking area. This is outside of Coyote Buttes South but still within the Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness.
[Photo, left: The Queen is a notable formation in the sandstone reef northeast of the parking area. It is named for a chess piece.]
There was one other car in the parking area, belonging to a gentleman from San Francisco who we had met at the Kanab (Utah) BLM station the previous day. However we did not see him or anyone else while out hiking.
Camping is permitted around the parking area but it is true wilderness camping. There are no facilities at all. You must bring in your own water and pack out all your trash. There is little shade, and it would be extremely hot in the summer. In the spring and fall, this would be a great place to spend a couple days.
[Photo, left and above: A closeup of Seal Rock in Coyote Buttes South, west of the parking area.]
[Photos, below are from the Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness, northeast of the parking area at Cottonwood Cove. Top. left: The Pulpit is completely natural, not manufactured. Top, right: a perfect teepee. Bottom, left: A naturally cemented mosaic of rocks. Bottom, right: a tree skeleton with intricately carved sandstone.]
Now available, our Trail Guides, Narratives and Maps for Paria Canyon, Buckskin Gulch, Coyote Buttes North including the Wave, and Coyote Buttes South.