Wire Pass Trail Photos Vermillion Cliffs National Monument

Most people who make it out to the Wire Pass Trailhead in Vermillion Cliffs National Monument are heading directly for The Wave (advance permit is required, permit not available at trailhead). And while The Wave is definitely a place that everyone should add to their bucket list, that doesn’t mean that those going there should neglect the other wonderful hikes in the area.

One of these is the Wire Pass Trail which lead through a slot canyon and eventually intersects with the Buckskin Gulch slot canyon. The Wire Pass trail requires a permit ($6.00 per person which can be obtained at the trailhead) and is well worth the cost. Here are a few photos that I took on a recent hike on the Wire Pass Trail:

wire pass trail

wire pass foot print

wire pass canyon

wire pass slot canyon

wire pass trail slot canyon

slot canyon vermillion cliffs

vermillion cliffs slot canyon

slot canyon rocks

slot canyon barrier

vermillion cliffs wire pass trail

slot canyon curve

wire pass slot canyone vermillion cliffs

wire pass trail arch

The Wave Permits

One of the favorite places I have found since traveling to national parks is The Wave at Coyote Buttes in Vermillion Cliffs National Monument. This is definitely not your average place, and one that everyone should immediately add to their bucket list. It’s really difficult to describe this place in a way that does its beauty justice. Even the photos of The Wave, as spectacular as they are, still fail to show the incredible beauty of this place. Here a re a couple of photos that give a little taste of what is in store if you make it to The Wave:

The Wave Vermillion Cliffs national monument

The Wave photo

The problem for those wanting to see The Wave in person is that this is not the easiest place to visit. The national park service only gives out permits for 20 people to see The Wave per day. There are two ways to get The Wave permits:

1. There is an online lottery which distributes 10 permits per day which works as follows:

  • Permits can be applied for up to four months in advance.
  • It’s possible to apply for a permit anytime during the entire month (it doesn’t need to be on the first day 4 months in advance).
  • Permits can be requested for three entry dates per application. If more than one of your requested dates is chosen in the lottery, only one trip will be given the permit.
  • To apply for the permit requires a non-refundable $5 administrative fee for each application.
  • All applicants will be notified by email on the first of the month as to whether or not their application for a permit was successful.

You can get more information about the online lottery process here and apply for the permits online here

2. In addition to the online permit lottery, there are 10 permits to The Wave given away the day before by lottery at the the new Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument Visitor Center in Kanab, Utah. The Lottery starts at 9:00 am sharp Mountain Standard Time (9:00 am Daylight Savings Time in summer — if you are even a minute late, you will be locked out and not able to participate), so you need to arrive before then. If there are only 10 people that want permits, all will get them. If there are more than 10 people that want permits (most days there are), then a lottery is held.

The permits or for the following day and the lottery is held every day (there may be some exceptions for holidays). Here are a few more rules for the walk-in permits to The Wave:

  • Credit cards are not accepted for these permits. Applicants must pay by either cash or checks.
  • If you are lucky and there are 10 or less people seeking permits on the morning you are there, everyone will receive a permit for the next day.
  • In the rare case when all ten permits aren’t issued the previous day (highly unusual), it may be possible to get a same day permit.
  • When more than 10 people want a permit, a lottery drawing for the next day’s 10 permits will be held.
  • A group of up to six people may request permits, but only one person from the group can enter the drawing (if this person is picked, then all six people receive permits).

Although I have tried several times to get permits from the online lottery, I have never been successful. I have been able to get to The Wave through the walk-in lottery a couple of times, but both were during the winter when the competition for the permits is much less compared to summer. Still, if you are going to be in the area, you should try your luck in getting a permit. It’s a destination that you will never regret seeing…

Yovimpa Point Photos Bryce Canyon National Park

Yovimpa Point is an overlook at Bryce Canyon National Park that visitors often miss. Most people take the 15 mile road within Bryce Canyon to the end and see the signs for Rainbow Point. They immediately head straight for Rainbow Point as this is the main focal of the parking area.

There is, however, a short path that begins on the right side as you first enter the parking area (the reason that so many people miss it) which leads to Yovimpa Point. The walk is short on a paved path, so it is definitely worth making the effort to see it since you are already in the area. Yovimpa Point gives a view of Bryce Canyon on the opposite side from most of the other canyon overlooks. Here are a few photos from my recent trip there:

Yovimpa Point

Yovimpa Point Bryce Canyon

Bryce Canyon Yovimpa Point

Bryce Yovimpa Point

Yovimpa Point photo

Yovimpa Point view

Road To Nowhere Valley Of Fire

While I am far from a good photographer, I do enjoy taking photos as I visit various state and national parks around the country. It allows me to give you a glimpse of the beauty that is out there (although the photos never seem to do the actual scenes justice) so that you may want to visit the place one day.

I find that in additions to all the amazing places that can be accessible by hiking, often the beauty is right there next to the road. In fact, sometimes it’s the road itself (as part of the overall scene) which is part of the beauty. That is exactly the feeling I got when I came across this while driving in Valley of Fire Nevada State Park (this was driving back from White Domes back toward the visitor’s center).

road to nowhere

I actually got in trouble taking this photo. When I saw the view, I immediately pulled off to the side of the road to take it even though there really wasn’t a proper place to do so. it was one of those things that i saw and just needed to take a photo of it. A park ranger happened to be on the road and I scolded me (which he rightfully should have done). There was a parking area about a mile back and I should have parked there and hiked to get the photo. Point to remember with all the beautiful views that state and national parks provide…

Goosenecks Capitol Reef National Park

I absolutely love it when I stumble upon the unexpected when viewing a national park. One of the hidden treasures at Capitol Reef National Park is the Goosenecks overlook. It really is a different view than most of Capitol Reef, and it’s a bit off the beaten path so that many people may miss this beautiful natural wonder (it’s at the end of a 1 mile dirt road that begins at Panorama Point). For those that travel through Capitol Reef, don’t let the dirt road discourage you from making the drive. As a reward, you will be greeted with views like this:


capitol reef goosenecks

goosenecks at capitol reef

capitol reef national park goosenecks

The information sign at Goosenecks gives the following description:

When Sulphur Creek was young, this scene was a low plain.

The stream looped leisurely across gently sloping land, overflowing and changing direction with each flood. Imperceptibly, the Waterpocket Fold began its slow, upward warp.

Trapped in its channel, unable to detour, the water ran steeper, and sliced a deepening trench through layers od soft rock. Where loops almost meet, “Goosenecks” form — the stream’s last course, incised in stone. Now the creek flows 800 feet below the rim.

Rock Fall Flow Photo Valley of Fire Nevada State Park

One of the natural wonders that I enjoy hiking to most is waterfalls. While hiking in Valley of Fire Nevada state park (a couple of hours outside Las Vegas and a wonderful day trip if you want to escape all the casinos) I came across this rock fall or rock flow (I’m not sure which to call it), but found it wonderfully interesting, especially with the contrast of colors between the striped red sandstone and the rocks in the flow / fall. This was found while doing the White Domes hike which I would highly recommend doing for anyone that makes it to Valley of Fire (click photo for a bigger, more detailed image)

rock flow

What do you think?

Big Basin CA State Park Seeking Volunteers

I just spent a day hiking at Big Basin California State Park and they are looking for volunteers to become docent-naturalists for the upcoming spring and summer seasons. This is the flyer posted on the headquarters door (click on photo for larger image)

big basin volunteers

As the sign states:

  • Become part of a team dedicated to helping the environment through education Learn to lead guided walks for school groups and the public
  • Gain natural history knowledge of the coast redwoods and their ecosystem
  • Share part of yourself with the community
  • Support California State Parks

Classes begin in April 2012. Call 831-338-8883 for more information and an application.

Solar Trash Can Compactors Bryce Canyon National Park

I am a firm believer that technology has an important role to play in our National Parks. While the parks themselves may be wild and rugged, technology can certainly solve some of the issues that occur when people want to visit these off the beaten track destinations.

One of the things that I love about traveling to National Parks is when I find a simple technological concept in use that makes perfect sense. On a recent trip to Bryce Canyon National Park, I noticed that all the trash cans weren’t simply regular garbage cans, but solar powered trash compactor cans:

solar trash compactor

solar trash can

solar garbage can

It’s such a simple idea that makes a whole lot of sense. The compactor means that the trash can doesn’t need to be emptied as often (freeing up extra time for park staff to do other things), there is no additional electricity being used (since they are solar) and they keep the park cleaner (since it is an enclosed system, birds and other wildlife can’t get into the trash can). I hope that I end up seeing more of these, and other similar simple concepts that make sense, in other National Parks I visit.