Can't speak to South Coyote Bute (never been there), but Buckskin Gulch really requires no guide. The main issue is making sure you find the parking lot at the Wire Pass trailhead, which is 5 miles down a dirt road (Houserock Valley Road) from HIghway 89. From there, the trail is straightforward, and mostly in a narrow canyon. There is only one way to go through Wire Pass. Once you hit the confluence with Buckskin Gulch (where the canyon opens up a bit, after about a mile), just hang a right and follow the canyon downstream into the Buckskin narrows. Turn around and reverse your tracks whenever you feel you've had enough... an awesome place, hard to get lost...
If you have basic map reading skills, you don't need a guide. If you have more money than common sense, hire a guide.
Agree with JFR about Buckskin Gulch - awesome hike and you can't get lost. Since it is a slot canyon, it's just important to check the weather forecast before you go. Any threat of rain, don't do the hike. Otherwise, it's pretty straightforward.
As for Coyote Buttes South - I would not recommend a beginning hiker go there. Mainly because access is difficult - you must have a 4WD vehicle with high clearance (we rented a jeep from Canyon Country Adventures) and be able to drive in deep sand and navigate back roads. The drive is quite lengthy (it took us two hours one way from the highway), so it would make a very long day. If this is an area you really want to see, I would definitely hire a guide.
In addition to Buckskin Gulch, I would recommend the Toadstools (right off of 89), Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend, and Water Holes Slot Canyon (need a Navajo permit). Additionally, the Glen Canyon Dam visitor center/tour, Wahweap overlook, and Lone Rock Beach are nice stops too. I'm not sure how long you will be in the Page area, but that should keep you busy! If you find yourself with extra time and don't mind driving on a BLM road (gravel, but nicely maintained), you can also drive out on Nipple Bench. Has some interesting colors/formations that are in contrast to the typical red rock landscape.
As noted by others you can do Buckskin on your own. Downstream, or upstream of Wire pass, are both great hikes.
I'm sure you realize that you need to get permits( 20 people allowed a day) to do either N or S Coyote Buttes or it's a no go. South Coyote Buttes is not quite as simple as Buckskin.. Roads have very deep sand and can be confusing. High clearance 4WD is a requirement. If as you say, you are beginner hikers, and have not experienced navigating these type of roads, I would hire a guide to do that trip. A guide will get you there safely and get you to many formations you may never have seen without their knowledge. I've been twice, and still have only seen a fraction of it. I believe Paria Outfitters guides this trip.
Thanks all. If we have the time (& patience), we will hire a guide to go to South Coyote Butte, and don't worry, I've checked out the website for obtaining a permit too. We also plan on spending 2 days in Page so we can check out the Antelope Canyons, Horseshoe bend, and do some kayaking. The other places mentioned above also sound interesting but we are thinking of only spending 2-3 days in Utah, maybe 2 days in Page, and the remaining 4-5 days in Sedona.
We were able to obtain permits for both south coyote and north coyote buttes. We hired guides for both trips-glad we did. The road in was difficult,you might make it but 4 wheel drive and experience in potentially deep sand is vital.There are 2 companies that provide guides-Paria Outfitters and Dreamland Tours. We used Dreamland-very pleased-although both companies share some of the guides.Overland no longer goes to the Paria-we have used them twice in Page to visit antelope slot. Both the buttes were outstanding-enjoyed them more than sedona or the grand canyon.
Wow, I didn't think anything could be better than Sedona :-)
My plans have slightly changed so I will not be able to visit the Coyote Buttes this year but I'll keep these companies in mind for my next trip to UT. Thanks!
Visit the website-dreamlandtours.net or the other company,Paria.com.We blundered into visiting this area. We had visited page 2 yrs ago-saw the vermillion cliffs from a raft on the colorado (calm water float). Researched the vermillion cliffs national park-check out the photo galleries.