The Wave - Coyote Buttes North
Please keep in mind that all the following information is not an official guideline, they are our opinions and points of view related to this topic. You can only access The Wave with an official permit which has to be displayed on your car and backpack while hiking.
You can only visit The Wave through a lottery system, were you can either apply online or personally at the Grand Staircase Monument Visitor Center in Kanab, Utah. The numbers are limited to 10 permits a day online, and 10 walk ins which you will receive in the Visitor Center in Kanab. We were lucky to obrtain permits via the online lottery system after a few attempts. But after talking to locals and many tourists, we realised that we were truly lucky to get them. We met some people that have been applying for permits their whole life with no luck so far.
The second option is to try the Visitor Centre in Kanab every morning before 9am. They pick numbers from a Bingo machine and issue another 10 permits that cost $5 per day but there is no guarantee as there are always many people trying their luck.
We've done lots of reseach on this topic and it has always been our dream to visit this place. “The Wave” is a well known hollow of striated sandstone that has been eroded into Navajo Sandstone from the Jurassic age. Originally it was eroded by rainwater and now almost mainly by wind.
It is a truly unique place and its beauty is so amazing that you can easily get lost in time. For photographers, there are so many opportunities to get a great shot. The best time for photography is during the few hours around midday when there are no shadows in the center, although early morning and late afternoon shadows can also make for dramatic photos. After a rain storm, there are numerous pools which could create an awesome mirroring of the wave.
If you are lucky enough to get a permit, a few weeks before your trip you will receive it in the mail along with a trail map. The map has pictures of different landmarks which you need to use to find your way to the wave. This map contains pictures of the terrain which will guide you to the Wave and back.
The trail starts at the Wire Pass Trailhead parking area where you need to park your car and start walking through the sandwash and follow the instructions on the map.
The Wave can be reached by hiking approximately 5 km across open desert, making the round-trip to and from The Wave nearly 10km long. Again, make sure that you carry plenty of water especially in the summer when the temperatures can reach 40C. Also watch out for rattlesnakes as they have been spotted by many in this area.