Everything you Need to Know about Hiking The Wave in Arizona

Learn about the trail, permits, and gear in this detailed guide to hiking the Wave in Arizona in the Vermilion Cliffs National Monument.

Most people have seen photos of hiking The Wave in Arizona – a gorgeous red sandstone formation along the Utah/Arizona border near Kanab in the Vermilion Cliffs National Monument. The Wave is an incredible trail that should be on every hiker’s bucket list, and in this trail guide, we share everything you need to know before trying to hike the Wave.

Due to the overwhelming popularity of the site, the Bureau of Land Management limits foot traffic into the Canyon, thus preserving the integrity and beauty of The Wave. For years, access was limited to only 20 lucky people a day, but in February 2021, the BLM increased the daily hiking quota to 64 people/day. Of those, 48 get permits in the advance lottery and 16 permits are awarded in the daily lottery. 

It’s still hard to find yourself one of the lucky ones to receive a permit for the site, despite the increased quota, simply because there are so many people who want to experience The Wave. In 2018 alone, there were approximately 168,317 applicants, and with only 7,300 people allowed access, that’s a 4.3% success rate.

With that said, your best chance at an opportunity to hike the Wave is to be informed. In this guide to the Wave, we share information on the advanced Wave lottery, last-minute daily lottery permits, and recommended gear, as well as a trip report to help you plan for your visit.

Want to hike The Wave in Arizona? Check out this detailed write-up below, mark the permit application deadline on your calendar, and cross your fingers!

Important Reminder: As it goes in all of the destinations we share, please practice good trail etiquette and remember to Leave No Trace. This means packing out all of your garbage (including toilet paper) and following the established rules. In the desert, this also means learning how to protect cryptobiotic soil and how it has a huge impact on our ecosystems.

Hiking The Wave: Trail Basics

Most people access the Wave from the Wire Pass Trailhead located in the North Coyote Buttes permit area of the Vermilion Cliffs National Monument. The moderate 6-mile hike consists primarily of sand and red rock. Part of the trail is cross-country, so you should have a map and a basic understanding of navigation skills, especially given the harsh, dry desert heat conditions.

  • Trail Type: Out-and-back
  • Length: 6 miles
  • Elevation Change: +/- 400 feet
  • Dogs Allowed: Yes, for an additional $7/per dog/per day (They must be under your control at all times and you are required to pack out their waste)
  • Best Season: Spring and Fall (best weather)
  • Time: 2-4 hours
  • Permit Required: YES
  • Water Availability: None
Learn about the trail, permits, and gear in this detailed guide to hiking the Wave in Arizona

Here is a Google Map of The Wave hike.

Map of The Wave hike in Arizona

How to Get a Permit for The Wave

There are two ways to obtain a permit for hiking The Wave in Arizona. If you can plan ahead, you should try your luck in the advanced online lottery that happens on the first of each month, 4 months in advance. However, if your trip is last minute or you are unsuccessful in the online Wave lottery, you can also enter the daily lottery which starting March 15, 2022, will require you to download the recreation.gov app to your phone and enter a virtual lottery (previously this lottery was held in person).

Only 64 people are issued permits for the Wave each day. 48 people (or 12 groups, whichever comes first) are awarded permits through the online lottery system. The other 16 people (or 4 groups, whichever comes first) are awarded permits through the walk-in lottery.

The advanced online lottery costs $9 per application and is non-refundable, even if you are unsuccessful.

Advanced Online Lottery for The Wave

To apply for a Wave permit, start at the Coyote Buttes North lottery page on the Recreation.gov website. Applications for the online lottery open at 12pm Mountain Time on the 1st of the month, four months before your desired hiking month. The table below indicates when you must apply depending on when you want to hike.

The Wave permit lottery schedule

Here’s an example of how this works. Let’s say you want to hike The Wave sometime in May. You must submit your online application sometime between January 1st and January 31st. When applying, you are allowed to enter three different hiking dates for the month of May. The lottery then takes place on the morning of February 1st, after which you will be notified by email whether or not you were successful. If you were successful, then you have 14 days to confirm and pay for your permit online. If you don’t confirm during this time, your permit is released back into the system.

March through November are the most competitive months for permits while December through February have better odds. It’s important to note here that while the odds of receiving a permit are higher in the middle of winter, the odds of poor weather, unpassable roads, and a snow-covered Wave are also higher.

Finally, each individual is only allowed to submit one application per month and these permits cannot be sold or transferred. If you end up submitting more than one, you will be disqualified. You can name up to three specific alternate permit holders when you apply for the lottery in the event that you aren’t able to make the dates for your permit.

Daily Lottery for the Wave (NEW FOR 2022):

If you are unsuccessful in the advance online lottery or want to spontaneously hike The Wave, your other option is to enter the daily lottery via the recreation.gov mobile app.

Applications must be submitted two days before your hike during the lottery application window (6am – 6pm). You can only apply on the mobile app – a desktop computer will not work.

Permits will only be available to people using the app within an intentionally set geographic fence. In order to apply for a permit, you will need to be in the following areas:

  • Arizona: Page, Greenhaven, Marble Canyon, Vermilion Cliffs, Jacob Lake, White Sage, Fredonia, Moccasin, and the Kaibab Paiute Indian Reservation.
  • Utah: Big Water, Paria, Johnson Canyon, Kanab, Mount Carmel, Orderville, Glendale, and East Zion. 

The daily online lottery costs $9 per application and is non-refundable, even if you are unsuccessful.

For a full FAQ and additional details on the permit process including the most up-to-date information, visit the Vermilion Cliffs page on the BLM’s website.

The geographic fence for daily permits. Image: recreation.gov

What if you don’t get a permit?

Getting a permit for The Wave, whether through the advanced process or daily lottery, is very competitive and only a small percentage of applicants are actually lucky enough to hike The Wave each year. So what if you aren’t one of the lucky ones?

You could apply for a Coyote Buttes South Permit. While this doesn’t grant you access to the famous “wave”, it does allow you to hike in a geologically similar and more remote area of Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness complete with sandstone bluffs and wave formations.

There are two trailheads into Coyote Buttes South and both require a 4×4 vehicle to access. Click here for more information and to apply for a Coyote Buttes South permit.

Also remember that the Wave is only one of the incredible hikes in this Southern Utah region. For more tripping planning inspiration, check out these Utah bucket list hikes and read our guide to the best things to do in Kanab, Utah.

This is a hot, dusty desert environment with no drinking water. You should be prepared with 3 liters of water at a minimum. I always recommend a daypack with a hydration reservoir for easy drinking. You’ll also want sun protection and good hiking shoes. 

The trail is not well-marked and there is no cell phone service. You should be prepared with a good map (you can also get one at the ranger’s station), and if you’re inexperienced with backcountry navigation, you may also want to bring a GPS and communication device. I recommend the Garmin InReach.

For more info on finding the right gear check out these posts:

Hiking The Wave: Trip Report

We were lucky enough to make the drive to the Wave trailhead without any problems, even though it had rained the night before. Upon arrival, the ranger gives a spiel on safety and how to navigate the region. As I mentioned, be sure to grab a map since the path to The Wave isn’t well-defined like a typical hiking trail. Afterward, we strapped on our shoes, checked our packs for water/snacks, applied necessary sunscreen, and hit the trail.

Learn about the trail, permits, and gear in this detailed guide to hiking the Wave in Arizona

To find the main trail you need to cross the road and enter into the river wash, heading back north for a half-mile or so until it winds to the east (where eventually you will see this sign).

Learn about the trail, permits, and gear in this detailed guide to hiking the Wave in Arizona

After passing the sign to the Coyote Buttes North Area, you will stay to the right (the left goes down to Buckskin Gulch) and you soon find yourself hiking along this sandy/desert terrain.

Learn about the trail, permits, and gear in this detailed guide to hiking the Wave in Arizona

This is the point in the journey when the map provided by the ranger came in handy. Here, in particular, we headed toward the first big mound off in the distance, just to the right of center in the image.

Once we crossed over the ridge, the landscape changed to hard sandstone (which made it much easier to hike along). There were some signposts along the path leading up to the Wave to help steer us in the right direction. To head in the right direction, look for these types of buttes in the distance, and head towards the two in the middle, passing them just on the right side.

Learn about the trail, permits, and gear in this detailed guide to hiking the Wave in Arizona

After that pass, the terrain opens up and you’ll see a large rock face in the distance with a fissure/crack vertically down the face…that’s your destination. Other landmarks to look for along the way are white streaks along the sandstone you’re walking on, following that in between two small sand dunes in the distance. Having these small reference points along the way ensured that it was nearly impossible to lose your way (although historically hikers have gotten lost and deaths have occurred due to heat-stress and other related causes, so make sure to bring plenty of water!)

After passing between the small dunes, it’s a final push to reach the site of The Wave. The anticipation and excitement build as you drop down into another river wash and then begin the final climb in the sand to your destination. With the sun blazing down on us and the sweat building up, we couldn’t wait for the moment to arrive and rest, but as soon as we arrived the last thing we wanted to do was sit down. It was time to play and explore.

Learn about the trail, permits, and gear in this detailed guide to hiking the Wave in Arizona

Thanks to the storm that passed through the night before our adventure, we were lucky to be able to experience this beautiful place in such a setting, with an amazing reflection bouncing off a pool of water right at the entrance (and many other pools throughout the site). This larger wide-lens view of The Wave perfectly depicts the incredible striations of the windblown sandstone.

Learn about the trail, permits, and gear in this detailed guide to hiking the Wave in Arizona

After passing by the pool of water at the main entrance to the Wave, we looked back on this series of pools that collected water from the storm. The contrast of the red rock and the blue sky was absolutely perfect.

Learn about the trail, permits, and gear in this detailed guide to hiking the Wave in Arizona

We continued to meander around and through the site for 30 minutes or so before ever stopping for a rest. We soon found ourselves perched up above The Wave and figured that it was the perfect spot to relax and replenish ourselves with food and water.

Now that we were fueled up we were ready for some more exploring. We headed to the top of the sandstone cliffs to the south, catching the vast landscape of the desert in all directions. All in all, we probably spent a good 3 hours at the site to gather as many vantage points as possible of this once in a lifetime visit.

Learn about the trail, permits, and gear in this detailed guide to hiking the Wave in Arizona

Nearing the end of our journey, we caught an amazing view of The Wave from the south looking north. This just so happened to be the perfect location for us to drop in and snap some pictures of us surfing this desert wave.

Learn about the trail, permits, and gear in this detailed guide to hiking the Wave in Arizona

The trip to The Wave was epic! To date, we haven’t been to any place in the world as remarkable, serene, and uniquely beautiful as this site. The privacy and exclusivity of this site make it all the better. While it’s tough to get a permit, the lack of crowds makes it that much more enjoyable. In silence, you can admire the awe and wonder of the creative processes of Mother Nature.

Learn about the trail, permits, and gear in this detailed guide to hiking the Wave in Arizona

Now, years later, as we look back on this trip we wish we had done more with our time there. If you decide to venture further past The Wave, there are a bunch of other cool features worth exploring, including a couple of arches.

Do you have questions about hiking The Wave in Arizona or have you visited already? Share your questions and comments below!

Written by Josh Allen

Josh Allen is a real adventurer at heart who loves exploring all that the world has to offer. With his passion for the outdoors, living life and helping people, he began RAWtrails to bring similar joy and happiness to others. His organization exists to inspire people to create a lifestyle of activity and adventure in the great outdoors, holding to the belief that nature and its miraculous wonder contain the power and ability to transform us into happier and healthier people. You can follow his adventures on Instagram and Facebook.

137 comments on “Everything you Need to Know about Hiking The Wave in Arizona

  1. Thanks so much for writing up this article, the permit process for the wave can be slightly confusing at times and this help clear it up immensely! I do have one question, when applying online, can each individual in your group apply separately for permits? I read somewhere that you can, but it being that the individual commenting on it was from France I am not sure of the reliability of their comment. Could you shed some light on the situation? I know that the walk-in permits are one person per group only.

    1. Tiare – That’s correct. For the online lottery you can each apply. But if you both end up getting it you should definitely cancel one of the permits to give other people a chance. And in person, it is only one person per group that is allowed to enter the lottery.

    2. Today I just find the site, which sells information how to get to wave without the permit – gowave.us. Is anybody tried it?

      1. Hi there, we do not have any experience with this site but I would be very cautious about paying for information online for The Wave.

      2. That particular website (gowave.us) gives out incorrect and illegal information. Regardless what anyone says, a permit is required to enter Coyote Buttes North and South. As a permitted guide to Coyote Buttes, I can say this with some experience. The BLM is very particular about entry 🙂

  2. If I do the online lottery for the wave for me and one other person and win. And then the person I am going with backs out, can I take someone else? In other words can I change the name of the person I am going with?

    1. The permit holder (whoever’s name the permit is in) must be present but I think you should be able to change the person you bring with you. If the permit is in the other person’s name, then you should call the ranger and see what they say.

      1. I got a permit on my first try. u can name 2 alternates in the online application. If not listed it is not transferable.

  3. Thank you! I’ve spent a good hour reading and watching videos about the process and telling me that I have to show up on Friday for a Monday pass is SUCH a good tip – I totally wouldn’t have thought of that! Anyway, I’m pumped – wish me luck! 🙂

  4. We are showing up at the BLM on Friday, December 30, in hopes of winning a ticket on Saturday, Sunday or Monday. If we win a slot, my biggest concern is the hike and getting lost. I was considering hiring a tour company to take us out there. I almost hired a guy to take us for a sunset and nighttime photo shoot of Delicate Arch last year but didn’t and it was not a hard hike.

    1. Hey Evan – Good luck with the lottery! If you have some experience hiking, my guess is you can do this without a guide. Just make sure to bring a map and get all of your questions about directions answered by the ranger before heading out. Make sure to come back and tell me how it goes!

    1. Stay at the Stateline Campground, a free site a mile or two further along the House Rock Road. It’s the closest place to stay and wasn’t full when we were there at the end of April.

      1. Thanks for the campsite recommendation Pedro! We’ll have to check that place out next time!

  5. When I applied for a permit I recorded 4 in my group. Now my trip is coming in mid January and my group is only 2. Is there anything that I can do to give those two spots back? I don’t want to take up two of the daily spots if they are not going to be used.

  6. drove up at the last minute to the BLM office got my number, about third number called was mine and we got our permit, super lucky. A few people were pissed because we just popped in and got a permit. I guess it was meant to be.

  7. You need a permit to hike here. Such a horrible law. Everyone should be able to enjoy the beauty of nature. Everyone. I bought plane tickets for myself and my family to visit The Wave, only to find out you have to go through a process, apply, and go through a lottery JUST TO HIKE. The same applies to Zion National Park. How sad. “Oh, b-but the permits are for a few people per day so it helps preserve nature!” Wrong. These formations were created when dinosaurs walked on Earth. 300+ tourists per day isn’t going to do anything. And by the way, people who travel out of their way to hike places like this are people who respect nature and enjoy the beauty of it. No one travels to these places with malicious intentions. Has that ever happened? I felt cheated when I learned you need permits to hike in open nature. I’m in my 20’s and already sounds like an old, bitter man because of all this.

    1. I’m sorry to hear you booked tickets and then discovered you needed permits. You do not need a permit to visit Zion National Park however. Let us know if we can be any support in helping plan our your itinerary! -Kim

    2. No permits and you’d get way more than 300 people tramping all over the site. Have a look at the Antelope Canyons to see how bad it would get and you have to pay bucks to visit there.

    3. The reason they have the permit process is to try and preserve the area. if you want to be angry, it should be at the people who litter and vandalize, because they are the ones that spoil it for everyone. This results in regulations to try to prevent this abuse.
      Dogs are NOT allowed at the wave and I don’t think they should be. We were just hiking near Mesa, Arizona at the wave cave and the trailhead was littered with dog crap bags. How ridiculous! This is the kind of nonsense that makes these special places harder to access.

      1. Was at the Blm office today and they do allow dogs. (Sorry) I’m sure last year they weren’t allowed but I guess they have changed the rules. I hope people remember to be respectful of the environment!

      2. We were at the Wave trail outside of Mesa, AZ in Feb of ’20 … no dog poop noted … trail was clean ….

    4. think yourself lucky that bill gates hasn’t brought this place as well ? he wants to own all of americas free land. the good bit is, that thanks to the generous sharing of their photos, i don’t have to hike to america to see its beauty. the weird bi is that they call it a national park for the enjoyment of all, and your taxes pay for its maintenance, but then, they want to charge you again, to actually use it. how’s that for bitter ?

  8. What are the weather conditions there during the Dec-Feb timeframe? I’m fairly familiar with the weather in St George (nearby southern Utah) and it seems they only get one or two small snowstorms during this time.

    1. The weather in the winter is cold. Snow is possible but less likely. You could also get a nice sunny day in the middle of winter…so it’s hard to predict.

  9. It does not help when people who deface BLM or National Park land are given only a slap on the wrist-200 hrs comm service. There was a lady, I’m sorry woman-Casey Nocket, from San Diego, CA who defaced a lot of government property in BLM/Natl Park. She was only caught because of her numerous postings on social media. When they caught her, they gave her a slap on the wrist. I have seen people get punished far worse for a speeding ticket. The damage she did amounted to many thousands of dollars. Yet, the govt. chose to do almost nothing. How stupid! Andre Saraiva, a Frenchman, received only $275 fine for defacing Joshua Tree-people pay more when they go in the carpool lane-amazing.

  10. I’m a bit confused on the wave subject; I understand the permit part to enter the area, but is there an area where I can see the wave even if I don’t go in? A higher point that look down on it and doesn’t require permit?
    Thank you!

    1. Hi Elizabet, the only way to view the wave is by physically hiking in. There isn’t an elevated viewpoint.

  11. Thank you for sharing photos of a place I will never get to go. It is a place filled with rare beauty!

  12. We hike the wave on 8/28/17 few things I would like to say so hopefully everyone makes it their safe and back safe. 1. Go early hot as hell out their no shade at all ! Leave early go see the wave and come back before 3 pm hottest time of day ! If you have any trouble with hiking do not go it is not a easy hike high hills and deep sand, it is a hard hike. 2. BLM office gave us a picture map told us to follow that this had pictures that must have been taken years ago nothing looked like what the pictures showed us. BLM office also told us not to use a GPS and use their picture map instead we did both and had we not had GPS on the way back we would have gotten lost and never made it back sure glad we had GPS, I would suggest using map and GPS ! Everything looks the same out their. 3. Bring lots of water ! 4. Lastly the road going in is rough and can be hard if it rains. 5. Have fun its well worth it so glad we got to go. I would do it again. The reason I am writing this is after getting back we read about some deaths on the hike in 2013 and can why these people had trouble. I do not feel this hike is for everyone It is hard and no shade at all.

    1. Tim, did you see or are there any park rangers on the hike to help if you get lost? Either at the wave/on the trail/at the trailhead? Also curious if they track people to make sure everyone comes out that goes in…

  13. Thanks for the article, very helpful for planning our trip for next year. Is the trailhead accessible in an RV? There is a message on the BLM site saying that the road from Highway 89 is not maintained.

    1. It depends how long of an RV I think. The road is dirt and can be pretty bumpy. Conditions vary depending on the time of the year. I’d call the ranger and ask.

  14. I have submitted several times for a permit and not struck it yet but I will persist since this is a bucket list hike. Thanks so much for your post, it is motivating!!

  15. a few questions:
    1. is it better to apply for the lottery later in the month to see which days have fewer applicants? is there any advantage to applying the moment the lottery opens form your month?
    2. how many people can hike under one lottery pass?

  16. Is there a place to just look at the wave? My husband has MS, and a hike my not be the best option, but we would love to see this beautiful site.

    1. Hi Susie, great question! Unfortunately, no there isn’t a viewing platform or way to view the Wave without hiking to it. There are some really awesome Youtube videos of the Wave that are shot by drone. Sorry about that!

    1. Hey Ernie, not sure about that. I assume they are as it isn’t a National Park but you could reach out to the BLM office for the Paria Canyon/Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness to check.

  17. Great article thank you also for great pics.i lived in az for 10 yrs and its still on my bucket list to hike the wave.

  18. Awesome read. I’m looking forward to visiting and exploring this magnificent creation of God. However, not so happy about the lottery and all the planning, but being a military wife prepares one for everything.

  19. Thank you so much for putting this website together! This made it a lot easier for me to plan and have a back-up incase we aren’t selected for the lottery. Did you have a chance to see the dinosaur footprints? We wanted to see the Moenkopi Dinosaur Tracks on Hwy 160 near Tuba City but that was before we knew there were also exposed footprints near The Wave. Is there any more information you can provide?

  20. I understand the purpose of the lottery but still think it’s stupid. At least 100 ppl should be allowed so you have a chance to visit this place. I will have a chance one or twice to visit Utah and will never be able to coordinate my trip with lottery permits. I would be willing to pay more or go with organized tour and be ablle to see it

  21. Hi!
    Thanks for your article! Its really detailed and helpful!
    I know it may sound a little crazy, but do you think it’s possible to visit the wave with a 2 years old baby in a carrier?

    1. Hi Sang, it really is up to you. It depends on how many times you’ve hiked with a baby carrier and the comfort of the child for all periods in the carrier. You could hike as far as you feel safe & comfortable and then head back.

  22. Thanks for the information , realized i missed the lottery for may 2018 , is there more beautiful tracks in the area whiteout a permit ?

  23. Hmm, I feel like I’m missing something and I’m sorry if it’s obvious, but you write “Best Season: Spring and Fall (more on that below)” and yet I don’t see a follow-up to that. Is it because it’s less hot? Less rainy? Or is it simply because you have a better chance of getting a permit? Thanks!

  24. Hi Kirsten,
    I’m hoping you can help me with the following,
    I won the on line lottery draw pulled 1st April for 8th July hike to the Wave. I received notification & receipt for our permits after making payment, which advised that the permits were to be posted out to me ( I’m in the UK) however I have not received them as of yet.. I have messaged twice to ask for confirmation if they have been sent or when to expect them to be sent & have not received a response which is disappointing as well as worrying. Any ideas as to when they actually process the permits ?

  25. Good evening,
    I applied for a Wave permit but unfortunately the dates I chose in August 2018 didn’t become available through the lottery.
    I read that the winners have 14 days to pay for the permit online but in case of nonpayment the permit is released back to the system. When do the dates become publicly available in this case? After 14 days? Or the first day of the next month?
    It means that if the lottery run on 1st of May I should check the calendar on 15th or 16th of May? At what time? Or on 1st of June from 9:00 a.m.?
    Thank you in advance.
    Kind regards,

  26. I have seen lottery permits available after people not paying for them by the 15th of the drawing month. Just be at BLM website around 12pm – 12:45pm Mountain Time. Make sure you have real fast typing fingers and credit card number ready!
    They usually last merely 10-15 seconds, first click first pay first get them.
    I got mine’s like that.

  27. Am I correct that The Wave is only open during the day? If so, what are the hours the trail opens and closes? The BLM states “day,” but I haven’t found the actual hours for the trail – just the office hours for the permit. Maybe I missed it and apologize for any inconvenience.

    1. Hey Conrad, you are right, overnight camping is not allowed in the Wave. Essentially the “hours” for the trail are then sunrise to sunset.

      1. What would make sense for a 3-5 day driving tour of the surrounding parks assuming the wave was in the middle of the trip? Flexible on which natl parks/sights but hoping for bryce, zion, or arches, dino tracks, etc. I would be flying in from seattle and husband from lax so little overwhelmed on where to fly in to and and what direction to drive so as not to be going back and forth??
        also what is your website theme?

        1. Hi Kina, I would recommend flying into Las Vegas and doing Day 1 – Zion Canyon, Day 2- Bryce Canyon, Day 3 – The Wave, Day 4- Dino Tracks, and then Day 5 – Arches. You’d need a 6th day though to drive all the way back to Las Vegas Airport or you could fly out of Flagstaff, AZ or Salt Lake City, UT as well. If you were to fly into Las Vegas and need to cut a park I would cut Arches since it is the farthest out.

  28. Hi,
    Thank you so much for this article.
    I won the lottery for 4 people. However 2 of them are going to take their own car.
    What does the parking look like around the park? I think you only get one parking permit per lottery win. Is there a parking lot nearby where I can meet them and park my car during the day?
    Also, When is a good time to get there? We were thinking maybe 9-10 am

    1. Hey there Melina! Those are great questions–you can call the Vermillion Cliffs National Monuments staff to get an answer, (435) 688-3200.

  29. Is this a trail we can easily get lost on? Thinking of going with some people am insure of their experience level. Also is going in December crazy?

    1. Hello Christine, navigational skills are important for the Wave. It is a trail that you could get easily get lost on so you need to have a map & basic navigational skills. December isn’t crazy but you’ll want to be prepared for cold mornings/evenings and check conditions before heading out.

  30. Hello – thank you for putting the info on the wave trail. This really helps out. Would you happen to know if there is a limit on how large a group can be when applying for on-line lottery?

  31. hi
    is it worthwhile to get to the wave area if we don’t have permission to get in ? in another word is there is nice and similar trail in the region

  32. Thank you so much for the information. How early am I allowed to start the hiking in the morning? Is there a gate at the highway and House Rock Valley Road? If there is a gate, when does it open in the morning?

  33. Hello! We won permits for April 13 2019, Applied for 6, when we went to register they reduced to 4 , yet charged and paid for 6. Have you ever heard of this? Thanks for not help! And this forum.

    1. Hi Monica, we have definitely never heard of that but potentially it’s just an online glitch. I would call the ranger station and chat with them. Best of luck! Enjoy the wave!

  34. I won lottery tickets for three of us to hike the Wave in June of 2019. Unfortunately I (the lottery winner living in Florida) might not be able to make the trip myself but the other two guys are still planning on going. What do I have to do to make sure the lottery hiking tickets, for the won date, will be honored and the other two people will be able to go even if I , the lottery winner, could not make the trip???

  35. Stunning rock formations…I have never seen anything like that on any of my hikes. The closest hike to this I have been on was Red Rock Canyon in Las Vegas. But this is so different still!

    1. Hi there,
      I have a permit hiking the wave on July 12. Since you were there recently, can you please let me know step by step direction from Kanab including driving direction and parking sports?
      Thank you very much in advance for your suggestions.

      1. Hi there, Kiran! You’re going to want to reach out to the Vistor’s Center in Kanab, Utah for driving directions & parking information. Their phone number is (435) 644-1300

  36. when i saw photos of the wave i knew i wanted to see it,reading your post made me feel like i was really there and and now i most definatly want to go there!
    It was a very good informative read and i will be using all the valuable info you provided.
    My son is stationed in Utah and “the wave” on my list the next time i visit him.
    I fell in love with Utah when i spent a month last October with him, and my dream is to return there to live.
    Thanks for the wonderful post

  37. My wife and I visited the Wave recently. It truly is a unique experience. We read many posts, watched videos and did our best to prepare for the hike, but for us, it was a long and hard hike. We’re not hikers, or fit, so it took us about 7.5 hours round trip to get to the wave. We drank every drop of water we had (2L) brought fruit and snacks, and wore long sleeved shirts and hats. Heat stroke/sun stroke is very possible, and we were ready for that aspect of the hike. Long sleeved shirts, a wide hat and bring something to cover your neck ( scarf or turtleneck ) so you don’t get burnt. I know it sounds rediculous but if your not prepared, you will get a nasty sun burn. We stopped many times to empty our shoes of sand. Hiking poles for me was a must have, as was a good pair of gripping hiking shoes. It was an exhausting hike for us, but we did it!

    1. If you are going for a walk up permit, this is what it says on the website “Only one person per group may enter the drawing. If more than one member from your group submits an application, your group will be disqualified from the lottery.”

  38. Thanks for this. Question about the last 8 miles on the dirt road – since we will be getting a car rental, would the typical Nissan Ford Focus etc be able to navigate this? Or should we rent an SUV?

    1. Hi there, Noa!
      Last I checked, the road would be okay for a small car. It’s best to drive slowly and pay attention when going through washes, but otherwise, you should be fine. If possible, you’d be better in an SUV in case there’s deep sand, but I’ve heard of a lot of people having no problems with regular cars. Enjoy your time! – Mary Kathryn

  39. Great info! Thank you for all of the details. It’s a pain but I’m glad they limit the daily visitors to protect the site. I am an Arizona native and still have never been to the wave. Maybe this year will be my chance! Such beautiful scenery in that part of the state.

  40. Lame. People are already ruining the outdoors with over use. Thanks for speeding that up with your posts. If you really cared you wouldn’t do that. I’d rather never know about cool places than hear about it on the net.

  41. Hi, I’m coming from Europe and have very detailed schedule for my trip. I can’t depend on some lottery to see things on my way. This entire system is wrong. Normal way to preserve nature is to have a payed guided tour with limited number of people per group and limited time to spend on a location. Let’s say 1 hour on a location is enough, 20 people per group, 12 groups per day.
    And it is insane to have unmarked trails in the desert!?!? Hiking trails must be well marked so that people do not get lost.

  42. I Really enjoyed reading your article it was absolutely magnificent. You are amazing and I promise to visit your website often to read more wonderful posts.

  43. Thanks for writing this! Are there any months that you would NOT recommend going to the wave? In terms of high temps? (That’s maybe above 85 degrees for me!! Lol) is the wave similar to Moab?

    1. It’s definitely better to hike the Wave outside of the hot summer months of June-August, which can top 100 degrees. That being said, it’s very competitive to get a permit, so if you can only get a summer-month permit, be sure to get an early start and bring lots of water and sun protection.

  44. Hello, I won a lottery permit on recreation.gov but when I enter the permit information, it asked about the information of (license plate number, etc) the vehicle I will bring over to the trail. I don’t have that information right now because I probable will bring a rental vehicle. Has anyone seen this? How did you fill the form?

    1. Hi Jason – I would reach out to the Kanab Visitor Center. They’ll be able to help you through the permit process.

  45. Hi! Thank you so much for your article I really appreciate all your useful information. I have a few questions that I just can’t seem to figure out.
    Could explain what permit I’d need in order to hike The Wire to Buckskin Gulch? Originally I saw it was the Paria Canyon, but I’m confused based on how close the trailheads are together. If this hike is under the Paria Canyon permit how many permits are given per day for the Paria Canyon and how fast do they fill up?
    Ideally my plan was to get a walk-in permit for me and my three family members for Coyote Buttes North, but if we don’t I wanted to also join the lottery for Coyote Buttes South. I’m wondering if you know the difficulty level of the hike at Coyote Buttes South.
    I’m a little confused on which permit is needed to go where and I don’t want to be in the wrong spot with the wrong permit. I was hoping to hike The Wave (if we get a permit) and do The Wire to Buckskin Gulch, but I see on the BLM website we can’t have two permits for two permit only places. Can you explain that to me? Would that mean I can’t do The Wave (Coyote Buttes North Permit) and The Wire to Buckskin Gulch (Paria Canyon Permit) on the same day?
    I appreciate any help! Getting a little lost in the shuffle right now!

    1. Hi Caleigh – we cover Buckskin Gulch in our Best Hikes in Utah post. As for hiking both the Wave and Buckskin Gulch in one day, I recommend contacting the BLM Paria Contact Station for the most up-to-date information.

      1. Thank you so much! Your Best Hikes in Utah post is so helpful as well! Thank you for sharing your amazing hotspots!

  46. I am a proud permit holder for a trip to the wave this coming October. I have 3 people coming with me and I did not designate any of them as an alternate permit holder. If one of them were unable to go, would I be able to give their spot to somebody else?

    1. Typically you need to designate an alternate on your permit application. I would recommend contacting the ranger station to see if you can add an alternate.

  47. Hello anyone out there has hired a guide. they are quite expensive but perhaps totally worthy of the money – so you won’t Get lost. I have read the tit is easy to get lost. I am going in Feb of 2022. so excited . I won the lottery the first time I play.

  48. We won the lottery and are going March 15 2022. My question is it necessary to attend the talk the day before? We are doing a workdwind tour of 9 days and I did not plan to be in the area the morning before the hike. What is your recommendation? If I need to attend the meeting it will take away time from Bryce Canyon that day?

    1. Hi Kim, congrats on winning the lottery to hike! Are you referencing the walk-up permit process that happens the day before? Since you already have permits, no you would not need to attend. If there is another day-before talk you’re seeing, I would reach out directly to the Bureau of Land Management to confirm. Enjoy your trip!

  49. Thank you. The information is very interesting and I really want to go there and the scenery is also beautiful.

    I live near Lake Toba and am used to climbing Mount Sinabung and Sibayak. I feel it’s not complete if i haven’t hiked the Wave in Arizona.

    1. Hi Angee, great question! It looks like yes – it’s $9 to apply for the 2-day lottery, and if you receive a permit, it’ll be $7/person, which is not included in the application fee.

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