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The Wave – Coyote Buttes – Paria Wilderness, Arizona, USA

Vermillion Cliffs National Monument, Coyote Butte, The Wave (photo: BLM, Bob Wick)
Vermillion Cliffs National Monument, Coyote Butte, The Wave (photo: BLM, Bob Wick)

The “Wave” is one of the best known rock formations in the Paria Canyon / Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness and many people know the pictures from calendars.
The Wave is situated in an area called Coyote Buttes North and a hiking permit is required.

To protect these last remaining areas, in 1984 Congress created the Paria Canyon – Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness. Coyote Buttes’ outstanding scenery, desert wildlife, colorful history, and opportunities for primitive recreation will remain free from the influence of man and are protected in this condition for future generations. Its 112,500 acres beckon adventurers who yearn for solitude, scenic splendor, and the chance to explore one of the most beautiful geologic formations in the world.

Hiking from Wire Pass to the “Wave”

Distance: about three miles (4.8 kilometers) one-way, over varied terrain. Expect sand, rocks and some short steep sections. How fast you travel depends on several factors: the size of your group; the fitness level of your slowest member; and the pace you wish to travel (quick or leisurely).

Summer temperatures can easily reasch 100F+ (more than 40 degrees Celsius). You must bring your own water and 1 Gallon is the recommended minimum.

Getting a permit: Lottery and walk-ins

There are ca. 20 permits for The Wave (Coyote Butte North) daily available.

Half of each day’s permits are available through an online lottery four months in advance. The other half is available at an in-person lottery at the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument Visitor Center in Kanab, Utah, one day in advance.

Address Kanab Visitor Center: 745 E Highway 89, Kanab, UT 84741

Tickets will be raffled off at 9am for Coyote Butte North and 10am for Coyote Butte South. You should arrive at 8 a.m. or 9 a.m. and submit your application. Application means specifying your name and the size of the group. Then you wait for the raffle.

Details can be found on the website of the BLM: https://www.blm.gov/programs/recreation/permits-and-passes/lotteries-and-permit-systems/arizona/coyote-buttes

The permit lottery for Coyote Buttes North (The Wave) is available at Recreation.gov. Be reminded, the lottery takes place 4 months ahead of the month you get the permit for.

Hike to The Wave

The suggested route to the Wave is a strenuous 6.4 mile round-trip hike. Consider the physical abilities and fitness level of all group members before applying. The hike is about 3.2 mi (5 km) each way, if you start at the ‘Wire Pass Trailhead’ or ‘The Notch Trailhead’. Summer temperatures can easily reach 40 degrees and shadows cannot be expected. 1 gallon (3-4 liters) of water should be taken with you.

Geolocation:

Latitude 37.04242° N
Longitude -112.512256° E

Map

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