Where is the Wave in Arizona?: A One stop Tour Guide

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where is the wave in arizona
Photo by Mark Nemenzo on Unsplash

Where is the wave in Arizona, and what’s so special about it?

There is no need to think much as we will guide you with everything about the Wave, Arizona.

The wave is a well-known photographed sandstone formation that you can witness when you visit Coyote Buttes North area in Northern Arizona. Situated on Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs National Monument slopes, this uniquely amusing formation is set in the wilderness.

Visiting this area can be pretty complicated and hard to access. Many people wonder where the wave is in Arizona. And wonder if we can ever watch this Earth’s gift in real.

If you are considering visiting Northern Arizona to witness this natural wonder, you’ve come to the right place!

Let’s start with the basic information and then cover everything you need to know, and by the end, you’ll surely be full of knowledge before visiting The Wave.

1. A Brief about The Wave

Before moving further, let’s review basic information regarding The Wave in Coyote Buttes North.

1.1. Location

The first question you might encounter is: where is the wave in Arizona? The wave is situated in Arizona, United States. The famous formation is formed on the sloped of Paria Canyon and Vermilion Cliffs National monument in North Coyote Buttes of the Colorado Plateau.

  •  Where is the Wave in Arizona concerning Kanab, Utah?

The Kanab Utah is just an hour’s drive away from the Wave. The total distance from Kanab to the Wave is 47 miles.

  •  Where is the Wave in Arizona concerning Page Arizona?

The Northern Arizona city, The Page, is an hour’s drive away from the Wave. The total distance from Page in Arizona to the Wave is 44 miles.

  • Where is the Wave in Arizona concerning Grand Canyon South Rim?

The drive from Grand Canyon South Rim to the Wave trailhead is a total of 3 and a half hours. The distance from Gran Canyon South Rim to the Wave is 181 miles.

where is the wave in Arizona
Photo by Christopher Ruel on Unsplash

1.2. What is the Age of The Wave?

The wave formation of Northern Arizona is quite old. It falls back to the Jurrasic age. Over time this place has been through numerous erosive rifts.

1.3. How was the wave formed?

The formation of The Wave has been a long process. Over time, the vertical and horizontal calcified Navajo Sandstone dunes have turned into compact and hardened rocks. The fluctuating formations were a result of rain and wind erosion. All these phenomena lead to the formation of this natural wonder, “The Wave.”

1.4. How do you get to the Wave?

The easiest access point to the wave is the parking of Wire Pass Trailhead. To reach the Wire Pass Trailhead, take the House Rock Valley Road from Highway 89.

1.5. When to go?

December-February will be when you easily get the permit except on Christmas and New Year eves. Although you will get the permit during these months due to snowfall, hiking in these dunes will be a lot more challenging than usual.

Also, you’ll not get exposure to South Coyote Buttes as this part is deep and snow lasts longer here.

March-May is a good period to visit Wave in Coyote Buttes. You get the company of moderate temperatures and low cloud covers. Thus, getting a permit to enter Coyote Buttes North is hard. If you are going there for photography purposes, then you’ll be able to get good clicks of the Boneyard and Sand Cove.

If you won’t mind the heat, June is also a great month to visit, as permits are comparatively easier to get. You can also witness beautiful night photography.

During July-August, do not forget to carry a gallon of water. The heat issue is real, and you must be careful about the visiting time as mornings are more tolerable than peak afternoon hours. Again, permits are quite easy to get during these months.

The ideal months to visit the Wave in Coyote Buttes North are September to November. Be careful to get the permit on time as, during these peak months, accessibility to permits is quite difficult as the permit lottery gets sold out easily.

1.6. Airports nearby The Wave in Coyote Buttes

The closest airports to the Wave are-

Regional Airport: St George in Utah

International Airport: Las Vegas McCarran in Nevada

The wave is only a 2.5-hour drive from the regional airport; from the International Airport to the wave, the drive is 4.20 hours.

2. Hiking in the Wave in Coyote Buttes North

Many people thrive on hiking to the Wave in the mid of Coyote Buttes North. Although it is a physically demanding hike route with a hard-to-get permit lottery, hikers tend to visit this place for its beautiful landscapes.

where is the wave in arizona
Photo by Joshua Earle on Unsplash

So if you want to visit and hike to the wave, a beautiful natural wonder with harsh weather conditions and strict regulations for visiting, let us guide you for a smooth hike in Coyote Buttes North.

2.1. Statistics of the hike to the wave

  • Distance: approx 6 miles(roundtrip)
  • Time Duration: 3-4 hours
  • Difficulty: Moderately difficult hike
  • Elevation: 450 ft +
  • Hike route: Wire Pass Trailhead
  • Are dogs allowed: Yes

2.2. Is the Hike to the Wave Difficult?

The hike to the wave can be considered a moderate hike in difficulty aspects. The full trailhead is not full of elevations and difficult cuts. In some parts, you can find the trailhead flat and easy to pass; in others, you will find a few challenging paths.

It also depends on person to person; if you are a beginner, you might think it is not easy. But hiking to the wave is generally regarded as a moderate trailhead.

Hiking can be difficult during peak summer time and can cause heat strokes.

To enjoy a good adrenaline rush, this trailhead is perfect, with a few challenging paths and little flat surfaces to finally come to your destination: the Wave.

The final location makes it worth hiking this trailhead.

2.3. Is the Hike to the Wave Lengthy?

The direct hike to the wave is a 6 miles roundtrip hike. But if you are interested iningin visiting other beautiful rock formations, the length of the hike to the wave can go up to a few more miles.

If you get the permit to visit the Wave, it is a great idea to witness other natural wonders of Northern Arizona. Getting the permit is not easy, so why not utilize it fully?

2.4. What is the Elevation of the Hike to the Wave?

The hike’s elevation gain to the Wave in Coyote Buttes North is more than 450 ft.

If you add rock arch and second waves in your trailhead, the elevation can gain a few more feet as they are at higher places than the Wave.

2.5. Navigation for the Hike to the Wave

As the trailhead to the Wave is not a marked trail, it is better to know the navigation for a smooth hiking process without getting lost in the remote wilderness.

You don’t have to get anxious or worried about directions and maps; be alert and cautious regarding your surrounding.

where is the wave in arizona
Photo by Mick Haupt on Unsplash

3. How not to get lost at the Wave?

The primary way to not get lost while your hike to the wave is to keep close eyes on your map provided by the authorities before the beginning of your hike.

Just look for the landmarks marked on the map for a smooth hiking experience without getting lost.

Another simpler way is to follow your fellow hikers so that you do not need to look at the map repeatedly. But check the map if you think others are going the wrong way.

4. Getting to the Wire Pass Trailhead

The trailhead for the Wave is situated at Wire Pass Trailhead, approximately 8.5 miles from the House Rock Valley Road. It is a road made up of clay and gravel; thus, even the 4*4 vehicle sometimes fails to pass this road.

Also, this is the only way for the hike to the wave, which means if you cannot pass this road due to bad weather, you cannot move further on the Wire Pass Trailhead.

Therefore, be sure to check the weather before proceeding to make plans to visit Coyote Buttes North.

4.1. Parking for the Hike to the Wave in Coyote Buttes North

The parking for the hike to the Wave and Buckskin Gulch is common at the Wire Pass. There is no issue regarding parking space at Wire Pass, as you get plenty of parking space even on a busy day.

There is also a restroom facility in the parking lot to freshen up for your exciting day.

4.2. Time to reach the Trailhead

The ideal time to reach the trailhead for the Wave differs according to your plans. Just plan your day according to the activities you wish to enjoy during your trailhead.

Generally, there is a rush in the morning as most people come at this time.

5. What are all Things you need for the Hike?

You can consider packing:

A) Water

Bring enough water for your day hike, as you don’t want to be dehydrated in an area where getting such things is hard. At least one gallon of water is essential for a day hike.

B) Sunscreen

The next thing to pack is sunscreen. We all know applying sunscreen under the sun’s direct rays is important.

C) Snacks

Do not forget to bring lots of snacks and food for your hike to the Wave in Coyote Buttes North.

D) Map

A map is a mandatory item as the wave trailhead is not marked; thus, having a map for the hike is essential to not getting lost in the wilderness.

E) Camera

Going to such an iconic place and not getting its photograph? Not a good thought, right? Don’t forget to keep a camera for some good clicks of your hiking experience in the famous Wave.

F) Toilet Paper

You will need toilet paper for your day trip to the wave as you won’t find it in the area.

6. What to Know About Getting the Permit For the Wave?

After looking at the viral photographs of the well-known ‘The Wave’ in Coyote Buttes North, many people think alike and plan to visit it and focus on other questions such as where is the wave in Arizona? But forget the important question how to enter the Wave? How far is the Wave? What to do in the wave?

where is the wave in arizona
Photo by Dim Hou on Unsplash

Getting a wave permit is tough, but let us guide you through the process.

6.1. How to get a Permit for the Wave?

You can get a permit for the wave in two ways: online lottery and daily virtual lottery.

If your trip is planned, you can try your luck in the online lottery system. But if your trip is spontaneous or you were unsuccessful in getting an online lottery, you can try your hand at a personal lottery.

Each day, 64 permits are issued, of which 48 are issued in the online lottery, and 16 are issued for the walk-in person lottery wave permitted.

The online lottery system for advanced lottery booking costs $9 and is non-refundable under any circumstance.

  • Advanced Lottery System for the Wave in Coyote Buttes North

The application for online lottery permits starts on the 1st of every month at noon Mountain Time. For your planned date, you can book a permit for four months in an advance lottery system.

You can book it on the recreation.gov website’s Coyote Buttes North Lottery Page.

Each individual can apply only once for the permit lottery every month. Also, the wave permit is not transferrable. You can name your alternate permit holder when applying for the permit lottery.

  • Daily Lottery Permit System for the wave in coyote buttes North

The other option to get a permit for the Wave in Coyote Buttes is by the daily lottery system. Applications for the daily lottery should be given two days before the planned day.

The fee for the daily lottery is the same as for the advanced lottery, i.e., $9 for one permit. It is also a non-refundable application fee, which means even if you don’t win the lottery, you will stillo pay $9.

6.2. When you don’t get the wave permit?

The daily visitor limit for the Wave is very low. Therefore chances of getting a permit are pretty low. Many people aren’t lucky to win the lottery in any way.

So what to do when you don’t get the wave permit?

You can get a permit for the Coyote Buttes South. You cannot visit the famous ‘Wave’ but witness other similar rock formations in the Vermillion Cliffs National Wilderness area.

The Coyote Buttes South has two trails for hiking enthusiasts, accessible by a 4*4 vehicle.

6.3. Hiking the Wave without a Permit

Some people might wonder how to enter the Wave in Coyote Buttes North without a permit.

This might not be a good option, as the penalty for entering the Northern Coyote Buttes without a permit is up to $10,000.

So, think again before risking it all.

7. Places you must not miss while you’re in The Wave

If you have won the permit lottery, why not use it fully? In Coyote Buttes North, you can find other beautiful formations, such as The Second Wave, Top Rock Arch, and Sand Cove. There are many more places near the Wave, which are unique too.

7.1. Buckskin Gulch

A little hike, Buckskin Gulch, starts near the Wire Pass trailhead parking lot. When you move forward in this little hike, you’ll encounter a confluence where you can see two ways; left and right.

where is the wave in arizona
Photo by Joshua Gresham on Unsplash

The right path will take you to a more narrow passage where the walls get taller, while the left passage has shorter walls, and you can see the sun rays in between the walls.

7.2. Zion National Park

Just an hour’s drive from Kanab, Zion National Park is also a great place to visit on your trip to the Wave.

You will find many hikes here, but the popular ones are Angel’s Landing and the Narrows.

Angel’s Landing has breathtaking viewpoints but is also a challenging hike because of steep passages, which are not easy for loose-hearted people.

The Narrows is a slot canyon famous for bathing in the summertime.

7.3. The Boneyard

You will come across a yellow and brown striped area on your hike for the Wave. This area is called the Boneyard. Its name was given by a photographer called Michael Fatali.

The Boneyard has a few famous rocks called the very fragile lace rocks.

7.4. White Pocket

A 2.5-hour drive away from Kanab, White Pocket is a hidden gem near the Wave.

You can easily explore White Pocket, formed of magnificent white and orange sandstone.

You will also not find much crowd here, so you can peacefully explore this area permit-free!

7.5. Nautilus Rock

A beautiful sandstone eroded by the water near the Paria River, The Nautilus Rock is another magnificent place to visit near the Wave.

You can have very beautiful photographs at this photogenic place.

7.6. Coyote Buttes South

Part of the Paria Canyon- Vermillion Cliffs National Monument Wilderness, Coyote Buttes South is also an amazing place to visit, separated from the North Coyote Buttes by the south wall.

Also, you can get a permit for the Coyote Buttes South much more easily than North Coyote Buttes.

The formations of the Coyote Buttes South are very similar to those of the North Coyote Buttes.

You can access the Coyote Buttes South by three points: Cottonwood Cove, Lone Tree, and Paw Hole.

8. Stays near the Wave

The two cities, Kanab(Utah) and Page (Arizona), are almost the same distance from the Wave. So you can consider staying in both cities. You’ll find many affordable staying options here.

  1. La Quinta Inn and Suites, Kanab
  2. Under Canvas Lake Powell- Grand Staircase
  3. Red Canyon Cabins
  4. Country Inn 4 Suites by Radisson, Page
  5. Quail Park Lodge

9. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. Is it worth it to visit the Wave?

    The Wave is worth visiting for people who love photography and exploring unique places.

  2. How long is the hike for the Wave?

    The hike generally takes 3 hours of roundtrip. But it depends from person to person according to their choices of activities and the routes they take.

  3. Where is the Wave in Arizona?

    The wave is in Northern Coyote Buttes in Northern Arizona, nearby the Utah Arizona Border.

  4. Do we need permits for the Wave?

    Yes, a permit is mandatory for visiting the Wave.

  5. How many visitors are allowed in the Wave daily?

    A total of 64 wave permit lotteries are issued each day, of which 48 are given by the advanced lottery online permits system, and the daily permits system gives the remaining 16.

  6. Why is the Wave so famous?

    Due to the viral photographs of the formation of the Wave on social media recently, the Wave has gained so much popularity.

10. Final Thoughts

The Wave, a deep sand formation of rocks from the Jurassic age and dunes nearby, has gained significant popularity over time. Many people who see the viral photographs write another name, “The Wave,” on their bucket list.

You can visit other places on your way to the Wave, such as Dinosaur Tracks, Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument, Salt Lake City, and Cottonwood Cove.

But not everyone knows all the hurdles to visiting this magnificent natural structure.

We have answered all the major questions about it, such as Where is the Wave in Arizona? How to get a permit for the wave hike? And many more.

The wave is worth all the hurdles as the real beauty is much more than what can be seen in those viral photographs.

We hope that you visit this nature wonder soon!

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