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The Wave Trail is a 6.3 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Kanab, Utah that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking and is best used from October until May. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

Length 6.3 mi Elevation gain 1,174 ft Route type Out & Back

Dog friendly

Hiking

Views

Wild flowers

Rocky

Description
Waypoints (4)
Contact
Getting There

NOTE: A permit is required for this hike. To attain the permit you must win it through the permit lottery. There is a maximum fine of $100,000 and/or jail time if you enter the permit area without a valid permit which is by lottery only. While dogs are currently allowed in this permit area, this is a harsh environment with no water and extreme heat during the warmer months. The trail is best used from October through May. Walk across the road, to the east, and locate the hikers path. Sign in at the register box and read pertinent information. Soon the path drops into a wash. Walk down the wash (east) for .6 miles. Look for the signed path of use on the right side, above the wash, exiting Wire Pass Wash. Hiking becomes steep for the next few hundred yards, as an old 4WD road is followed to the top of the ridge and to the second register box. Once again, stop and sign in at the register. Shortly after leaving the register box, there may be an indication that the trail splits. Taking the left-hand fork is easier traveling. It continues east and passes large rock domes on the flats below. After passing the domes, the trail soon drops into a wash. It will be necessary to cross the wash and approach the slickrock ridge to the east of the wash. Continue to the east, up and over the slickrock ridge. Once on top, work down the east side (backside) of the ridge, but start bearing to the south (hikers right), and stay as high as it is comfortable, on the steep slopes of the ridge on the right. Landmarks to locate the Wave Vertical Crack or Notch Looking south, a large slickrock mountain comes into view. There is a long, vertical crack in the mountain. This crack becomes the landmark to steer toward for the next mile. The Wave is located beneath the mountain with the crack. On the way, remember to stay as high as comfort allows, hugging the sandstone slabs on hikers right. The Wave landmark - Notch Twin Buttes As travel continues south, two large buttes come into view. These are called the Twin Buttes, and come almost halfway through the hike. They are easier passed by walking up the slickrock bowl and going around the right side. A wash is encountered .5 miles after rounding the Twin Buttes. Multi-colored Domes Peer across the wash and notice the multicolored domes on the opposite side of the wash. These and the less obvious sandstone formations to the right are the Wave. Walk down into the wash, locate the dead juniper tree and the sandy path that leads up to the Wave. The Wave The area called Top Rock, is a collection of white Navajo sandstone formations. The south end of Top Rock divides North and South Coyote Buttes. The Wave is a chasm located on the northwest edge of Top Rock. The Wave is about .04 miles south of the Arizona and Utah state line. Top Arch Most hikers never venture this far past the Wave. This section involves third class scrambling. Only those experienced in slickrock scrambling should attempt to go to the arch and beyond. Continue up the sandstone, heading toward the right. Locate the arch at the top of the mountain. Find the easiest path to travel up the steep slickrock. The arch is approached from the backside of the mountain. From the arch, the red cones of South Coyote Butte are visible. Alcove This hidden treasure is rarely found by hikers. To locate the alcove, return the way you approached the arch. This time stay to the left, hiking over crossbedded sandstone. In the alcove, fine grains of sand have been tossed and turned, wielded by wind, leaving a sculptured creation carefully piled in its bowels. Melody Arch - Grotto - Window From the alcove, scramble up and left of the alcove to attain the top. Once on top, travel southeast, following the maze of ridges and desert tanks, staying as high as possible. Steer toward the eastern edge of the cap rock. Soon a chasm appears in front. Look down and into the grotto that contains the window and Melody Arch. Backtrack far enough to find an easy route down into one of the tanks, scramble out the backside and slide down into the Melody Arch Grotto. Dinosaur Tracks From the Wave: The small reptile tracks are on the other side of the wash, opposite of the Wave. To locate them, cross back over the wash and travel up to the level ground on the north side of the wash. Rather than retracing the return path back to Wire Pass parking, hike to the west. Stay against the steep slickrock mountain, as high as possible. The Wave can actually be seen from the tracks. The GPS coordinates given are to one track. Look around to locate many more, within 100 yards. Many of the tracks are found at the base of the steep slickrock slab to the north, and are in pinkish colored rock, just before the slabs become seemingly impossible to ascend. The footprints appear to be from small bipedal dinosaurs, most likely Grallator (Megapnosaurus) and Anomoepus.

The Wave is located in the Coyote Buttes area south of US Highway 89 between Page, Arizona, and Kanab, Utah. The hike begins at the Wire Pass Trailhead on unpaved House Rock Valley Road in the Paria Canyon - Vermillion Cliffs Wilderness. The turnoff from US 89 onto House Rock Valley Road is not signed, but it's located between mile markers 25 and 26 about 40 miles east of Kanab or 34 miles west of Page. This turnoff is 4 miles west of the Paria Ranger Station where you may have obtained your permit. About 4.2 miles south of US 89 on House Rock Valley Road, you pass the Buckskin Trailhead on your left. Then, 3.7 miles further is the Wire Pass Trailhead with a large parking area and restrooms. The parking area is on the right (heading southbound), but the actual trailhead is on the left. Trailhead coordinates: 37 degrees 1.19'N / 112 degrees 1.48'W

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (409)
Photos (993)
Recordings (340)
Completed (832)
Diamond A
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 28, 2020
No shade

Gorgeous and easy hike. So many desert structures and features that seem out of this world. I feel so lucky to have won the lottery for the permits to experience this area. I re-applied for permits for November. Need to explore more

Jeff Kempski
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 27, 2020
HikingNo shadeRocky

Beautiful hike! Wear plenty of sunscreen and bring a good amount of water. Good luck with the lottery system online.

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Meghan Brosky
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 24, 2020
HikingNo shadeRocky

The Wave was absolutely stunning and for sure a once in a lifetime experience that you don’t want to miss! Bring lots of water it tends to get hot very quickly after early morning and into before the sun sets. It is so breathtaking and I really recommend doing as many tries of the lottery that is necessary so that you can see this natural beauty.

Chris Brosky
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 24, 2020
HikingNo shadeRocky

So worth paying the $5 lottery fee several times to win permits for this hike. Most gorgeous sandstone formations we have ever seen. Bring LOTS of water and a hat because it’s blazing hot out there this time of year (July). There was also a ranger wandering around checking everyone’s permit number who made it up there. So be warned, needing a permit is a real thing that is enforced.

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Pavel Efremov
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 24, 2020
HikingFeeNo shadeOff trailRockyScramble

Did this at the end of July. The Wave is shadow free around Noon. Second Wave, Top Rock Arch, Dune and Melody Arch are pretty cool as well.

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Kyla Padbury
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 22, 2020
HikingNo shade

Hiked on July 5th. 100 degrees, no shade, still worth it. Grateful I was able to get a permit so I could see this natural wonder. The BLM maps are helpful and so is a compass! They aren’t kidding about water- bring more than you’ll think you need. Highly recommend plenty of sunscreen!! I’m still burned weeks later.

D Alex Matuszeski
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 18, 2020
No shadeOff trailRocky

The hike to the Wave is more of a route than a defined trail but the BLM gives you an excellent guide with pictures and landmarks once you get the permit. More than half of the way is in the Coyote Buttes Wilderness area which is a confection of whimsical sandstone features. Then you get to The Wave itself which is so gracefully beautiful that it is in my top 10. Not to be missed if you are lucky enough to get in.

Katie Kaighin
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 27, 2020
Hiking

Bucket list hike! I have been throwing my name into the permit lottery for about 2 years and received word March 1 that I had 2 permits for June. Then Covid hit and although it was harder to get there than before, I was so grateful to the BLM for keeping it open. The Wave is breathtaking. The trail was easy for us with the map from BLM which has photos and great directions. We arrived at the trailhead at 5:30a and hiked in as the sun was staring to rise. The light when we got The Wave was perfect for photos. We scrambled up some of the rocks around the Wave and enjoyed the solitude for several hours. Early is the way to go. BLM was checking permits so please respect the rules. This area is too sensitive to over hike.

Charlie Maynard
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 25, 2020
HikingScramble

I followed the AllTrails trail + BLM map and it wasn’t too hard to navigate to the wave. Coming back my GPS was handy though. If you want to go to the other stops near the wave (the two arches, 2nd wave, and the dune), then it will require scrambling and you must be ok with heights. I mostly used the alltrails map for these other locations but I did have to deviate some... I applied for a 1-person permit and got it on the first try. Respect the permitting rules, there were BLM employees along the trail who checked.

Evan Caldwell
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 21, 2020
HikingFee

If you know, you know. Permits are competitive and the hike is not easy. But it’s absolutely worth it. The Wave is psychedelic, beautiful, and amazing. The trail is mostly unmarked expect for BLM checkpoint signs. Deep sand and elevation changes make this hike harder than the distance would imply, so bring plenty of water. You’ll want to go slow and enjoy the once in a lifetime experience!

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Guillermo Picasso
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 20, 2020
Hiking

Great! Easy hike, as long as you are well hydrated and start early.

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Matt Corley
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 16, 2020
HikingOff trailScramble

The Wave has lived up to the grand expectations. Absolutely worth the years of failed permit lotteries. This time the luck was with me and I got a permit on the first walk-in lottery held since the pandemic started. Not the best of weather days with big wind gusts and giant ash clouds blowing in from the big fire in Northern Arizona, but that was irrelevant - The Wave was still utterly brilliant and the hike out was a great romp across the desert landscape. Loved every moment of the 6.5 hours that I spent out there. Less talked about it seems is what it takes to get to the top of the formation (above The Wave) to see the arches and the grotto. Getting up to the top on The Wave side of the formation is completely dependent on having truly excellent slickrock scrambling skills and a lot of nerve to boot. However, there is a backside route far on the other side (east side) of the outcropping that only requires basic slickrock experience (but please note that even the easy way up is not a beginner route and there is still plenty of risk of injury or worse if you are not careful, confident and competent). . Anyway, there is a wide ledge on the southern part of the east side that can be accessed quite easily (relatively speaking - you can scramble up without your hands) at a spot just below the window in the cliff face. From there you can loop around uphill to the right (relative to looking at the window) past a large sand spill and quite easily find yourself right on the roof in only about 10-15 minutes.. .It took me a few miles and three failed attempts at more difficult spots while being battered by the wind gusts before I found the easy route. The wind was really funnelling on top though - felt like hurricane force gusts - so I didn't venture across the narrower saddle over to the Top Arch since that saddle seemed to be the epicenter of the wind funnel Anyway it was a great day and the hike and the scrambling was good fun. And then of course I was in The Wave!

View Matt's Recording
Andrew Gregg
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMay 19, 2020
Hiking

All I can say is wow. Started at the trailhead at around 430am. Made it to the wave at 430am AZ time (took about 60 mins). Got to see the sun rise from melody arch. Life changing experience, this is one of the best hikes I’ve ever done! Spend the time when you’re out there to explore everything.

Michael Kolodzie
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMay 18, 2020
HikingOff trail

Hiking The Wave Our photos of the Wave cannot begin to express the beauty of this gorgeous red sandstone formation in the Vermilion Cliffs National Monument. Hiking to the WAVE was actually easier than getting the permit. Due to the overwhelming popularity of the site, the Bureau of Land Management has limited foot traffic to 20 people per day. That’s right – only 20 people are allowed to the Wave at a time, thus preserving the integrity and beauty of the Wave. In 2017 , there were over 160,000 applicants. Ten online permits and ten walk in permits are issued each day. Only one person from each group is allowed to submit an application. We were lucky enough to be selected on our 4th walk in attempt. We were one out of 73 applicants (the first time we tried there were 189 applying). The lady next to us tried to win the walk-in lottery fourteen times with zero luck. Needless to say, hiking the Wave requires patience, planning and just pure luck. We are so happy that lady luck called our number. Our time in the Wave was absolutely amazing! To date, we have never visited any place in the world as remarkable 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 so much more enjoyable. In silent splendor you can admire the wonder of Mother Nature's creative processes.

howie oren
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMay 7, 2020
HikingOff trailRocky

I have been here 2 times but on my 3rd attempt wasn't able to secure a permit. The permit process takes place in Kanab at the Grand Staircase-Escalante Nat. Visitor Centers. You along with the likes of everyone else get an action packed adventure trying to secure a spot. Small groups are easiest. The hike can be a beast during the summer so prepare well and take plenty of water as there is no water fountains along the way. The trail is not marked so you will have to follow some careful instructions on how to get there. There is some land navigation skills required.

Cole Nasrallah
Yellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarMay 3, 2020

I've rated this map and the trail one star. the actual wave is beautiful. This map actually takes hikers way up a mountain side, well beyond the wave. The BLM route also runs basically past the wave. I've uploaded a screenshot of the hot mess of a hike I ended up going on because of these poorly labeled maps.

Nick Asreen
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarApril 20, 2020
HikingOff trailRocky

Solid hike, nothing major. Def follow the map on here to get to the actual wave. Got lucky and saw 3 California Condors on the way back, definitely the highlight of the day.

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Christine Antaya
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarApril 14, 2020
No shadeRockyScramble

Amazing! Words cant describe. yes the wave was absolutely amazing the the entire area, the landscape felt like I was on some far away distant planet. Wow!!! the last mile was definitely a challenge but soo worth it.

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