The Wave Trail is a 6.2 mile lightly 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, walking, nature trips, and bird watching and is best used from March until November. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

DISTANCE
6.2 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1,167 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dog friendly

hiking

nature trips

walking

bird watching

views

wild flowers

rocky

NOTE: A permit is required for this hike. To attain the permit you must win it through the permit lottery. For information about The Wave and the permit process, call the Ranger Station at (435) 688-3230 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.

22 days ago

Hiked late April via online lottery. Guy at the BLM office was very unhelpful, his only advice was to not die out there. The road is manageable but beware your entire vehicle will be covered in red dust inside too. I did get a rock to the windshield on the way there and my car sitting in the parking lot in the hot sun all day it cracked all the way across. the hike itself is unlike anything I've done before. Even with the maps we did start veering off in the wrong direction at one point and luckily someone returning saw us and steered us back in the right direction. It's a long day and I sure wouldn't want to do it much past April. But it was so spectacular and worthwhile. I did see rangers checking for permits. very uncrowded since they let so few in which adds to the experience in my opinion. It would get trashed pretty quickly with too many people.

1 month ago

It has amazing views. Never should miss it.

hiking
1 month ago

I would like to start with the road to the trailhead. This road is grated and managed. Please don’t stress out. It’s rough in spots but drivable in most vehicles. Start early. There are also trail markers but the provided “map” from the BLM is not near as good as downloading the Alltrails map. If you feel lost, follow the footprints. There were way too many people here today and I only saw one other permit tag. I’m thinking people are taking advantage of the government shutdown. Absolutely one of the best adventures my family has done.

hiking
1 month ago

Amazing! There are so many pretty things along this hike but, the wave is

hiking
2 months ago

A mind-bending experience! Highly recommended for anybody who wants to see one of the more unique rock formations AZ has to offer. Navigating to the wave was a little difficult even with the map provided that comes with the permit. The map uses pictures to navigate you to the right place, whereas physical trail markers are few and far between. There is no clear trail to follow after you leave the Wire Pass Wash so the only guidance is the rock formations you see along the way.

The Wave area itself is a small area easily hidden amongst the other formations, but there is no doubting that you've made it once you see it! It is quite unique even among the astounding rocks around it.

You will not regret visiting here. Bring a camera and your navigational skills :)

hiking
2 months ago

An experience I’ll never forget. This backcountry is absolutely stunning. My friends and I signed up for the lottery twice. Got picked on the 2nd attempt. We arrived and made acquaintances with our fellow lottery winner and a volunteer hiker, Charlie. He ended up guiding us all the way to the Wave and giving us some lessons along the way. Best way to spend my birthday week! Try to grab a spot on the BLM page. If not, best of luck on the day you sign up at the BLM office!

hiking
2 months ago

I won the Lottery! The lottery today was for Thanksgiving & Black Friday. 90 groups, representing 264 hikers, wanted the 20 permits. I feel like Charlie from Wllly Wonka and the Chocolate factory. I was the last one called for Friday. I got the last winning ticket. My first time in the walk up lottery. Did I mention I won the Lottery?

3 months ago

Loved this trail!

hiking
4 months ago

Holy crap this hike was awesome! The lottery system keeps crowds down to 20 people per day, which you really appreciate when you arrive.

hiking
4 months ago

Absolutely fabulous. Now that I have been there, the route is easy. Caution if terrain navigating. 2nd largest slot canyon on NA very close.

hiking
4 months ago

This is the most unique place on the planet. You don’t even believe it’s Earth. It’s like staring into a prehistoric era. Unbelievable!!!

hiking
4 months ago

People who are worried about getting to trailhead with a non 4x4 vehicle, don’t! I got there with my Toyota Sienna minivan and was fine if I drove slowly.

I lucked out and got a walk in permit the first time trying ON MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND!!! Got last # that was called out!

I started early (I stayed at the Stateline campground the night before so would have a quick drive) since I can’t handle high heat very well. It was nice and cool. Trail isn’t very well marked so follow the pictures in your booklet that the ranger gives you when you get your permit! I found a couple who got lost not doing that.

Most of hike is just exposed rock and sand. Saw some random wildflowers when I went through. The Wave portion itself (and if you go just a tad further will see similar formations some call the 2nd wave) is incredible.

I got out before noon since, by then, the heat was getting to me. Worth the hike!

hiking
5 months ago

This was an amazing experience...We went on a cold, rainy, somewhat snowy day in March. We are so thankful that we hired a guide out of Kanab who had a vehicle that could get in and out. Rain on clay is almost worse than ice in Minnesota. The weather did not dampen the experience and the weather cleared just as we arrived at the Wave. We are glad that we dressed in weather appropriate layers. We received our lottery ticket in the online drawing 3 months ahead....and there were almost 300 in line the day before. So it really is the luck of the draw.

hiking
6 months ago

Do not go without a permit. BLM and the sheriff check several times a day. The fine is huge not to mention federal court and the bad karma from doing the wrong thing to Mother Nature.

Protecting the wave and surrounding area is critical. It is fragile beauty.

It took us 8 months but we finally won a permit. The effort was worth it. No one can really describe the mind boggling beauty of this hike.

It is as though you are on another planet. Enter the lottery every month until you are awarded a permit. It is truly the golden ticket.

Sandy in areas which is exhausting. Take the detailed map you get with your permit. We used it way more than I thought we would. You are on your own out there.

The ranger will stop you and examine your permit. Writing down the details. They keep careful track of who is out there.

6 months ago

Amazing!

hiking
7 months ago

Did this trail 2 years ago. A wonder! It’s the untouched backyard that mysteriously brings you back to the dinosaur era. 20 people per day are permitted, which means you won’t see any other human most of the time. Complete wilderness without any man made sign, so you have to notice the landscape then roam freely!

nature trips
7 months ago

A wonderland!

hiking
7 months ago

Simply stunning.
Permits are difficult to obtain though and you will lucky to get one.
The pre hike talk by the ranger can be a bit daunting too for the inexperienced hiker. You are warned about getting lost and the possibility of an overnight stay until you are found, wildlife, etc.
My better half almost never went but in the end relented.
Think it was the best decision she ever made. Take plenty water and go early to make a day of it.
Also, anything less than a SUV down the 8 mile dirt, potholed road from the interstate to the trailhead is likely to leave you with under carriage damage.

8 months ago

Pretty accurate until you get over the sandy hill at the end to get to the wave. Once in lifetime experience!

hiking
8 months ago

IMPORTANT: Please read and truly understand every word and the map that is provided with your permit.

Entered Houserock Valley Rd north off 89 via Page. Houserock is washboard rough rd for 7 miles south to parking. SVU is best esp is there has been rain.

Amazing hike but very poorly marked. Use the veridical slot in the mountain as your destination when you turn south. Very easy to miss the fist turn off for the wave trail head off wire pass.

1.5 mile point. As soon as you cross the sandy wash there is a marker post on a dune to head east. Follow that path up the side of the mountain “the saddle” as they call it. Very easy to miss.

From there you will head south bearing to the right along the mountain sides. The wave is in the distance at the base of the coin slot crevasse white mountain.

Annotated photos uploaded.

hiking
8 months ago

A wonderful hike and beautiful geologic feature. While The Wave was the main event for the hike and certainly worth the effort, the out and back hike and wandering around the area is fascinating. The views are endless.

10 months ago

The Wave is a once-in-a-lifetime experience! Our permits were for late March. The weather was perfect, it drizzled at times which kept the temperature perfect. We didn't use a compass or GPS... probably would've found it faster if we had. It was a rough hike for the non-hiker in the group.

10 months ago

Amazing! Easy hike but be very very careful with navigation, you can get lost easily.

10 months ago

This was a hike that was beautiful and a good workout that ended at one of the most beautiful natural shrines I have seen. A highlight on a trip full of great hikes!

11 months ago

Definitely a beautiful hike if you can get a permit through the lottery! Went at the end of February 2 years ago and even with the cooler temps, it was still hot. There is no shade so take more water than you think you need!

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

lifetime memory

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Beautiful!

Monday, January 15, 2018

wonderful

Monday, December 18, 2017

Really fun and worth the lottery process. The Wave is spectacular, as are the surrounding areas and the hike in/out. But if you don’t know what you’re doing, don’t go! The volunteer ranger has some horror stories... also don’t think that you can do this without a permit. You will get caught! We saw a group of 6 caught without permits and fined $1500 each!

hiking
Friday, December 08, 2017

We were lucky to win the Lottery at first attempt. It’s really a great privilege to be able to do this epic hike. Fantastic to see the Wave in real, but don’t forget to go further to Wave2 and down in the Canyon. There’s a lot to see.
Also, if you want the best light you should be on site early morning, preferably before 10 am. Afternoon light is also pretty nice, as it reveal other parts of the Wave.

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