The Wave is one of most renowned hikes in the country … and also one of the most difficult. Not because the hike itself is difficult, but because the US Park Service (BLM) is smart enough to realize that hundreds of feet wouldn’t take long to destroy the soft sandstone formations and have limited the hike to 20 people per day (permit required).
Not to say that the hike is easy. Just getting to the trailhead requires a 8 mile drive on a rutted dirt road. Upon arriving you have to sign in at the trailhead, put the auto portion of your permit in the windshield and the pack portion of the permit on your pack.
Cross the road from the parking lot and drop down into Coyote Wash where an easy half mile walk brings you to the trailhead. 3 miles later, you’re enjoying The Wave, a total of a bit over a 6 mile round trip.
(NOTE: After the photo essay is all the info you need to apply for a permit and hike The Wave.) Enjoy the photos!
Literally there are thousands of views and thousands of photos. If you want to see more, just google “The Wave” and choose images, you’ll be as amazed as I was!
Yes, I am holding on to my hat and not just because I’m blown away by the scenery — the wind the day we visited was ferocious and made it difficult to stand, not to mention you had to be very careful not to continually have it in your eyes. Afterwards we found sand in places we didn’t realize sand could get into!
We made a few detours on the return trip, exploring a hanging garden and trying in vain to locate some dinosaur tracks that another hiker told us about … but after an amazing day, all good things must come to an end.
This day will live high in my list of favorite memories forever. I hope you’re as lucky as we were to get a permit!
In order to hike to The Wave, you must apply for a special permit – there are only 20 lucky people per day that are selected to hike, 10 win the online lottery and 10 win the day prior walk in lottery. All the specifics to are below, but first, here are photos from our Wave hike…. one of our top 2 hikes ever, the other being Machu Picchu/Waynu Picchu in Peru.
We had tried the lottery six months prior as instructed on the BLM site below, but chances of getting one of the 10 permits were less than 5% and we didn’t win. When we got to Kanab, we went immediately to the Kanab BLM Ranger Station and asked about the in person process. Turns out, we show up the day before we want to hike. 125 other of our closest friends (and competitors) showed up that morning as well … for 10 spots. I figured the odds were a bit better than the online lottery.
Permits costs $7 per person, plus a $5 non-refundable application fee if you apply for the online lottery. Deal of the century!
When you win the lottery, you’ll be asked to attend a The Wave Safety Briefing, a video either online or in person at the BLM Ranger Station. If you attend the briefing at the Kanab BLM Ranger Station, you’ll also benefit from the ranger’s input on weather for the next day and other important factors.
You’ll be given the necessary permits and a set of instructions, complete with photos of landmarks along the way, and GPS coordinates for those that choose to bring a GPS (which I highly recommend). We could have done it without the GPS, but it was a nice insurance safety feature.
Pay attention to the weather! In 2013 3 people died on this hike. Despite the fact that in good weather (i.e. not over 100 degrees) and the proper preparation, it is not that difficult. But attempting it without LOTS and LOTS of water and other necessary stuff in your pack is asking for trouble. GO, ENJOY, but be prepared!
Anyone else lucky enough to do this hike? Want to share your experience with a comment? Cheers! Jan