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Go Hiking On The Wave In Arizona

By Oreoritse Tariemi
21 March 2022   |   11:44 am
If hiking and nature is your thing, then hiking The Wave in Arizona should definitely make it on your bucket list.  Well known for its colourful, undulating forms, this fragile rock formation and amazing colours of sand and nature is located in Arizona, United States, and a popular destination for many hikers and photographers.  Situated…

The Iconic Wave In The Arizona Desert Photo Matador Network

If hiking and nature is your thing, then hiking The Wave in Arizona should definitely make it on your bucket list. 

Well known for its colourful, undulating forms, this fragile rock formation and amazing colours of sand and nature is located in Arizona, United States, and a popular destination for many hikers and photographers. 

Situated on the slopes of the Coyote Buttes in the Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness of the Colorado Plateau, the hike down The Wave is difficult and a challenge many people are willing to take. 

A 6-mile hike across this sand and red rock route can be accessed from the Wire Pass Trailhead in the North Coyote Buttes permit area of the Vermilion Cliffs National Monument. You’ll need a map and basic navigational skills to navigate it. 

Enjoying The Beauty 

A few hours after midday is the perfect time to take photos of The Wave. At this time, there are no shadows in the centre. 

But if you prefer more dramatic photos, the early morning and late afternoon shadows add the needed effect. 

Just above and slightly west of The Wave is the ‘the Second Wave’ or ‘the middle Wave’ with much fainter colours. This makes the perfect background for landscape photography, showcasing nature’s finest in all her glory. 

Accessing The Wave 

The Wave Photo Utah

As beautiful as The Wave is, this natural beauty is not accessible to everyone. You’d need a permit which is obtained through a daily lottery system or online. You must obtain the online permits four months in advance of your planned trip. Once your permit is confirmed, you’ll then receive a map and information of the hike. 

Only 64 people are issued permits for The Wave daily. 48 people or 12 groups through the online lottery system and 16 people or four groups through the walk-in lottery. 

The online lottery awards 48 permits or 12 groups three or four months in advance via the recreation.gov website (Online North Coyote Buttes permit lottery). Meanwhile, the daily geo-fences online lottery permits 16 permits or 4 groups. Each group includes between 1 to 16 persons, and animals need to be included separately on the permit. 

The online lottery application costs $9/application; this payment is non-refundable regardless of whether you are unsuccessful.  

The online lottery costs $9 per application and is non-refundable, even if you are unsuccessful.

Dressing For The Wave

Since you’ll be hiking the hot, dusty desert, you should have your trusty water bottle with you. Pack at least 3 litres of water using a daypack with a hydration reservoir.

Remember to use sunscreen and wear good hiking shoes. Now since the trail isn’t well-marked and no cell phone service is available, pack a good map alongside a GPS and communication device. 

The average hike time is 90 minutes, but some groups may use to 3 hours. 

If you go hiking on The Wave, be sure to tag @guardianlifeng on your pictures take there and let us know how exciting this experience was for you.