The Wave

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One of our top 10 day hikes in the world

The Wave

Updated April 2023

Up to 64 hikers per day and/or 16 groups per day.

On March 15, 2022, the Bureau of Land Management transitioned the in-person, walk-in lottery to a new mobile based geofence system to provide a safer and more convenient lottery experience. The new Daily Lottery allows applicants to use location-enabled mobile devices to apply with intentionally set geographic boundaries.

Read the news release to find out more.


  • on the Utah-Arizona border, halfway between Page, Arizona and Kanab, Utah in the Paria Canyon/Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness
  • Wire Pass trailhead located in North Coyote Buttes permit area of the Vermilion Cliffs National Monument
  •  5.2 miles return
  • you can go any month of the year, if you can tolerate the heat

How to apply for a permit

Details as of March 2023.

Your odds are better if applying alone. December – February might be slightly easier months.

If successful, the permit cost is $7 / person.  And $7 / dog.

BestHike editor Rick McCharles got lucky in 2006 walking into the Visitor Center in Kanab UT and got a permit for the following day. (He had slept in his car in the parking lot to be sure to be at the door on opening.)

The Wave consists of intersecting U-shaped troughs that have been eroded  into Navajo Sandstone of Jurassic age.

Above and slightly west of the Wave is what many call “the Second Wave“, which has fainter colours but is still of interest to most visitors and photographers.

Why We Like This Hike

  • the colours, the colours
  • magical and wonderful geology
  • nearby dinosaur tracks
  • There are many, many other excellent hikes in the area. You won’t be disappointed even if you fail to get a walk-in permit for The Wave.
by Horseshoe Bend


  • can be hot and dusty
  • bring sun protection
  • no mobile phone service
  • carry the water you need
  • the drive from Kanab to the Wire Pass trailhead is about an hour. The last 8 miles along House Rock Valley Road can be impassable at times due to flash flood. BLM recommends a high clearance 4-wheel drive or AWD vehicle, if possible
  • hikers must display half their permit on their vehicle windshield and the other half visible on the outside of their backpack
  • permits non-refundable and non-transferable

Trekking Guides

Not needed. Do this hike on your own.

Local Information

Bureau of Land Management
Kanab Visitors Center
745 East Highway 89
Kanab, UT 84741
Highway 89, 1 mile east of junction with alternate 89.

Bearfoot Theory

Best Trekking Guidebooks

Not needed. BLM will give you a simple map.

Best Travel Guidebooks

Best Web Pages

“But, I thought you said it was called ‘the Wave’?”

Best Trip Reports


Click PLAY or watch the OFFICIAL video on YouTube.

Questions? Suggestions? Leave a comment on this page. Our editors will reply.

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