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The Wave via Coyote Buttes North

Kanab, Utah

based on 8 reviews



5.41 miles

Elevation Gain

755 ft

Route Type



Added by Brendon Kahn

The Wave's natural Jurassic Navajo sandstone shows striations of red, orange, pink, yellow, and beige. Be sure to get a permit ahead of time and remember your GPS, the trail isn't marked.

The hike to the Wave is 2.5 miles (one-way). When you arrive, take in the sandstone showing incredible striations of red, orange, pink, yellow, and beige. Please note that this adventure is only accessible by obtaining a permit. Only 20 visitors are allowed access per day with 10 permits given online months in advance and 10 more given through a lottery system for walk ins first thing in the morning. You may obtain a permit through a $7 lottery system on the Bureau of Land Management at their website or at the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument Visitor Center in Kanab, Utah. If you want to apply for a future date, through the lottery application, you have to to submit your application 4 months ahead of time. There's no flexibility and you must submit a $5 application fee. Make sure you have your date locked in and that you submit your application on time.

After the first half of permits are gone, there are also 10 permits available the day before. If you're hoping to obtain one of these permits, you need to head to the Kanab, Utah Field Office at 9:00 AM the day prior to the day you wish to hike. All applicants are taken into a room and each group of hikers (6 or fewer) are assigned a number. Numbers are drawn randomly from bingo balls to assign the remaining available permits. During peak times your chances of getting a permit may be extremely low as many other folks are showing up for the lottery with the same goal in mind.

Best of luck!

The Hike:

Hiking to this amazing ancient geological structure begins at 4875' and continues to until you reach the wave at 5200'. This day trek has minimal elevation gain but requires some tactful navigating skills to find the wave because there is no trail. Most hikers use the BLM photo landmarks, a topographical map, and GPS while following a prominent landmark known as “ The Black Crack” to find The Wave, which lies directly below The Black Crack. The best time to view the wave is midday when the sun is directly overhead this is create dramatic shows of the undulating sandstone.

Beginning from the parking lot that connects to Wire Pass Trailhead, head down the path until it drops into a wash. Take a left turn, east, down the wash for .6 miles until you reach a sign that designates Coyotes Buttes North exiting Wire Pass Wash. Take this path where it becomes steeper the next few hundred yards. The trail quickly drops into a wash that you cross and approach a small ridge. Making your way to the top of the ridge, continue downward on the backside of the ridge where you will start to bear right, southward. Hugging the slopes on the right of the ridge continue southbound.

Looking south, a large sandstone mountain appears far in the distance with a vertical crack in the mountain. This will be your landmark to steer in the direction of the wave because it is located the crack.

Continuing southbound, two large unmistakable buttes come appear called Twin Buttes where you will pass along the right side. A half mile later you will encounter a wash that will lead you to geological formations resembling the wave where you will take a sand path up to the wave.

Once inside the wavy formation, it will bring you to another level of satisfaction and awe. This is a true gem and no words or photos can truly bring it justice. Wandering around just above the wave and high up on the ridge can bring some really interesting finds as well. For a bite after, Rocking V Café in Kanab is one of the best spots for some great food!

For Detailed information on the process and the hike, head to Hundred Goals

GPS Coordinates for the Wire Pass Trailhead - N 37° 01.162′, W 112°01.465′

Here are the GPS Coordinates for The Wave - N 36° 59.764′, W 112° 00.365′

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The Wave via Coyote Buttes North Reviews

Glad to finally cross it off my bucket list. Just amazing!

The lottery wasn’t bad to get through. There are a bunch of other things to see there too. So worth the trip!

If you're luck enough to win the lottery and grab a permit for the Wave, you're in for a real treat. There really isn't a trail to follow for much of the hike so you really need to pay attention to landmarks and your surrounding to find your way. The wave is spectacular to see and photograph, but don't just stop there. There are many incredible rock formations and places to photograph throughout the permit area. Take your time and explore as much as you can!

I absolutely loved this hike. I got drawn out for a permit at the walk-in, in Kanab. (I suggest doing this.) The hike itself is not too hard, luckily they give you a guide, so that you don't get lost, you climb terrain, walk through sand, it is an adventure!! I have been on many hikes in Southern Utah/AZ & i had never seen anything like it, it was incredible. I honestly felt like i was on another planet, everywhere you looked, it was eye candy. The hike to the wave was amazing too-- so incredible that it was all created naturally. Definitely a hike to add to your bucket list.

This place is out of this world! I can't believe it was created by nature, itself. For the permits, I suggest trying the walk-in lottery during the first few weeks of December. During this off-season month, they only do lotteries in the weekdays, so if you go on a Friday to apply, you get drawn for Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. Chances are definitely higher, and there are a lot less people too.

The Wave is well worth the trip to Utah. Start the hike early so you can spend the afternoon in the area. If you are around Kanab, UT for a couple of days I think you have the best luck of drawing a permit on Friday; they will draw 10 permits for Saturday, Sunday, and Monday.

Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!


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