Hike Coyote Buttes North to the Wave

Utah Wire Pass Trailhead

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. Wondering around above the 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′

Pack List

  • Topographical Map
  • GPS
  • BLM Photos
  • Sun hat
  • Sunscreen
  • 2L of water
  • Day pack
  • Camera equipment
  • Snack
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Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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Activities:

Hiking, Photography

Skill Level:

Intermediate

Season:

Year Round

Trail Type:

Out-and-Back

Distance:

5.5 Miles

Rating:

Features:

Dog Friendly
Scenic

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How to Get There

7 months ago

One of my favorite hikes

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.

7 months ago

8 months ago

UNREAL!

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.

8 months ago

10 months ago

One of a kind

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.

10 months ago

over 1 year ago

Even the hike in is incredibly beautiful. Love this spot and the guide provided by the BLM is excellent, you you will have no trouble following the photos. Personally, I really enjoyed doing this trail just before sunset; the lighting was really nice for photography and the temperatures were much more manageable

over 1 year ago

over 1 year ago

Would go back in heart beat. Sign up for the lottery online and pick off season times.

over 1 year ago

over 1 year ago

Amazing! I've been entering the lottery MONTHLY for the last two years with no luck. :( Next time I'm out in that area I for sure will have to try my hand at the in person lottery.

over 1 year ago

about 2 years ago

The Wave is one of the most exhilarating hikes and surreal experiences I've had with Earth. Hiking from Utah to Arizona in the North Coyote Buttes was already a thrill in itself, considering there are no marked trails. Discovering the Wave and having it all to ourselves was the icing on the cake. If you enter the lottery in person, consider planing to enter at least a second or third time. We weren't drawn the first day we arrived but decided to test our luck the next day since we were already out there, and then we were the last number picked on the second day. It altered our plans for the following day but the wave is worth it! Also - if applying the lottery online, I was advised to apply on the LAST day before the drawing, that way you can see which days has the least amount of people signed up! (You can pick 3 dates I believe when applying online)

about 2 years ago

Added by Brendon Kahn

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