THE WAVE at Paria Canyon Vermillion Cliffs Wilderness
A definite “Bucket List” Item for any Photographer or Adventurer!
The Wave is specifically located in the North Coyote Buttes area. It’s just across the border into Arizona. From Kanab you’ll take Highway 89 towards Page, AZ and then look for HouseRock Rd. which happens to be a dirt road. Take HouseRock Rd to the Wire Pass trail head and that is the trail to THE WAVE. There is a secondary way through Jacob’s Lake if the top of Houserock Rd been washed out as there are a few washes that you have to cross, a 4WD is a good idea! THE WAVE is an area protected by the BLM which has set it up as a permitted area. 20 permits are distributed each day through a lottery system. 10 are granted via an internet lottery and 10 are granted through a daily lottery at the Kanab, UT BLM office. The daily lottery is held each day for passes granted the following day! You can’t show up at the office and win a permit to go in that day, if you win it is only for the next day only! It’s a true lottery for 10 spots at the office. I’ve sat through 3 lotteries at the office and there have never been less than 90 people entered for the 10 slots. At the office you sign up as a group up to 6 people and you can’t enter the lottery more than once at the office, so you can’t sign up 6 times for each of the people there. Online is a different story each of the 6 can technically enter for 6 slots which gives you a slightly better chance, but also realize that everyone else is doing the same thing online. We won our permits through the online lottery. I personally didn’t win but was fortunate to have a friend that did win and allowed me to tag along and I would have done the same had I won. Check out the BLM Wave Permit page for the latest info.
Obviously a few will ask, What if I don’t get a permit and just hike in, without a permit?
There are a few reasons:
- The area is a protected land that will hopefully survive human interaction for generations to come
- It can be dangerous as there have been deaths due to heat and dehydration as there really isn’t a well defined trail and it’s easy to get lost. We met a lady from the BLM office at the trail head at 5pm to ensure that all permit holders had made it out safely. I’m not sure if she’s there everyday or not, but they want to ensure that everyone gets out and is ok. The BLM provides detailed maps with photos along with your permit.
- It’s also just not cool as there are some that have spent years applying for permits and have not won. The day we went in there was a couple that had applied for the Lottery 5 times and finally won on try #6. They were very upset when a couple of girls showed up at 7am and hiked in. Granted the two girls hiked in and out without getting into trouble, but the BLM office was notified about their incursion.
- If by chance they happen to send a BLM Park Ranger out and find those without permits there is a ticket and a fine give to those with out permits. The fine is in the hundreds of dollars, and can go higher based on circumstances.