The Wave is the name of sandstone eroded and twisted since the Jurassic age into trough-shaped formations intersecting one another at the North Coyote Buttes in the Paria Canyon-Vermillion Cliffs Wilderness area. It is reached by taking House Rock Valley Road 38 miles east of Kanab, UT. On that road it is another 8 miles until you reach the Wire Pass Trailhead. From the parking lot, The Wave is still another 3.5 miles away.
Because of the delicate nature of the area, the Bureau of Land Management only gives out 20 permits per day to visitors. You can apply for the permits in advance, or the day before you go. The permits are awarded by lottery. Many have applied many times throughout the years without being able to win a permit. I was incredibly lucky. Will James of Dreamland Safari Tours applied on my behalf and won one on the first try.
Despite the map and printed photos that the BLM issues to permit holders, there are always reports of people getting lost and having to be rescued. This is why I went with Will, who had been to The Wave many times, as my guide. From the time that we left Dreamland’s headquarters, it took us 8 hours to go there, wander around, and come back. The temperature was in the high 90’s and it was certainly not a walk in the park.
However, it was definitely worth it, as the following photos will prove. The first is an iconic one that everyone takes at The Wave.
More photos from different perspectives:
Will also took me to The Second Wave to the west and a little bit higher.
On the way to and from The Wave, I also took these photos of other interesting formations:
Finally, to give you a sense of scale, here’s one of me waving while at The Wave.
Update July 6, 2013: Be careful, the heat is very dangerous. It caused two people to die at The Wave a few days ago according to this story http://fox13now.com/2013/07/04/heat-believed-to-cause-death-of-elderly-couple-at-the-wave/.