Take some sand, rock, soil, wind, water, sun and extreme temperatures. Mix them all up in just the right balance. Then shake them up every few thousand years with a plate shift or two. Let the whole thing sit for a million years or so, and you get “The Wave”.
Surely, there’s a better scientific explanation for how this spectacular geologic work of art in Northern Arizona came to be. Google it if you want to. Or just accept it as it is and soak in the beauty.
Photos by Sheila Fuller Kofahl. Click any image to enlarge.
A hike to the Wave in the Coyote Buttes permit area of the Vermillion Cliffs Wilderness Area is without question one of the most coveted experiences in Arizona.
Pass and permit info
As is the case for so many of Arizona’s most popular spots, experiencing The Wave in person requires advance planning and a permit. Permits are issued by lottery to only 64 people per day.
- Online lottery: 48 people and/or 12 groups (whichever comes first) are awarded through the online lottery system.
- Walk-in lottery: 16 people and/or 4 groups (whichever comes first) are awarded through the walk-in lottery.
- Maximum group size is 6 people.
- Cost is $7 per person per day, plus a $9 reservation fee for each transaction.
If you’re fortunate enough to score a permit, you’ll be one of the privileged few to experience the incredibly beautiful and fragile wavelike sandstone formations carved by erosion over thousands of years.
Best time to visit: Fall, Winter and Spring
How to get to The Wave
The Wave is so far north in Arizona that you actually have to hike in from the Wirepass Trailhead in Utah.
From Page, AZ:
- Take Hwy 89 north about 34 miles
- Go left on House Rock Valley Rd
- Follow it for 8 miles
- Watch for the Wirepass Trailhead sign.
Want to see the Wave for yourself? Tap the map↓