The Wave is an awe-inspiring sandstone rock formation in the Vermilion Cliffs National Monument near the Arizona-Utah border.

Renowned for its colorful, undulating forms and the rugged, trackless hike required to reach it, The Wave is a highly sought-after and photogenic destination for hikers and photographers alike.

The Wave's unique shape is formed by erosion, and it is composed of Jurassic-age Navajo Sandstone which is approximately 190 million years old. The intricate layers of red, pink, yellow, and white sandstone ripple in sweeping curves that resemble waves, crafted by wind and water over millennia.

Best Time to Visit

To fully enjoy The Wave's natural beauty, timing your visit is crucial:

Optimal Months:

Spring (April-May): The weather is mild, and the chance of rain is low, making it ideal for photography and hiking.

Fall (September-October): Similar to spring, the cool temperatures and reduced heat risk make it perfect for exploring.

Avoid Summer (June to August): Temperatures soar above 100°F (38°C), posing heat-related hazards.

Winter Considerations (November to March): While colder, this season offers fewer crowds and the chance of snow-capped red rocks, which can add a unique element to photos.

Opening Hours and Admission

Hours of Operation:

Open daily from sunrise to sunset, regardless of the season.

Permit Requirements:

All visitors must have a permit due to the area's ecological sensitivity and to avoid overcrowding.

Permit Acquisition:

Online Lottery: Enter the lottery here four months before your desired visitation month. Each application can request up to four spots, costing USD 9 to apply and, if selected, USD 7 per person.

Walk-In Lottery: Visit the Kanab Visitor Center a day before you wish to hike for a chance at one of 16 available next-day permits.

Getting There

Location: Approximately 50 miles (80 km) from Kanab, Utah, the trailhead is accessible via House Rock Valley Road, which is suitable for most vehicles under dry conditions.

Vehicle Requirements: 4WD vehicles are recommended, especially if recent weather conditions have been wet, as the road can become muddy and difficult to navigate.

Directions: From Kanab, take US-89 east towards Page, Arizona, turn right onto House Rock Valley Road and follow it south for 8.3 miles to the Wire Pass Trailhead.

Essential Items to Bring

To ensure a safe and enjoyable hike, pack the following essentials:

Hydration: Minimum 1 gallon (3.8 liters) of water per person to prevent dehydration.

Nutrition: High-energy snacks and a packed lunch to maintain energy levels.

Navigation: GPS device, detailed topographic map, and compass.

Sun Protection: Broad-spectrum sunscreen, wide-brimmed hat, and UV-blocking sunglasses.

Clothing: Lightweight, breathable clothing, plus a change of socks.

Footwear: Durable, comfortable hiking boots with good ankle support.

Emergency Kit: First aid supplies, a whistle, and a signal mirror.

Miscellaneous: Camera, extra batteries, and memory cards.

Hiking to The Wave

Trail Details:

Distance: 6.4 miles (10.3 km) round trip.

Difficulty: Moderate to challenging due to sand and lack of clear trail markers.

Duration: Typically takes 4 to 6 hours, depending on pace and rest breaks.

Navigation Tips:

GPS coordinates for The Wave: 36.995, -112.006.

Follow cairns (small rock piles) and stay on established trails to minimize environmental impact.

Safety Tips

Weather Awareness: Monitor conditions; summer hikes require early starts to avoid midday heat.

Communication: Mobile reception is unreliable; consider a satellite phone or GPS tracker.

Health: Be aware of symptoms of heat exhaustion and hypothermia.

Accommodation and Restaurants

In Kanab:

Hotels: Range from economical choices to mid-range options.

Restaurants: Offer local and international cuisines, with an emphasis on Southwestern dishes.


Stateline Campground: Just a few miles from the trailhead with basic facilities.