Guide to The Wave
|Distance:||5.5 to 6 mile round trip|
|Difficulty:||Easy to Moderate - Sandy in spots, sand covered rock, limited trail mostly just a route - small, steep elevation changes in spots.|
|Hike Time:||4 to 6 hours depending on how much time you spend at the site|
|Elevation:||5120 ft at the Wave|
|Season:||Year Round - the dirt roads are not passable in wet weather|
|USGS Maps:||Arizona - Coyote Buttes, Utah - Pine Hollow Canyon & West Clark Bench|
|Take highway US 89 for 8.5 miles North from Page to the Utah border. Continue on US 89 to Rock House Road, about 0.7 mile beyond Mile Marker 25. Turn left onto the dirt road and follow it south for about 8.5 miles to the Wire Pass Trail Head parking area on the West side of the road.|
For details on permit issues, call 435 644-4600.
Wave permit issues as of 9/03/06: The web page has changed - now you can get your permits online through the following site: https://www.blm.gov/az/asfo/paria/coyote_buttes/index.htm. You will see a line of pull-down menus when you arrive at the correct page. Look for the "PERMITS" pull down menu on the right side..
Wave permit issues as of 1/05/06: My apologies to those of you who were misled by information on this web-site. The information always has been relayed as it was received from the BLM which obviously stands for Bureau of Land Mismanagement! Isn't it wonderful to watch our tax dollars at work?
The new lottery system (a seemingly easy programming task) has been in the works for nearly a year but it may not be ready until late spring or early summer - if ever. In the meantime the permits to North Coyote Butte will be issued four months in advance through the old system (1st come, 1st served) that is still on the web site as indicated below. Remember, the permits are available four months in advance on the 1st day of each month at 12:00, noon, Phoenix time (Mountain Std Time with no shift for day-lights savings) and all of the available permits are usually taken within the first 15 minutes. A new wrinkle has been added which requires you to type all the information in the form as you complete the application because they now claim to filter out and reject applications that are completed by anyone using "auto form-fill" software.
PS: On January 1, 2006 the load on the permit system was so high that the server shutdown.
Wave permit issues as of 12/14/05: For now they are using the old system which will be replaced on January 1, 2006. Starting in January you can enter an online lottery for April's permits. You can submit your lottery application ANYTIME during January. On February 1st the computer will allot the available April permits to the winning applicants. Thereafter applications will be accepted each month for permits valid 3 months later (apply in Feb for May, etc.).
Remember, there is still a daily lottery for an additional 10 "walk-up" permits that most web-sites fail to mention. You have to appear at 8:30 AM at the Paria Ranger station the day before you want to hike to the wave and fill out your application. Then at 9:00 ten walk-u[ permits are issued - if more than ten people apply, there is a lottery. The Paria station is open from March 15th through Nov. 15th. The daily lottery used to be held at the BLM office in Kanab, UT when the Paria station was not open. For details on permit issues, call 435 644-4600.
The total driving distance on US 89 is about 34.2 miles from the North Side of Page but because of the border, the mile marker distances are given for the Utah side of the border. In good weather conditions the rough, washboard dirt road should be adequate for all vehicles. There is a ranger station, the Paria Station (also known as the White House Visitor Center or the White House Contact Station), between Mile Markers 20 and 21, south of the highway. The ranger station is very near MM21 but is not manned during the winter off-season and it will be manned in the summers only if they can find a volunteers - they currently have it manned for the summer of 2004. The Paria Station doesn't have a phone but check with them if you have an emergency - I was led to believe that they might have a radio or some other limited source of communication.
None of the roads in the area are going to be passable in wet weather because they are dirt (clay) and not gravel. One exception might be the 2 mile, semi-graveled road down to the Whitehouse Campground.
The formation known as the wave is located in the special BLM Coyote Buttes management area which requires permits to enter. The permits cost $5.00 ($5.25 through the web-site) and in addition you have to pay $5.00/day for the hike use-fee. Camping is allowed in the vicinity but not in the special management area itself. The Camping fee is $5.00 per night. Take a bunch of $5 bills when you go as there aren't any credit card machines at the trailheads, campground, etc., but they will take checks in the honor system depository envelopes. See the note at the top of the page for the Online Permit Application process. The web-site does not mention the daily drawing for an additional 10 permits.
During my visit to the wave, a local from Kanab told me that there is another 10 permits available through a lottery held at the BLM office in Kanab the day before they are valid. Permits for Saturday, Sunday and Monday are available on the prior Friday lottery and you have to be there in person the day of the lottery. I have verified that during the Winter months the drawing is indeed held in Kanab but during the summer months the drawing is held at the White House Contact Station (the Paria Station) You are expected to report at 8:00 in the morning of the drawing (every weekday except Saturday and Sunday) and the permits are issued at 9:00 AM. On my trip to and from the wave, I counted at least 19 people either at or going to the Wave. Group size is limited to 6 people per group and one individual is required to act as the group leader for getting the permits etc. Call the BLM number listed below to make sure that you have the correct/ current information. The BLM rules and regulations can only be described as fluid!
The phone number for the Kanab office is 435 644-4600. The permits are good only for one day and if bad weather ruins your plans, you can get a rain-check(s) only by turning your permit in at the Kanab BLM office on the day that the permit(s) are valid for.
Rather than trying to cover all of the material that you need to know prior to going to the North Coyote Butte and the Wave I am simply going to recommend three resources: 1) the BLM web-site mentioned above, 2) the BLM Kanab office also noted above and 3) a book by Michael R. Kelsey, Hiking and Exploring the Paria River. I called 1-800-922-9681 to purchase my copy of the book. I have tried to be as accurate as possible with the information that is provided on this web-site, but seemingly the information is very fluid and subject to change - I am not responsible if the information on this web-site is out of date or has changed. Your best bet is to keep in touch with the folks at the Kanab office. They are very helpful!
My long weekend exploring the Coyote Butte, Wire Pass and Cobra Arch areas maybe the second best weekend of my entire life (keeping in mind that I was married on a Saturday, some time in the last century). The area has a great deal to offer yet it is interesting to note that until recently, the Wave was better known in Europe than in America and had more foreign than native tourist visits. This situation existed because in the 1990s a European made a movie that had used North Coyote Butte as a setting. As is usual, those who know about such rare wonders are reluctant to divulge locations with any great accuracy but now with the internet that is not a problem. I was able to find more than one reliable map on the web and hiked right to it.
Enjoy - but take great care - North Coyote Butte with it's Wave is a fragile and special place,