Swirling textures, smooth curves and mesmerizing tones of orange, purple and red. We had dreamt of this place for so long and the day had finally arrived when we would get to ride, The Wave.
The road to The Wave is located just outside the tiny town of Kanab, Utah, but The Wave itself is located in Arizona in an area known as the Coyote Buttes North. There’s a campground located right on the county line just 1.5 miles from the trailhead too.
We first learned about this place when we saw a photo on someone’s instagram a while back. Right then and there we decided that we had to go, and so I sent in for our permit. Apparently permits are extremely difficult to get as they only issue 20 per day, 10 online and 10 walk-in. We recommend applying ATLEAST 4 months in advance, but if you’re more of a last minute planner you can go to the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument Visitor Center at 8:30am in Kanab the day before and try your luck at winning one of the highly demanded walk-in permits. We heard that the day after Thanksgiving there were 147 people in line!
For the most part we had been rolling right along, until we found ourselves faced with the decision to cross the questionably deep muddy pit or not…
Afraid that our tiny (but mighty) Honda Fit would get her paws stuck in the mud, we opted to park our car on the side of the road and complete the rest of our journey by mountain bike. It is important to note that it was a foggy, drizzly, 50 degree day, hence our jiffy puff outfits, making this a truly unpredictable adventure:
3 miles of mountain biking and lots of mud later, we had arrived to the Wire Pass trailhead:
We locked up our bikes, and with permits and map in hand, off we went!
Check out who we ran into along the way!:
The map was very well laid out and we couldn’t help but be in awe at everything we saw. It was hard to image that The Wave could look much different from all the of the incredible rocks that were surrounding us:
We eventually, and luckily, ran into a few patches of fellow hikers who were on the return leg of their journeys. We were able to follow in their tracks as the path got a bit trickier. Look in the photo below, you see the upside down “Y” shape of tracks? If you follow them all the way up, The Wave is located in between the swirly collection of cone shaped rocks seen in the upper left:
It was like being on a really awesome treasure hunt. As we made our way closer and closer to The Wave, we noticed that the rocks got more and more vibrant, building our levels of anticipation!:
As we were brought to the saddle between 2 of the colorful cones, we knew we were close. The colors and textures were undeniably breathtaking, a few steps more and we had made it to The Wave:
Everywhere we looked there was a new color, a new shape and a new texture to be amazed by, it was really unlike anything we had ever seen:
We made it a point to put down the cameras and explore in silence, I closed my eyes a few times to feel the rocks and meditated on how blessed we were to be in such a beautiful and sacred place, fog and all. And of course, we couldn’t leave without letting the rocks take a few photos for us:
For more, be sure to watch this awesome video of our journey to The Wave!:
- The hike is 6.5 miles roundtrip.
- Time? About 4 hours, including the time to enjoy yourself in/on The Wave.
Level of difficulty? Strenuous in that you are climbing over rocks and walking through soft, soft sand.
- Apply for your permit EARLY or spend the night on the doorstep of the the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument Visitor Center if your opting to get lucky with the walk-in permit lottery.
- Best time to visit? It’s hard to say, but in the heat of summer this hike would be absolutely brutal and it wasn’t exactly the easiest to do in the chill of winter. Honestly it’s beautiful any time of year and if you’re able to get a permit it’s worth the trek no matter what, just gear up appropriately.
- Things to bring: WATER, hat (or beanie), tripod, camera, GoPro with “selfie arm,” headlamp (depending on your start time) and hiking poles to get over the larger rocks (though we were fine without them).
- Be sure to observe a moment of silence and truly appreciate the fact that you are in such an incredible, one-of-a kind place.