Near the Arizona-Utah border, in the Paria Canyon-Vermillion Cliffs Wildnerness area, lies one of the world’s most striking geologic wonders. Known as The Wave, this sandstone rock formation is like nothing you’ve ever seen before. The sandstone itself is close to two hundred million years old. Over time wind erosion has created unique ribbon-like ridges along the surface of The Wave’s U-shaped troughs.
A rugged, “trailess” hike allows visitors to trek right through the middle of The Wave, giving them the unparalleled visual experience of walking across the surface of a sea of red rock. To preserve the formation, however, the Bureau of Land Management grants only 20 visitor permits per day. Ten of these daily permits are available in advance by an online lottery that is conducted four months before your desired date. The other ten permits are made available the day before your intended hike day. The lottery is held each morning at 9:00 a.m. at the ranger station in the east end of Kanab.
As most of us know, good things don’t come easy. Getting a permit to hike The Wave can be a long and unpredictable process. Here’s the top five reasons we believe The Wave is worth all that trouble.
5. It’s dog friendly. Maybe Fido is lucky enough to road trip with you through the beautiful American Southwest. Maybe you’re a new mommy or daddy to adopted pet from the Best Friends Animal Society in Kanab. Either way, your pooch is welcome.
4. It’s a photographer’s dream! The Wave’s distinct ridges make it sought-after destination for professional and amateur photogs alike. Snap a picture of The Wave at midday to capture it in its full glory, or photograph it in the shadowy morning or afternoon for some high-drama images.
3. It’s only 30 minutes from Kanab. The trailhead to The Wave is located only 30 minutes from the charming town of Kanab, Utah. Stay with us at the comfy, cozy Quail Park Lodge (we’re dog friendly, too!) and our knowledgable staff will do their best to help you navigate the tricky permit process, set you up with a guide, direct you to the trailhead, or answer any questions you might have. At the end of your long hiking day, rest your bones by our pool with a glass of wine. Ahh!
2. Guided Hikes are Available! If this is your first visit to The Wave, we recommend taking advantage of the wilderness area’s expert hiking guides, who will help make sure you’re safe during your hike. They’re also fountains of geologic knowledge and will often point out features or little-known facts you might have missed otherwise.
1. It’s special. Anyone can drive right up to Niagra Falls or the Grand Canyon or Crater Lake, take a picture, and carry on. Only a limited number of people will ever get to see The Wave with their own eyes. Access to this exclusive “club” might take a little strategic planning, and a lot of luck, but we think it’s worth a shot. Crave The Wave, and come visit us here in Kanab!