The Wave, Utah

Written by on August 15, 2015 in UT Outdoor Adventures - Comments Off on The Wave, Utah

The Wave, located in the Coyote Buttes area of Utah, is a multi-colored chute that has been cut into a sandstone mountain. Brightly colored bands of sandstone twist and undulate, like Technicolor waves on the ocean, which is how it earned its name.

The hike to The Wave is, without a doubt, one of the most spectacular in the U.S. and I guarantee it will take your breath away! Hiking through the Coyote Buttes area on the way to The Wave, you will be awed by the swirled bands of color that run through the sandstone, which has eroded into interesting shapes. As the light changes throughout the day, so do the shapes and colors of the rock. Red, pink, yellow and green rock has been blended together to form cliffs, castles, beehives, chutes and other structures. The Wave itself is almost beyond description. Waves of stone undulate and swirl, as though a giant hand had stopped time, freezing the moment in place. The colors — red, brown, orange, yellow, white, pink — all in beautiful bands flow across the landscape, smoothed into troughs and rounded peaks by that same giant hand. The silence there is unbroken and you’ll feel the hush fall over you as well.

Getting to the wave can be quite an experience. First, you must purchase a hiking permit and permits are very limited (selected by lottery). NOTE: Page, Arizona, where permits are issued and the trailhead are in two different time zones so be sure you are on Utah

time so you get to the trailhead on time. You must be aware that rain is likely to cancel your hike. It’s called slippery rock for a good reason — when it is wet it is like trying to stand on ice. Plus the risk of flash flood is high any time it rains. You’ll enter the trailhead from Wire Pass trail, that’s on a long dirt road. It’s a rough road, washboard in places and in others it is covered in sand. The trailhead is unmarked, so having a GPS unit is almost a necessity.

It’s six miles round trip although the terrain ranges from relatively easy to medium difficulty. There are few trail markers so it is incredibly easy to get lost, again, a GPS unit is essential. In summer, the temperatures can be blistering, and no matter what time of year, you’ll need plenty of water — at least a gallon of water per person! After a rain, the washes can become bogs of mud and wet sand and the hiking is extremely trying under these conditions. There are no restrooms, and if you do have to relieve yourselft, you have to do it in a bag along the trail, and that’s no easy task. Spring and Fall are the best time to hike the wave. Temperatures are moderate and there is less risk of rain.

Other attractions in the area include:
Bryce Canyon National Park
Zion National Park
Cedar Breaks National Monument
Snow Canyon State Park
Top 10 Things To Do At The Grand Canyon

Coyote Buttes Special Permit Offices
Arizona Strip Field Office
345 East Riverside Drive
St. George, Utah
Phone: 435.688.3200.

Kanab Office
318 N 100 E
Phone: 435.644.4600

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