How To Get A Permit For The Wave Arizona

By Ryan / May 10, 2017

As the saying goes, “it wasn’t a matter of ‘if’ but a matter of ‘when.’” In this case, the “when” was the summer of 2009, when the powers-that-be at Microsoft thought it would be a fabulous idea to include a photo of The Wave in Paria Canyon, Arizona on the desktop wallpaper of Windows 7.[1] From that moment on, what had until then been a relatively well-kept secret among hikers and backpackers was catapulted to “Arizona Bucket List” status, and suddenly everybody and his brother wanted to go there. Does that include you? Be ready to jump through some hoops, but be ready to experience a place like no other on Earth, and an adventure you’ll never forget!

The Wave is located in the Coyote Buttes North Special Management Area of the Paria Canyon/Vermillion Cliffs Wilderness Area in Northern Arizona. Areas with this designation are considered ecologically sensitive and vulnerable to irreparable damage if access to them is not strictly controlled. Managed by the Bureau of Land Management, only 20 lucky people per day are allowed to visit Coyote Buttes North and The Wave in Arizona. In order to be included on that list, you must obtain a permit. This can be done one of two ways:

  1. Apply in advance for the online Paria Canyon permit lottery through the BLM’s official website. Ten (10) spots per day are given out in this manner. You can – and should – apply up to four (4) months in advance for your desired date. Applications are taken for the entire calendar month for the month four (4) months ahead. If, for example, you wish to hike to The Wave in October (the 10th month on the calendar), you would need to apply online anytime during the month of June (the 6th month on the calendar). The winners of the lottery would then be drawn on the 1st day of July.

The breakdown for the entire year would look like this:

Application Period Month You Wish To Hike Lottery Drawn at Noon MST or 1:00 PM MDT On
January 1 – 31 May February 1
February 1 – 28 June March 1
March 1 – 31 July April 1
April 1- 30 August May 1
May 1 – 31 September June 1
June 1 – 30 October July 1
July 1 – 31 November August 1
August 1 – 31 December September 1
September 1 – 30 January October 1
October 1 – 31 February November 1
November 1 – 30 March December 1
December 1 – 31 April January 1

There is a $5.00 non-refundable fee to apply for the online lottery. You may choose three (3) different dates to hike The Wave and apply for up to six (6) people. Applicants are notified of their results in the lottery by e-mail on the first day of the month following the application period. If, for some reason, you are not notified by the second day of the month, please contact the Vermillion Cliffs National Monument Permit Desk. Be sure to check your spam/junk mail folder first, though. Only one application may be submitted per month. Please do not try to “game the system” by submitting more than one application per month. You will be found out and both applications will be forfeited.

  1. Obtain a walk-in permit. Read a first-hand account from someone who hiked The Wave on a walk-in permit

20 people a day are allowed to hike to Coyote Buttes North and The Wave. 10 will have secured their permits ahead of time by online lottery; the remaining 10 hiking slots can be acquired by walk-in permit at the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument Visitor Center located at 745 US-89 in Kanab, UT.

Walk-in permits are dispensed for the following day, so you’ll need to arrange for hotel accommodations accordingly.

To try your hand at getting one, you must show up in person (no phone-ins or proxies) at the Visitor Center between 8:30 – 9:00 AM local time the day before you wish to hike. Note that Arizona does not observe Daylight Saving Time, but Utah does, so if you’re staying in Page, AZ, you’ll have to leave one hour “early” during DST. During non-DST months, Arizona and Utah are on the same time. It has been suggested that first-time participants in this process arrive right at 8:30 AM [2], though it will not affect your chances one way or the other. The BLM ranger on duty will assign numbers to all parties applying. He or she will then draw numbers until all slots are filled.

If your party is chosen, you will then pay your $7.00 per person (and per dog) fee, and get a quick safety briefing by the BLM ranger. You will receive maps, trail guides, and specially-designed bags for packing out both human and animal waste. Spend the rest of your day exploring nearby attractions to your hotel, or just resting up for your trip. Then, get ready to roll to the Wire Pass Trailhead the next morning!

If you strike out at getting a walk-in permit for The Wave, you are welcome to try again the following day. Just hang onto the number you received the previous day and get to the GSENM Visitors Center by 9 AM.

General Notes:

  • The hike from Wire Pass Trailhead to The Wave is approximately 5 miles round-trip. It is considered “moderate” in terms of degree of difficulty. Individuals should be in reasonably good health and have some desert hiking experience before attempting this trip. Those who wish to go further may opt to visit Top Rock Arch, Second Wave, Melody Arch and Dinosaur Tracks, which will extend your hike to 8 miles round-trip.
  • Remember this is a desert environment; water and shade are scarce to non-existent. You are responsible for providing your own food and water. 3 liters of water per person and high-energy snacks with moderate salt content are recommended. If you encounter a pool of water in this area, please avoid wading through it unless absolutely necessary. Do not drink from these pools or allow dogs to do so.
  • There is no “established” trail to The Wave. Many report getting lost on the way in and/or on the way out of the main scenic area. Markers such as cairns are not provided (please don’t make your own) and signs are kept to a bare minimum. Keep the maps you receive from the BLM handy throughout your hike and bring a portable GPS device if desired.
  • There is no cell phone service in the area. Please inform friends and family of your plans, and be sure to sign in at the register box at Wire Pass Trailhead.
  • The House Rock Valley Road, the only means of accessing the Wire Pass Trailhead, may be rendered impassable in wet weather. Even in favorable conditions, it can be bumpy and sandy. A vehicle with sufficiently high clearance to navigate these obstacles is recommended. If you are uncomfortable driving in these conditions, you may wish to hire a guide service. Using a guide does not exclude you from the permit requirement, nor does it increase your chances of getting one.  
  • You must pack out all trash, including your own waste. Burying or burning toilet paper is not allowed.
  • Dogs are allowed, but they must be kept leashed at all times. They are subject to a $7.00 per animal entrance fee (which doesn’t count against the ‘human’ quota), and you are required to pack out their waste as well.  
  • No overnight camping or fires are allowed in the Coyote Buttes area.
  • Again, The Wave is in high-demand year-round. Statistically speaking, your chances are slim that you will get a permit. You should have a “plan B” in mind if you are not selected for an online or walk-in permit. Areas you might consider exploring include but are not limited to: Coyote Buttes South (a permit is required, but these tend to be easier to get), White Pocket Fold, Steamboat Rock, Cobra Arch, Buckskin Gulch or The “New” Wave near Page, AZ.



About the author


Ryan is an avid hiker and long time resident of Page, AZ. What he lacks in spelling and grammatical expertise he makes up for with extensive knowledge from a lifetime of questionable choices and the ability to ask for help from great editors

56comments - March 16, 2019

Hello there, You’ve done a fantastic job.
I will definitely digg it and personally
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John Colowich - January 27, 2019


I have reviewed many questions and your answers, which helped us tremendously. Would you review our trip (total 6 of us) scheduled in Early September, 2019 as two couples from England joined us? We would like the most and best trip for all of us. We are planning to enter the lottery for The Wave hiking on Monday and Tuesday just in case. If we cannot get in, we will take alternative tours.

Would you comment and suggest/advise on our schedule?
I think we are very aggressive in scheduling, but friends from England want to take an advantage of this once in life time opportunity with us.

Another question is can we do Zion and Bryce Canyon in one day and spend one day in Page touring Powell Lake and Antelope Canyon?

I appreciate your assistance in advance. John

Saturday: Arriving in Phoenix around 6 PM
Plan to drive to Williams or Grand Canyon Village.

Sunday: Tour in Grand Canyon and leaving for Page, AZ
Staying in Page until Wednesday morning

Monday: Possible hiking in The Wave (entry for on line lottery in May) or
enter the walk-in for lottery for Tuesday.
Or alternative options like : Antelope Canyon Upper and lower,
The Second Wave, The Alcove, Top Rock Arch, Melody Arch and the Grotto, Sand Cove, and Fatali’s Boneyard.

Tuesday : Just in case for hiking in The wave or alternative options:
1/2 day Float trip in Powell lake and Rainbow Bridge Monument
Stay in Page and

Wednesday: leaving for Bryce Canyon and tour/hiking
Stay in Hatch or Orderville depending upon how late we leave from
Bryce Canyon.

Thursday: at Zion Canyon and drive to LV

Friday : Tour and show at LV.

Saturday : drive to Phoenix at 6 PM flight departure
stop by Hoover Dam

    Alley Keosheyan - January 28, 2019

    Hi John and thank you for visiting us!
    I totally understand wanting to see and do as much as possible, especially if your visit to the American Southwest is a “once-in-a-lifetime” experience for your UK friends. That said, your plan is OK, but warrants a few small “reality checks,” as well as some modifications for optimal safety, comfort, and enjoyment.
    First off, if your flights arrive into Phoenix at 6:00 PM, I’d recommend that you simply spend the night there and head for Grand Canyon South Rim the following morning. The drive from Phoenix to the Grand Canyon takes ~4.5 hours. Nighttime driving is strongly discouraged in Northern Arizona for several reasons: 1. artificial/supplemental lighting is deliberately kept to a minimum on local roadways in order to preserve the natural qualities of the night sky. 2. Deer, elk, free range cattle, feral horses, coyotes, and other wildlife are notoriously nocturnal and getting into a collision with one is something best not risked. Sunset in early September occurs at around 6:45 PM. It would be better IMO to rest up that evening, especially if your British companions are still shaking off jet lag. Then make that long drive when everybody’s a little fresher. Whichever you decide, be sure you make your Grand Canyon lodging reservations well in advance of your arrival.
    If you want to try your hand at getting permits for The Wave, you can apply for the online lottery in July if you wish. With a party of 6, though, I have to tell you that that reduces your odds of getting a permit by any means quite dramatically. Another thing to keep in mind is that September is considered prime hiking season in the area, and people know that. Competition for permits will be even more vigorous then. By the way, some of the “alternate” areas you’ve listed – The Second Wave, The Alcove, Top Rock Arch, Melody Arch and the Grotto, Sand Cove, and Fatali’s Boneyard – are within the Coyote Buttes Special Management Area, so without a permit, you won’t be seeing them. The good news is, there are lots of other areas nearby that are just as spectacular, but don’t require a permit to visit, such as White Pocket, Soap Creek, Sidestep Canyon, Pinnacle Valley, or Alstrom Point, just to name a few. Physical degree of difficulty varies widely, but one commonality is the recommendation for a 4WD/high clearance vehicle to get to these sites. If you’re driving a rental car, you’d void your insurance just attempting the journey, so it is best to go with a licensed tour outfitter.
    Where you indicate that you’d do “the float trip and Rainbow Bridge” in one day, that won’t happen for you due to overlapping schedules for these activities. During the summer and fall months, the Rainbow Bridge Boat Tour departs at 7:30 AM and returns at approximately 2:30-3:30 PM depending on the water level of Lake Powell. The Glen Canyon Float Trip departs twice daily at 7:00 AM and 1:00 PM. Check-in for all activities is required one hour prior to departure. Long story short, you’d have to choose one or the other water-based activity, and if pressed, I’d recommend the Glen Canyon Float Trip, because there’s still a way you can see Rainbow Bridge without doing the boat trip: fly over it. Fixed-wing airplanes and helicopters depart daily from the Page Municipal Airport and can show you not only Rainbow Bridge, but the Glen Canyon Dam, a good chunk of Lake Powell, and Horseshoe Bend. You might also inquire about chartering a flight over not only these locations, but The Wave as well. Yes, that would be expensive, but with the odds of your getting a hiking permit being what they are, and this most likely being your UK friends’ only opportunity to see The Wave, it might prove to be a worthwhile investment of both time and money.
    Where you say that you’d “stay in Hatch or Orderville depending upon how late we leave from Bryce Canyon,” that won’t work. You need to have hotel reservations in advance for each stage of your trip. Again, September is a very busy time of year in Northern Arizona and Southern Utah, so hotels will be sold out by the time you arrive. A place that might be a little more conducive to your plans is Kanab, UT. It is centrally located between Bryce and Zion, so you’d be well situated for making the drive to Las Vegas with a detour in Zion.
    The drive from Las Vegas to Phoenix would then take ~4.5 hours.
    Sorry if my comments seem like they’re a bit “all over the place,” but I hope they are helpful. Feel free to contact us again for further guidance.
    Good luck and safe travels!
    Alley 🙂

      John Colowich - April 18, 2019

      Hi Alley,

      Thank you so much for your input and advise.
      We have shared your input and my British friends are very excited about the trip and they would get over the jet lag and willing to do their best to keep up with us. After reading your advise, we have a few more questions.

      1. How do we get the permit to see these areas you mentioned?
      The second wave you mentioned is different than second wave in Page near the dam?

      “The Second Wave, The Alcove, Top Rock Arch, Melody Arch and the Grotto, Sand Cove, and Fatali’s Boneyard – are within the Coyote Buttes Special Management Area, so without a permit, you won’t be seeing them.”

      2. Driving on Saturday to Grand Canyon Village during night.
      I understood your concern about night time driving in the country roads. How about staying in Flagstaff on Saturday?
      I thought driving I-17 Interstate highway at night should not pose problems of meeting elk and deer.

      3. We are going to stay in Page perhaps for 3 nights to see other places you mention. Is it reasonable to drive Monumental Valley after viewing Lower Antelope Canyon on the same day and coming back to Page to stay in the same place? Is it too much driving in a day?

      Thank you, John.

        Alley Keosheyan - April 19, 2019

        Hi John, and thank you for your very well-constructed inquiry 😉
        1. The “Wave” near Glen Canyon Dam that I referred to is actually known as the “New Wave.” The “Second Wave” is part of the Coyote Buttes North area, which includes “The Wave.” Getting a hiking permit for this area is extremely difficult. Only 20 people per day — not 20 groups, 20 PEOPLE — are allowed in that area. 10 permits per day are distributed by online lottery 4 months in advance, then another 10 permits are given out the day prior to when you wish to hike at the in-person lottery at the Grand Staircase Visitors Center in Kanab, UT. Frankly speaking, chances aren’t good of you getting a permit for The Wave if you don’t have one already. But, you might consider chartering a flight over that area. Yes, it’s legal! For more information, read this piece on one of our companion sites, “So You Didn’t Get A Wave Permit; Now What?”
        2. Driving at night on I-17, you’ll definitely encounter better lighting, but I’ve driven that road quite a few times and seen my share of roadkill. Wherever you decide to stay that night, try to get to your destination before nightfall if at all possible.
        3. Visiting Monument Valley as a day trip from Page, AZ, is certainly doable, and is often the only option people have because lodging in that area is so scarce. It’s a 2-hour drive each way, and you must bear in mind that Page, AZ, is on Mountain Standard Time, whereas Monument Valley is on Mountain DAYLIGHT Time. So, you’ll “lose” an hour traveling from Page to MV, then “gain” it back as you return. If you are wanting to take part in any scheduled activities, guided tours, etc., in Monument Valley, you’ll need to leave one hour “early” out of Page, AZ. If the prospect of all that driving, and factoring in the time difference, doesn’t appeal, here again, the solution might be to get airborne. Fixed wing airplane tours fly over Monument Valley daily out of the Page Municipal Airport, they typically run ~90 minutes.
        Hope that helps! Good luck and safe travels,
        Alley 🙂

        John Collowich - April 19, 2019

        Hi Alley,

        We are revising our trip plan and staying in Knab or Page for 3-4 nights depending upon further recommendations from experts like you.

        We would like to visit many places in Coyotes Butte when we are there although we may not get Permit to Wave.
        We love to visit places like Vermillion Cliffs, Buckskin Gulch, White Pocket, Cottenwood Teepees, Paw Hole and Wahweap Hoodoos.

        Can we visit two to three spots on one day?
        With guided tour, it may be easier to achieve two to three places on one day?
        Which places do you suggest viewing on one day?

        Thank you again for your recommendation.

          Alley Keosheyan - April 22, 2019

          Hey again, Jeff, thanks for coming back to bounce more ideas off us.
          Here’s the deal: The Wave is in the Special Management Area called Coyote Buttes, which is divided into two sections, North (which includes The Wave) and South (which includes Paw Hole and the Cottonwood Teepees). Both require hiking permits, but Coyote Buttes South permits tend to be easier to get, and, many hikers contend that it’s more beautiful than Coyote Buttes North!
          If you cannot get either a Coyote Buttes North or South permit, White Pocket would make an excellent alternative. The hiking aspect of it is not difficult, but the drive definitely is. Lots of deep sand, lots of horror stories of vehicles getting hopelessly stuck and/or lost since there’s no established trail. That’s why we recommend going with a licensed tour guide. There are many to choose from, I know the owners of Paria Outpost and Vermillion Adventures personally. Both can do a White Pocket/Buckskin Gulch/Wire Pass combination tour if you desire.
          If you have an extra day to work with, the Wahweap Hoodoos hike can easily take up the better part of a day. I don’t recall when you were visiting, but if you’re coming during the hotter months of summer, you’ll want to schedule all labor-intensive activities for the earlier (read: “cooler”) part of the day and bring plenty of water and sunscreen.
          Good luck and let us know how you get on!
          Alley 🙂

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Pat - November 26, 2018

Hello and thanks for a very informative site. I will be traveling from Denver to Southern CA with my adult daughter mid December and we wanted to visit The Wave among other sites. Is it worth the side trip to go to the center, even if we aren’t able to get a permit? I can’t tell if any of the land formation is viewable without hiking inland. Thanks again for so much information.

    Alley Keosheyan - November 26, 2018

    Hi Pat, and thank you for your inquiry.
    Competition for Wave permits is pretty fierce, no matter when you try and go. The good news is that in the likely event that you aren’t able to get a permit, there is plenty of other good stuff to see in the area, including, but not limited to: White Pocket, Sidestep Canyon, Soap Creek, Pinnacle Valley, Wire Pass Canyon, Buckskin Gulch … just to name a few. Which one you visit depends on how much time you have and how much hiking you’re willing to do, or not do. Since many of these areas are located on roads that may be rendered impassable after a rain or snowstorm, we do not recommend attempting to get to them in a rental car, but to hire a licensed guide service instead.
    For more information, visit our companion sites, or
    Hope that helps. Best wishes for safe travels, and a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
    Alley 🙂

Ronaldo SanAgustin - November 5, 2018

Hi Alley,

If I apply online, for me, my wife , two teenagers and a dog, can my wife submit her own application for herself, for me, two teenagers and a dog? Or is that considered “gaming the system”?

    Alley Keosheyan - November 5, 2018

    Hi Ronaldo,
    Unfortunately, you are correct: you and your wife applying separately for Wave permits for your family would be a “no no.” However, all applicants are allowed to pick three dates they’d be available to hike.
    Sorry to be the bearer of bad news. Good luck on your Wave permit application, and for more tips on what to do in the very likely event you don’t get a permit, visit our companion site,
    Happy Thanksgiving, Christmas & New Year,
    Alley 🙂

Alyssa - October 22, 2018

Hi there! Thanks for this great post and your replies 🙂 I’m going to try my hand in December at getting a permit for April 2019. It will be my husband and I, so I’m planning to apply for 2 permits. I’m wondering though, as I think we’d like to book a tour guide…do they need a permit as well? Or are they able to piggy-back of ours? Thank you!!

    Alley Keosheyan - October 22, 2018

    Hi Alyssa,
    Thank you for visiting our site! We wish you the best of luck on getting a Wave permit, and hiring a guide is a great way to ensure that you get the most out of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. If you do opt to go that route, you do not need to secure a permit for your guide. They are automatically, as you put it, “piggy-backed” onto your permit. For a complete list of authorized guides for The Wave and other scenic areas of the Vermilion Cliffs and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments, visit our companion site,
    Good luck and safe travels,
    Alley 🙂

Krystal - October 1, 2018

I am planning to apply for next February for my husband, son and I. My son will only be 10 months old and have to be carried the whole time. Since he will not be walking, does he still need a permit? Just trying to figure out if I need to apply for 2 or 3 people.

Thanks for your help!

    Alley Keosheyan - October 1, 2018

    Hey Krystal,
    Yes, believe it or not, you will need to apply for a permit for the baby. 1 permit per ‘body’ is the rule.
    Before you commit to this, however, you should consider carefully whether this will be a safe activity for your little one, especially at that time of year. February is smack-dab in the middle of winter. Best case scenario, it will be clear, but cold; worst case scenario, you could encounter a blinding snowstorm. Not exactly ideal conditions for a 6-mile hike with a 10 month old in tow. Not to say it hasn’t been done, of course, but be sure you go into this “eyes wide open.”
    For more tips on hiking to The Wave, and alternate activities to consider in the very likely event you are not selected in the lottery, visit our sister site
    Good luck and safe travels,
    Alley 🙂

Miun - September 19, 2018

Hi, Alley.
I’m so glad I found you article. It helps me so much to plan my family trip. I have a couple of questions.
I’m planning 7-day trip starting from Las Vegas( arriving at 11 am on 10/20 and leaving 12:30pm on 10/27).

Major places that I want to visit are Zion canyon, Bryce Canyon, Page, Monument Valley, Grand Canyon, Sedona and Hoover dam.

I’m not quite sure I have enough time to visit both Zion and Bryce Canyons. I have two kids who are 8-year-old daughter and 12-year-old son). I would love to walk one of easy trails either at Zion or Bryce canyons. I’m stuck at this point.
Do you have any suggestions?
Thank you so much!!

    Alley Keosheyan - September 19, 2018

    Dear Miun,
    Hello and thank you for visiting our site!
    Unfortunately, you don’t have sufficient time to hit all the areas on your list and spend anything resembling “quality time.” Since you are using Las Vegas as your staging city, I’d recommend dropping Sedona from your wish list. 1. It’s closer to Phoenix, so more conducive to flying in and out of that airport and 2. It really needs 3 days to do it justice. Save it for another trip, if at all possible.
    A typical 7-day Southwest US itinerary would go as follows:
    2 days – Zion
    1 day – Bryce
    2 days – Page (Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend, Glen Canyon Float Trip)
    1 day – Monument Valley
    1 day – Grand Canyon (hit Hoover Dam on the drive back to Las Vegas)
    As for easy trails in Bryce and Zion, there are many to choose from. In Zion, Emerald Pools and Weeping Rock are considered the “quintessential” family-oriented hikes. In Bryce, the Rim Trail can be enjoyed for as short as 1/2 a mile, up to 5.5 miles. For more suggestions visit: Joe’s Guide to Zion National Park – Recommended Hikes and’s Best Hikes in Bryce Canyon
    Hope that helps. Good luck and have fun!
    Alley 🙂

      Miun - September 21, 2018

      Thank you so much, Alley.
      It helps a lot to plan our trip. I’m so excited!!
      As you suggested, i’m thinking to drop Sedona for this trip.
      Thanks, again.

Renarda - September 15, 2018

Is the office open on Sunday if your trying to get a walk in permit for Monday?

    Alley Keosheyan - September 17, 2018

    Hi Renarda, and thank you for your excellent question!
    The answer depends on what time of year you’re wanting to visit.
    If you’re traveling during “peak season,” which is mid-March to Mid November, walk-in permits can be obtained seven (7) days a week. During “shoulder” and “off” season periods, which occur between mid-November through mid-March, walk-in permits are issued Monday-Friday, except for Federal holidays (including Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, and President’s Day). During this time, permits for Saturday-Monday are drawn on Friday.
    For more information, visit the Bureau of Land Management Coyote Buttes Permit Information page, or our sister site,
    Good luck and safe travels,
    Alley 🙂

Julie Coldwater - September 5, 2018

Your site looks great!!! We are planning on flying into Vegas (staying overnight) next summer and then going straight to Grand Canyon South Rim (booked already). Then hitting these:
Page – 2 nights for Monument Valley and float tour at Glen Canyon
From Page to Bryce
From Bryce to Zion
Can you tell me where I should fit in Arches, Capitol Reef, Moab and Canyonlands and how long to spend at each of those? There is so much to do and I’m overwhelmed trying to get a great itinerary together!
Thank you so much!

    Alley Keosheyan - September 5, 2018

    Hi Julie!
    Seeing as though you’re planning to hit Grand Canyon South Rim first right out of Vegas, I recommend that you plan the remainder of your itinerary as follows:
    * Las Vegas to Grand Canyon
    * Grand Canyon to Page
    * Page to Monument Valley
    * Monument Valley to Moab (Arches/Canyonlands)
    * Moab to Capitol Reef
    * Capitol Reef to Bryce
    * Bryce to Zion
    * Zion to Las Vegas
    For a more detailed itinerary, with day-by-day suggestions of activities and attractions in each location, check out this article on our sister site, “Grand Canyon, Zion, Moab & More: 14 Days In The Grand Circle.”
    Good luck and safe travels!
    Alley 🙂

Christine Shelby - August 17, 2018

Question. If you submit an application for the Wave. And you get picked. But you cant go. Can you give your ticket to another Person? Or is it then void if the original winner cant go?
Thank You

    Alley Keosheyan - August 17, 2018

    Hi Christine,
    Great question! Unfortunately, I don’t have a great answer for you.
    Wave permits are non-transferable and non-refundable. If you attempt to give or sell your permit to another party, rangers on-site may opt to check for ID’s at any time, and if anything is found to be amiss or in violation of BLM rules regarding transfer of permits, you and they could be fined anywhere from $1,000-$10,000. If you need to cancel your trip you can cancel the permit by mailing it back to the St. George, Utah office at: 345 E. Riverside Drive, St. George, Utah 84790.
    For more information about The Wave, visit our sister site,
    Good luck and safe travels,
    Alley 🙂

Jenny - August 13, 2018

When is the “low season” to increase the chance of getting a permit?
I’m sure that you can see 500 people in one day in July in front of visitor center but much less in other months… What month(s) has less visitors?

    Alley Keosheyan - August 13, 2018

    Hi Jenny,
    Great question!
    Nowadays, there aren’t too many timeframes that see a dip in the number of permit hopefuls, The Wave is just that popular. However, we do tend to see a slight decrease in applicants during two distinct periods: the hottest part of summer (late June through early September), and the dead of winter (December – February). Notice the word “slight.” People still go for it, and sometimes do so unprepared. Just last month, we had a heat-related fatality involving a hiker from Belgium. These types of incidents, though rare, tend to happen most often in the summer months. With increased demand for Wave permits spilling over into the Winter months, it’s only a matter of time until we hear about hypothermia-related casualties.
    Hope that helps and best of luck on your quest to see The Wave! For more information about The Wave and alternate sites that are just as beautiful but don’t require a permit, visit our sister site,
    Take care,
    Alley 🙂

Justin Bowen - July 10, 2018

I’d like to throw my two cents in from someone who hiked to The Wave last week (yes, it was hot).

Choose your hiking partner(s) wisely.

I traveled with my family to Utah for six days between this week and last to do some hiking. The Wave was not part of the itinerary, but I figured that since we were in town it couldn’t hurt too much to apply in-person. If we won we would then have an awesome opportunity to see a one-of-a-kind phenomenon; if we lost, then we’d just be late in getting to our destination (Zion). Imagine my surprise, then, when I learned that we’d won (I actually forgot my number so I had to go up and look after the drawing was over).

Fast forward to the trip, the whole day didn’t start out great. The other half isn’t a morning person. So getting her and the kid up at 4:00 AM (after having had less than 6 hours of sleep because they refused to listen to me about the need for sleep) to get ready for the trip and to drive to the trailhead proved to be almost too much; had I known where the keys were I literally would have left them and went alone. The road, as has already been mentioned, is rough. So driving over the bumpy road with a grumpy person next to me made the morning even worse.

Once there, things were literally no better. I tried to convince her that she needed long sleeves and pants. Nothing I said mattered.

“Why would I wear long sleeves and pants in the desert?”

She put on her shorts and a sleeveless shirt and donned her pack – which did NOT have the gallon of water in it that the ranger recommended (I wasn’t going to make my 11-year old – whose pack only carried 1.5L – carry a full gallon of water, so I attached eight extra 1.5L hydration packs onto my bag – which already contained 3L of water and snacks – so that we wouldn’t run out of water).

On the actual trail, things only got worse. She complained about the uphill slogging through the sand. She complained about the heat. She wanted to go off-trail to find a shorter route to the place that she’d never been to before…in the desert. And then there were the variations on “How much longer?” and “I’m not going any further!” whines from her (my 11-year old was actually perfectly fine for almost the whole trip). Once there, her reaction was essentially “This is it?”.

The outbound was no better than the inbound. More whining. More wanting to take “short cuts”. More complaints about the heat. More comments about not going any further. Suffice it to say, we’re never hiking together again.

Now, you might ask: why would you bring someone on a hike who didn’t like to hike? Well, the answer is this: I didn’t know that she was going to be like this. Based on previous hikes, I actually figured that this would actually be a step down. A couple years prior, we actually hiked into Bryce Canyon FROM Tropic. We took a back road to the outskirts of Bryce Canyon, hiked all the way to Sunset Point, refilled, and hiked back to our car (round trip: over 13 miles – in August). We’ve climbed mountains in Yellowstone, did the Angels Landing trail in Zion, hiked and snorkeled in the Galapagos, and have done so much more that led me to believe that she could easily handle this. I was totally taken aback by her reaction to the hike.

So my lesson that I want to impart to you is, again, to choose your hiking partner(s) wisely. If you are not absolutely 100% confident that your hiking partner(s) will be as excited as you are about the trip, find a different partner. Given that you have a small chance of winning the lottery once, don’t let someone else ruin what might be a once-in-a-lifetime trip for you.

    Alley Keosheyan - July 11, 2018

    Holy crap, Justin, I’m so sorry you had to go through that, on what should have been a joyous, once-in-a-lifetime occasion. I, too, would have thought that after doing Angel’s Landing, and some of the other activities you describe, The Wave should have been a piece of cake for your “other half.” Oh well, the desert heat cam turn a lot of people cranky who wouldn’t be otherwise. Your points are well-taken and hopefully, will be of some benefit to future travelers considering a trip to The Wave! It does sound as though your 11 YO is a natural-born hiker and would make for a much more agreeable companion on future adventures — perhaps a Grand Canyon Rim to Rim? 😉
    Take care, and despite this experience, I hope you get to come back to the area again someday.
    P.S. If your SO is with you on a return trip, she won’t say “is this IT?if you guys do this.

Tami Fagan - June 29, 2018

Do they only allow 20 permits per day or 20 people on the trail per day? If I am hiking with two friends, do we all need a permit or does just one of us need a permit? If one wins a permit and the other two don’t, do they have to sideline?

    Alley Keosheyan - June 29, 2018

    Hey Tami,
    It is indeed only 20 people per day allowed on the trail. 1 permit = 1 body. If you apply for the online permit on behalf of a party 3 people, that means only 7 more spaces will be left for the BLM to grant for that particular day. Another 10 spaces will be given out by walk-in lottery in Kanab, UT the day prior to when you wish to hike.
    Good luck and safe travels,
    Alley 🙂

5 Cheap Summer Road Trip Ideas That Every College Student Should Try – Small Budget Traveling - June 19, 2018

[…] dream is located along the Arizona/Utah border, about 40 miles west of Horseshoe Bend. You have to apply for a permit in advance, as well as pay $5 to enter a lottery. Only 20 people are allowed to hike The Wave per day. Ten are […]

5 Cheap Summer Road Trip Ideas That Every College Student Should Try | Vacation Inspiration - June 18, 2018

[…] dream is located along the Arizona/Utah border, about 40 miles west of Horseshoe Bend. You have to apply for a permit in advance, as well as pay $5 to enter a lottery. Only 20 people are allowed to hike The Wave per day. 10 are […]

Carol - June 4, 2018

how can I find out who won the lottery for August 2018?

    Alley Keosheyan - June 4, 2018

    Hi Carol,
    If you applied for The Wave lottery, and were successful in obtaining a permit, you should have received an e-mail from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) notifying you of such by now. For further inquiry, you would need to contact the Bureau of Land Management’s Kanab Field Office at (435) 644-1200 or If you were not drawn in the on-line lottery, you may also apply in-person for a walk-in permit the day prior to when you wish to hike at the Grand Staircase-Escalante Visitors Center in Kanab.
    Good luck,
    Alley 🙂

Mariann - May 29, 2018

Hi Alley,
Thank you for this detailed information. I am part of a group of four that is trying to get tickets for October 2018. We have a fairly flexible schedule, so can plan our trip around our Wave permits (if we get them.)
My questions are:
1. Do you increase your chances of getting a permit if you enter May 1 as opposed to May 31 or is the lottery based on the entire month and what day you apply doesn’t affect your chances? If so, would it be better to wait until the last day and see which days have the least applications?
2. Can each of our party of 4 submit a different application or can only one person from the group apply?
Thank you,

    Alley Keosheyan - June 4, 2018

    Hi Mariann and thank you for your excellent inquiry regarding Wave permits.
    1. The day you apply for the online lottery does not affect your chances whatsoever of getting (or not getting) a permit. Apply when it’s convenient for you, or, as you suggest, wait until later in the month to guage which dates have fewer applicants.
    2. Only one permit request per party is allowed.
    If you are not chosen via the online lottery, you may apply in-person for the walk-in lottery the day prior to when you wish to hike at the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument Visitors Center in Kanab, UT.
    For more information about The Wave, and other activities to pursue in the likely event you are not successful in obtaining a permit, visit our sister site,
    Good luck and safe travels!
    Alley 🙂

Jessica Sugar - May 22, 2018

Hello, I’m wondering what happens if there are ever cancellations? Thank you!

    Alley Keosheyan - May 23, 2018

    Hi Jessica,
    If you’re referring to cancellations for Wave permits, these are given away during the walk-in lottery held the day prior to when you wish to hike at the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument Visitor Center in Kanab, UT.
    Good luck and safe travels,
    Alley 🙂

      Jessica Sugar - May 23, 2018

      I was and thank you!

8 surreal desert landscapes you need to see in your lifetime - Lifehacker Guru - April 14, 2018

[…] you want to visit, be sure to plan ahead: Visitors must enter a daily lottery to get tickets. (This system protects the structural integrity of the […]

Thomas Fung - January 31, 2018

I’m flying over with a frd from Hong Kong. I would like to make a reservation on either 14/15 Feb. How is there any chance to get 2 lottery?

Thank you

    Alley Keosheyan - January 31, 2018

    Hi Thomas,
    If you’re referring to how to get to Kanab, UT to try your hand at the walk-in lottery for Wave permits for the following day, your best bet is to drive. If you’re flying into Las Vegas, the approximate drive time is 4 hours. Connecting flights from Las Vegas to St. George, UT are also available that would reduce your drive time to approximately 90 minutes. In either case, though, you should plan to arrive in Kanab, UT the day prior to when you want to try the lottery, and stay in a hotel for a minimum of 2 days time: 1 night prior to the lottery, then another night after you complete your hike to The Wave, should you be successful in obtaining a permit. In the likely event you are not successful, there are several tour companies in the area that can take you to other beautiful places that aren’t so hard to get access to, such as White Pocket, the “White” Wave, Mystical Slot Canyon and others.
    Hope that helps and good luck,
    Alley 🙂

Arizona Bucket list: The Wave, AZ – Horseshoe Bend, Arizona - January 30, 2018

[…] One of the most highly sought hiking permits in the American Southwest is for the Wave, AZ, located about 40 minutes west of Horseshoe Bend and Antelope Canyon. This bucket list item attracts people from all over the world, with well over a thousand people a day applying for just 20 permits. How to get a Wave Permit […]

cara - January 19, 2018

Hi Alley,
I’m a bit confused with the Wave tours… Do we need to apply for the lottery if we are on a tour? Wouldn’t that be included on our tour? Also, do you recommend any tour companies that take you in?
Thank you so much!

    Alley Keosheyan - January 19, 2018

    Hi Cara,
    Sorry for the confusion. As it states in the notes, toward the bottom of the article

    “Using a guide does not exclude you from the permit requirement, nor does it increase your chances of getting one.”

    So you would still need to go through the online lottery process, unfortunately, or try your hand at getting a walk-in permit if you strike out there. In the likely event you do not get a Wave permit, the tour companies that go to this area would be able to take you to alternate sites via prior arrangement, such as White Pocket, Steamboat Rock, Cobra Arch, Buckskin Gulch or you could visit The “New” Wave near Page, AZ on your own.

    As for the best tour company to use, that would probably hinge on where you were staying. For example, if you were staying in Page, Arizona, Roger Ekis’ Antelope Canyon Tours is licensed to go to these areas. If you’re staying in Kanab, Utah, Dreamland Safari Tours comes highly recommended. Right between the two towns on US is Paria, Utah, home of Paria Outpost & Outfitters. They have also been going to The Wave and surrounding attractions for many years.
    Hope that helps! Have fun and safe travels,
    Alley 🙂

Jen - January 3, 2018

Hi – I’m wondering how to increase my chances of winning the lottery?

I’ve been listing my party as 4 people. Does this give me a smaller chance of winning, than if my party size was only 2 people?

Aside from my husband, I’d like to bring our two good friends (who we often hike with).

Do they mean they draw passes for 10 parties (of varying sizes), or 10 unique individuals? In other words, if my party of 4 got a pass, would they draw for 9 other parties, or just 6 other people?

    Alley Keosheyan - January 4, 2018

    Hi Jen,
    Unfortunately, there’s no way to really increase your odds of winning the lottery. Names are drawn at random and so many people apply on any given day that it’s a huge stroke of luck if you win. And yes, when they draw 10 passes, it’s 10 people, not 10 parties. So if your party of 4 won, only 6 other people would get to hike that day. Of course, you’re welcome to apply for 2 people, but that’s no guarantee that your friends would get drawn the same day.
    Now, one tiny exception: plan your hike during bad weather periods. That means dead of winter/heat of summer. Hiking at either time is risky, but summer is especially, because daytime high temperatures can exceed 110 degrees, increasing your risk for heat-related maladies, including dehydration, heat exhaustion, heat stroke and even death (it’s happened). The Bureau of Land Management, naturally, assumes no responsibility for these incidents as lottery winners are well-informed of the potential risks beforehand.
    I know that probably doesn’t help, but we wish you the best of luck! Be sure to plan for some alternative activities in the likely event you do not win the online or in-person lottery.
    Take care,
    Alley 🙂

Clax Basso - August 13, 2017

I understand the necessity to preserve this beuatiful spot. But I live in Europeand I came 3 times in three different years to Kanab to try to see the Wave, and I never got a permit, in a total of 12 attempts.
To be honest is rubbish, especially becaue you have to be every day in it to have a walk in permit ( after failed the online lottery obisuly) for 12 mornings I wasted most of my morning to attend a lottery. I am sorry but I think that in the 21st century there should be a better system. Even because then the few pwoplw allowed to get to the wave they make every single stupoid pictures the a man mind is allowed to think of, making it probably more dangerous for the wave than 100 toruist per day consciousnly respecting the place. I am sorry but I have seen now hundreds and hundreds of stupid pictures on internet of people going to the Wave, bringing no respect. and I am a photographer. This is very, very disappointing

    Alley Keosheyan - August 16, 2017

    Dear Clax,
    Trust us, we feel your pain on this. Between us and our friends, family and associates we probably have over a hundred failed attempts at getting Wave permits.
    The Bureau of Land Management has tried several methods in order to ensure that not only does the fragile area get protected, but everyone gets a fair shake at getting a permit, and right now, this is the best they can offer. If you have an idea for a “better system,” by all means, pitch it to them – but be prepared to deal with an entrenched, convoluted bureaucracy.
    That’s why we suggested alternative activities, such as White Pocket, Steamboat Rock, Buckskin Gulch and Cobra Arch at the end of the piece.
    Wishing you all the best,
    Alley 🙂

    Mike Corn - April 25, 2018

    “I live in Europe”…”people…make stupid pictures”…”I am a photographer” If I understand this correctly, we should therefore grant a special privilege to this foreigner? Karma is a b*tch!

      Alley Keosheyan - April 25, 2018

      Hey Mike,
      No one’s saying that at all, but then again, we understand how that particular “foreigner” feels. Scores of people come from all over the world and sometimes spend weeks (and a lot of money) in Kanab, UT, Page, AZ and the communities near The Wave, trying, trying again, and trying again, etc., etc., ad nauseum for just a few highly coveted and hotly competed for permits. And more often than not, they go home disappointed. That’s why we’re working on a sister site to this one, to help promote alternate sites that offer sightseeing that’s just as good, if not better, than The Wave, yet aren’t so strictly regulated. Check it out if you’re inclined.
      Best wishes for continued good karma,
      Alley 🙂

Arizona Bucket list: The Wave, AZ - Horseshoe Bend, Arizona - May 29, 2017

[…] One of the most highly sought hiking permits in the American Southwest is for the Wave, AZ, located about 40 minutes west of Horseshoe Bend and Antelope Canyon. This bucket list item attracts people from all over the world, with well over a thousand people a day applying for just 20 permits. How to get a Wave Permit […]

    Robert - June 23, 2017

    How to get permit in toward end of December this year

      Alley Keosheyan - June 26, 2017

      Hi Robert,
      Thank you for visiting our site!
      If I understand you correctly, you’re wanting to actually hike The Wave around the end of December? If that is the case, you can enter the North Coyote Buttes online permit lottery beginning August 1st. The last day to submit an entry is August 31st. Those who succeed in securing a permit will be notified via e-mail on September 1st.
      If you do not succeed in getting a permit through the online lottery, you can also try for a walk-in permit the day prior to when you wish to actually hike at the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument (GSENM) Visitor Center located at 745 E. Highway 89 in Kanab, UT. Applications for walk-in permits are taken from 8 AM to 9 AM, with winners drawn at 9 AM sharp. If the day you wish to hike falls on a Monday, keep in mind that in December, the visitors center will observe winter hours, so permit applications will be taken the Friday beforehand.
      Hope that helps. Good luck!
      Alley 🙂

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