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How To Get A Permit For The Wave Arizona

A once hidden gem is now found!

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, for years, only 20 lucky people per day were allowed to visit Coyote Buttes North and The Wave in Arizona. In February 2021, the BLM approved an increase in the daily hiker quota to 64 people, or 16 groups, whichever comes first. In order to be included in that number, 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  website. Forty-eight (48) 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, etc.

For more information regarding the Wave go to

While waiting for your permit, check out Antelpe Canyon!

Lower Antelope Canyon

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There is a $9.00 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.

2. Obtain an in-person permit through a daily virtual lottery. Read a first-hand account from someone who hiked The Wave on a walk-in permit

64 people a day are allowed to hike to Coyote Buttes North and The Wave. 48 will have secured their permits ahead of time by online lottery; the remaining 16 hiking slots can be acquired by in-person/walk-in permit. **Effective March 2022, the lottery for last-minute hiking permits to the Wave will transition to an app-based system, administered by, whereby visitors may apply for a permit to hike the Wave from their cell phone or other mobile device two days prior to when they wish to hike. Entries will be monitored through a geofence system which limits participation to those physically present within a designated radius around the communities of Page, AZ, and Kanab, UT. Geofence Perimeter Map Successful applicants would then be notified by text to pick up their permits and attend a mandatory safety briefing at the Page-Lake Powell Tourism Hub in Page, AZ, or the Kane County Visitor Center & Office of Tourism in Kanab, UT. Fact Sheet for New Mobile-Based Wave Permit Lottery 

General Notes:

  • The hike from Wire Pass Trailhead to The Wave is approximately 6 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 FoldSteamboat RockCobra ArchBuckskin Gulch or The “New” Wave near Page, AZ.

For more information regarding the Wave go to

Comments Section

214 Responses

  1. We are 4 girls group and not very good at hiking but we are physically fit. Do you think we can hike the wave in December?

    1. Hi there,
      When you say you are physically fit, I assume that to mean you get regular and vigorous exercise. If you are up for walking 6+ miles in exposed, rugged desert terrain, you could probably make the hike to The Wave and back.
      The main obstacle to doing this, however, is not your physical fitness – or lack thereof – frankly. It’s the highly competitive permit process for accessing Coyote Buttes North.
      If you wish to hike to The Wave in December, you must apply for a permit in the month of August, which only has 3 days left in it. To submit your application, visit Coyote Buttes North Advance Permits
      Since December is a cooler month, you might have more competition for permits in the advance lottery. Then again, some hikers may be scared off by the possibility of snow and other winter conditions. In any case, in the likely event you are not selected for an advance lottery permit, you do have a second chance of obtaining a Wave permit via the in-person lottery, held 2 days prior to your desired hiking date. For this, you must apply via’s smartphone app (applications are not accepted via desktop or laptop), and physically be within a certain vicinity of Page, AZ, or Kanab, UT. Participation is monitored by “geofence” technology. If you are selected, you will be notifed that evening. The next morning, you will be expected to attend a safety briefing at one of two locations: the Kanab Center Gymnasium in Kanab, UT, or the Page-Lake Powell Hub in Page, AZ.
      In the meantime, I strongly recommend reading up on the rigors of the hike to The Wave. There are plenty of YouTube videos on that subject, or visit our partner site, for more information.
      Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

  2. Is a permit needed for the Lower Antelope Canyon Hiking Tour 1.5 hrs; 73.00/adult?? I got to it from this link and am needing to book for mid to late September and it was allowing me to see the availability and times etc. So makes me wonder if that particular tour doesn’t need a permit??
    Thank you

    1. Hi Jean,
      The price of the Lower Antelope Canyon Hiking Tour includes your $8/person Navajo Tribal Park entrance fee, aka your “permit.” Since you posted this inquiry on the page relating to The Wave, you should know that getting a “permit” to hike Page, AZ, slot canyons is nowhere near as convoluted or competitive as The Wave. Thank goodness, huh? LOL
      Hope that helps! If you have further questions, please contact us directly at
      Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

    1. Hi Cynthia,
      Apologies for the delay in response to your inquiry. I was out of the office for a family visit!
      You are correct that Wave permits for October were disbursed in June. October is a very popular time to hike The Wave, and it’s extremely competitive applying for permits at that time of year. Your only opportunity at this point to obtain a hiking permit for Coyote Buttes would be to take part in the in-person lottery which is held 2 days prior to your desired hiking date via a smartphone app managed by You must physically be within a certain radius of Page, AZ, or Kanab, UT, to apply for the permit. If chosen, you would take part in a safety briefing and orientation the following day, then take the hike the day after that.
      For more information on hiking The Wave, including alternate sites, and other methods for seeing the Wave if you don’t get permits, please visit our partner site
      Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

    1. Hi Marnie,
      September hiking permits for Coyote Buttes North and The Wave were issued in May via online lottery. Your only chance of obtaining Wave permits now would be to take part in the walk-in lottery two days prior to your desired hiking date. To do this, you must download the app on your smartphone (walk-in lottery applications may not be submitted via laptop/desktop), and physically be within a prescribed “geofence” area around Page, AZ, and/or Kanab, UT.
      For more information on hiking The Wave, and alternate areas to visit in the likely event you are unable to obtain permits, please visit our partner site,
      Good luck and safe travels,

  3. Hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii Seems the most I can book for the 14th of August is 4 adults, there are 5 in my group??

    1. Hi Ted,
      Please contact us at to clarify exactly which Antelope Canyon tour you’re trying to book.
      If you’re referring to The Wave, as far as we know, up to 6 people may apply on a single advance lottery entry.
      Thank you,

    1. Hi Telkom,
      Yes, as long as the primary and secondary permit holder are listed as different people on each application. Any obvious move to “game the system” may result in all entries being disqualified. Each person may apply only once per month.
      Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

  4. I am thinking of hiring a guide to hike the Wave. Does the guide I hire need a permit too? Will the guide also help me to obtain a permit?

    1. Hi Fuchsia,
      Representatives of tour operators licensed to guide hikers to The Wave DO NOT have to obtain a permit. They have automatically been “grandfathered” into the quota by the Bureau of Land Management.
      As to whether they can help you obtain a permit, some companies will offer such a service, others do not. For more information on authorized guide services for The Wave and Coyote Buttes, visit our partner site Hire A Guide
      Good luck and safe travels,

    1. Hi Bea,
      It depends on the time of year.
      Most of the time, walk-in permits for hiking the Wave are issued 7 days a week.
      If your desired hike date happens to fall on a holiday weekend such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s, or Easter, permits for the weekend and the following Monday may be drawn on a Friday.
      For more information, call the Page-Lake Powell Hub in Page, AZ, at (928) 608-5749 or the Kanab Visitors Center in Kanab, UT, at (435) 644-1300.
      Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

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