The Wave (Coyote Buttes North)
WIRE PASS TRAILHEAD: From Flagstaff, take US Highway 89 toward Page, AZ. Take HWY 89 west out of Page, AZ for 35 miles. Just after milepost 26, turn left onto a dirt road (House Rock Valley Road). The trailhead is about six miles down this road. There is no water at the trailhead. High clearance vehicle needed. This road is impassible after a rain.
WARNING: Make sure you put the permit sticker in your car windshield before you head out... the fine is steep if you don't!
Hike to an iconic rock formation known as the Wave near Page, Arizona.
The Wave rock formation (also known as Coyote Gulch - North) has become an iconic destination, attracting worldwide visitors. After having visited this formation, it is easy to see why. Although there is a significant route finding challenge to complete this hike, the most difficult obstacle is to procure a permit from the BLM. Only 48 people are allowed to visit the Wave via the advanced lottery and an additional 16 people are allowed as a daily lottery. For details and to submit an application to the advanced lottery, visit the following website: www.recreation.gov. It is very easy to see how important limiting visitation is to keeping this area pristine.
From the trailhead (shared with the hike to Wire Pass), follow the instructions provided with your permit. The BLM does not publish a map in an effort to make sure people honor the permitting system, so Arizonahiking.org will respect that decision. One thing that did help us navigate was the GPS coordinates provided by the BLM. We entered these into a GPS device and it made route finding significantly easier. Even with the waypoints, route finding to the wave is a significant challenge. Much of the trail is on sandstone or slick rock that leaves no path.
This area is spectacular in its scenery. Surrounded by stark desert, multi colored sandstone walls, and miles of views, this hike is enjoyable all the way up to your destination. The Wave itself is outer-worldly, difficult to describe and near impossible for a photograph to do justice. Be sure to explore all around this area to enjoy all the different formations nearby.
Once you're finished with the Wave, backtrack along the same path. Consider also checking out Wire Pass, a nearly slot canyon with some short but impressive narrows.