The Wave Lottery – Guide To The Permit & The Wave Hike
Are you dreaming about hiking the Wave, Arizona? Or maybe you are lucky, already have the Wave permit, and are looking for information preparing for this challenging hike? You will find the Wave Lottery odds in our Ultimate Guide to The Wave – Coyote Buttes North. We explain to you, step by step, how to get a permit through the Wave Lottery System. What’s more, we will also tell you how to prepare for the Wave hike. We describe the New Lottery Rules for the Wave hike, which is mandatory in 2023.This article may contain affiliate / compensated links. For full information, please see our disclaimer here.
The Wave Lottery & The Wave Hike – Introduction
How looks the Wave Lottery Odds? How does The Wave Lottery System work? What to do if you didn’t win the lottery? Is it possible to hike the Wave without a permit? In the first part of this article, you will find out all about the Wave lottery. In the second part of the article, you will find tips for hiking the Wave. How does the Wave hike look? How to prepare for this trek? What to pack? And more.
From March 13, 2022, new rules of the Wave lottery come into force, which is also valid in 2023. There will no longer be the so-called “walk-in lottery” in Kanab, which was the last resort for those who failed in the previous “online” lottery. So read our post on how to get a permit for 2023, about the new daily lottery called “geofencing,” and about the advanced online lottery. One of the best things to do in Kanab is hiking the Wave (if you have a permit).
What is The Wave Hike?
The Wave is one of the most Instagrammable and the premier photography spot in the US Southwest. It’s located on the border of Arizona and Utah, between Kanab and Page. Therefore, if you plan a hike to the Wave, the best idea for an overnight stay is to stay in one of these two cities.
The Wave is a fabulous and fragile sandstone rock formation on the Coyote Buttes North’s slopes in the Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness of the Colorado Plateau. Make sure to pack a map, as the area is pure wilderness and desert.
Due to this extraordinary rock formation’s uniqueness and delicacy, entry to The Wave is strictly regulated, and permits are issued by lottery. Till January 2021 there were issued only 20 permits a day, and people worldwide applied for them. In January 2021, the Bureau of Land Management announced new rules, which increase the number of people up to 64 people and/or 16 groups a day from February 1, 2021. So now, your chances of getting a permit are higher. We had luck in the online lottery, but we also tried luck on the walk-in lottery in Kanab for 14 days. Yes. 14 tries. No winning. So, we know how it works. We give you some tips to increase the Wave odds.
UPDATE for 2023: From March 13, 2022, new rules of the Wave lottery come into force. There is no longer the so-called “walk-in lottery” in Kanab, which was the last resort for those who failed in the previous “online” lottery. So read our post to find new rules about “geofencing lottery” and “advanced online lottery”.
What is The Wave Lottery?
You MUST HAVE permission to hike the Wave. It is obligatory. The only way to get a permit is to participate in the Wave lottery. Hiking the Wave without a permit is strictly prohibited. And it is one of the hardest hiking permits to get in the US.
Furthermore, only 20 permits were issued per day—10 in an online lottery and 10 walk-ins (in-person lottery) in Kanab till January 2021. From February 2021 is a bit better, and these rules also apply in 2023.
The Wave permits are day-use only. Overnight staying is prohibited. Drones are prohibited.
The Wave lottery odds are meager. But it’s worth trying. Each year more people all over the world try to get a permit. In 2017 it was over 160 000 applicants. Next year, over 180 000 and only 7300 people had the luck, which means that only 4,0 – 4,5% saw that beauty formation.
But under new rules announced by the Bureau of Land Management up to 64 people and/or 16 groups a day can now make the 6.4-mile hike to the sensitive geologic feature, an increase over the previous cap of 20 visitors a day.
According to new rules (also apply in 2023):
- 48 people and/or 12 groups (whichever comes first) are awarded through the Advanced Lottery (online lottery system).
- The other 16 people and/or 4 groups (whichever comes first) are awarded through the Daily Lottery (previously walk-in lottery in Kanab).
The previous allotment of 20 permits per day allowed for 7,300 chances a year to visit The Wave. The new cap of 64 people per day or 16 groups, whichever comes first, makes 23,360 visits to the Wave formation annually. The Wave odds are higher!
Below, we describe how each lottery works (new rules) and give you some useful Wave lottery tips to increase your winning chances. Frthermore, we also give you detailed tips on preparing for this strenuous hike and what to pack.
The Wave Advanced Lottery – Rules for 2023
It’s the same lottery previously named The Wave Online Lottery System, and the rules don’t change. If you plan to visit the Wave, you can participate in the Advanced online lottery a few months in advance. The details and regulations of this lottery have not changed, and in the section below, we describe how to apply for the Wave Advanced lottery (the Wave Online Lottery System).
The Wave Daily Lottery – Rules for 2023 – “geofencing lottery”
Until February 2022, the so-called walk-in lottery was held in the BLM office in Kanab. You had to check in the morning or, through your representative, participate in the draw at the BLM office to get permission to hike to the Wave the next day.
Many tourists complained that they were stuck in one place in Kanab, had to come to the lottery day after day instead of visiting, and that the best morning hiking time was wasted in the BLM office. And it’s all true. We tried to win a permit through walk-in lottery 14 times (day by day) in Kanab. But we had no luck getting a permit. Now you can explore the area and take part in the lottery at the same time. How it’s working? There is no more drawing in the office, the rules have changed. And we present details of the new “geofencing lottery” below.
YOU MUST BE in the area to participate in the “geofencing lottery”
From March 2022, it will not be a lottery “on the spot”/”walk-in,” but partially yes, because to sign up for the lottery, you have to be in the USA and close to The Wave area. You have to be in the strictly defined region of Arizona and Utah. You don’t need to be in Kanab and spend time in the BLM office. But you have to be around. The lottery system will use the so-called “geofencing,” meaning you will have to prove that you are in the area. Therefore, you can apply online only using a phone or a mobile device (such as a tablet). It cannot be done from a desktop computer.
Daily Permit Geofence system in the Wave lottery
The GPS on your phone or tablet must be turned on to check your location (geofence). The must-have area includes the cities of Kanab, Page, Big Water, Fredonia, Glendale, and Jacob Lake, among others. Under the link, you will find a detailed map with the marked area on which you must be to take part in the Wave lottery.
The Wave Daily Permit – Day 1
Entry into the Daily Lottery must be done on the Recreation.gov two days before the date of the Wave planned hike. Lottery entry will cost $ 9. Applications must be submitted between 6 am and 6 pm. The result will be sent by e-mail around 7.15 pm.
The Wave Daily Permit – Day 2
If you are lucky and will get an email with the permit, you have to pay for it by 8 am the next day and then pick it up in person in one of the two locations at 8:30 am. The permit can be picked up at Kanab or Page. But, please keep in mind the possible time difference between the two locations. During Daylight Savings, 9:30 in Utah is 8:30 in Arizona (except the Navajo Nation). There are two permit pickup locations, one in Page and one in Kanab. To pick up your permit in Kanab go to The Kanab Center, 20 N 100 E, Kanab, UT 84741. To pickup your permit in Page, go to Page-Lake Powell HUB, 48 S Lake Powell Blvd, Page, AZ 86040.
The Wave Daily Permit – Day 3
This day you can hike to The Wave. You have only one day to explore the Wave, so prepare for the hike. Check our detailed Wave hike description and lots of hiking tips.
Can You Hike The Wave Without A Permit?
Do not even try to hike the Wave without a permit. This place is unique, so please respect the law and rules. The Wave is strictly protected. Daredevils who tried to get into the Wave without a permit received fines of several thousand dollars. There was also a case of imprisonment for breaking the law.
According to what we heard from the ranger during one of the permit draws in which we took part if you get caught hiking the Wave without the permit, what is waiting for you is a $1,000-10,000 fine, a month in jail, and a permanent ban on applying for permits in the future. And you have a definitely greater, 100% chance that you will be caught if hiking the Wave without a permit because BLM Rangers guard the area. Rangers check hikers for their permits, so it’s no chance for sneaking in. So, it’s not worth the risk.
Ranger also said that people who were caught hiking the Wave without a permit get banned from the entrance, not just the BLM-managed areas parks but all of the National Parks.
So, don’t risk and apply The Wave Lottery. And what if you don’t win? Don’t worry. There is a lot to do in the area, so you can check what to visit if you don’t have luck in the Wave lottery in the last part of our article. We give you alternatives amazing hikes in the Kanab area, Coyote Buttes South formation, and much more.
How does The Wave Lottery work?
The Advanced Lottery (The Wave Online Lottery System)
Every day, people worldwide try to win the Wave permit through the Internet lottery system. Hiking the Wave is a dream, as getting a permit is difficult.
Although it is highly competitive and the chances of obtaining a permit are at the level of 3-4%, it is worth trying. The Wave odds of getting a permit in the online lottery are low, but they are. We made it. Below we explain how the Wave online lottery system works and suggest a few tips to increase your winning chances. Of course, it is a lottery all the time, and it is impossible to predict the winners.
From February 2021, 48 people and/or 12 groups (whichever comes first) are awarded through the online lottery system. Online permits to Coyote Buttes North, which features The Wave, are held on the Recreation.gov Website.
- If you love detailed topo maps, this recent addition to the Trails Illustrated / National Geographic collecion is a great production - covers the world-famous canyon-hiking areas of Paria Canyon, Buckskin Gulch and Coyote Buttes North (The Wave) and South.
- Straddling the border of Arizona and Utah, the Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness is a colorful landscape of sandstone cliffs, slot canyons, and winding waterways. Make sure to pack this map, as its a pure wilderne
The Wave Advance Lottery Rules
Fees and group size
- From June 1, 2020, the online lottery fee is $9.00 per group. It is a non-refundable $9.00 lottery fee and is required for each lottery application.
- A recreation fee is $7.00 per person or dog. And it is required only if you win a permit through the lottery. Everyone, regardless of age, must be included in the permit, also infants or dogs.
- The maximum group size is 6 people. There must be at least 1 adult in each group.
The Lottery Opening & Applying Rules
- What’s important is that the Wave online lottery opens four months before your trip date. And you may enter the lottery at any time during a calendar month, so you have the whole month to apply. If you want a permit for May 10, you should open the lottery page in January.
- Permits to the Coyote Buttes North are non-transferable except for specific people you list when applying for the lottery. They are “alternate permit holders.” Alternate permit holders (up to three people) also must have an account on recreation.gov.
- You can only apply once per month to the Wave online lottery. Furthermore, if you list someone as an alternate permit holder, they cannot apply for a permit that month.
- You may select up to three dates on each lottery application.
- After the application process, you can’t modifier permit dates, applicant name, alternate permit holders, or group size. The only way to modify details is to cancel the first application and submit a new one. So, it requires an additional payment of the $9.00 application fee.
- Furthermore, if the primary permit holder cannot make the trip on the permit date, you can’t give it to another person. So, the permit can only be used by the alternate permit holders listed on the application.
Drawing of permits
- The drawing of the Wave permits is held the day following the close of the lottery. So, if you dream about a permit for May, the lottery is run on the first of February at 9:00 am MDT.
- When the lottery ends, you will be notified via e-mail whether you were a winner or not. So when submitting your application, please verify that your e-mail address is correct. This is important.
- But if you do not receive an e-mail by the 2nd of the month, check your spam folder.
- In case you gave the wrong e-mail address, you can call the BLM at (435) 688-3200 or email them at [email protected] to check your status.
- If you are lucky and win a permit to Coyote Buttes North, you will be asked to log back in to confirm the winning permit, complete any remaining information, and submit the payment; a recreation fee is $7.00 per person or a dog.
- Finally, your permit will be mailed out 4 to 6 weeks following the lottery by Vermilion Cliffs National Monument.
The Wave Lottery Tips for Online Applications
The online lottery chances are small because it is getting more and more popular each month. But increasing the on-line permits from 10 to 48 now significantly increases the chances of entry. Below are some of our The Wave lottery tips.
- Be flexible. If you only have one possible day to do this trek, there are almost no chances are that you will get a permit. Remember that you can select three dates in a given month.
- Try several times. If you fail one month, try the next one. And apply again.
- The months from December to February/March are low season, so the Wave lottery odds in these months are much higher.
Coyote Buttes North – The Wave Lottery Online Schedule
Because the Wave odds are slim, so if you are a lucky one and have a permit, prepare for this hike to have a lifetime adventure. Check tips below on how to get on the Wave trail, what to pack, and the regulations.
- Apply between January 1-31 for a permit during May
- February 1-28 for a permit during June
- March 1-31 for a permit during July
- April 1-30 for a permit during August
- May 1-31 for a permit during September
- June 1-30 for a permit during October
- July 1-31 for a permit during November
- August 1-31 for a permit during December
- September 1-30 for a permit during January
- October 1-31 for a permit during February
- November 1-30 for a permit during March
- December 1-31 for a permit during April
The Wave Hike – How to Prepare for the Wave Hike?
The Wave Trail Overview
- Distance from Wire Pass Trailhead to The Wave – 6.4-mile round-trip hike
- Difficulty – Strenuous. There is no marked trail
- Hiking Time 3-4 hours, but with taking pictures even 8-10 hours.
- Elevation at the Wire Pass Trailhead – 4807 feet
- Elevation at the Wave – 5225 feet
- Total elevation gain – 418 feet
Getting to The Wave Trailhead
First of all, take a minimum gallon (3,7 liter) of water per person for your hike. The temperature can often be well over 100 degrees in the summer. We like this Osprey Water Reservoir.
To start hiking the Wave, you must get to the Coyote Buttes North parking lot, Wire Pass Trailhead (WP). To get to the Wire Pass Trailhead, take Highway 89 to House Rock Road. The House Rock Road turnoff is between mileposts 25 and 26 on Highway 89 in Utah. House Rock Road is normally passable by passenger cars. However, if it’s wet it is impassable. So, always check the weather before you go. From House Rock Road is 8.4 miles to the Wire Pass Trailhead. The parking area is on the right.
You will get a simple map with your permit from BLM Ranger. But good GPS and GPS watch are essential here. It’s a desert, and rangers say that many people didn’t find that famous Wave formation because they don’t have map reading skills and don’t have orientation abilities.
But Rengers explain a lot during safety orientation when you get a permit. There is no marked trail. Furthermore, any stone cairns (trail markers) are destroyed so that only individuals with the permit and map can find a way to the Wave. Rangers are monitoring the area, so don’t forget your permit and ID for identification.
The Wire Pass Trailhead is the starting point for two fabulous hikes located in the Coyote Buttes North area: Buckskin Gulch and The Wave.
So when you get to the Wire Pass, you must sign the trail registry book with the self-pay box.
Then, cross House Rock Valley Road, and follow the trail into the dry wash to the east.
Walk along with this wash for about 0.5 miles before the trail splits. The Wave trail will break off to the right, rapidly climbing above the wash you were just in. Furthermore, there is a “No Trespassing without permits” sign. The trail to the Wave will climb for about a quarter-mile until you reach the top of the mesa. We highly suggest using your GPS devices on this terrain. It will help you return to your car, especially if you love taking pictures and want to spend some time around the Wave formation.
|Paria Canyon Map with the Wave||Hiking and Exploring the Paria River||Hiking Grand Staircase-Escalante||Beyond The "Waves"|
|View Item||View Item||View Item||View Item|
HIKING TIPS FOR THE COYOTE BUTTES NORTH – THE WAVE
Start early in the morning
Set off early in the morning. It will take you approximately 45 minutes to get to the trailhead from Kanab. The weather will be more pleasant early in the morning so that you won’t get tired. And you will have more time to stay in the rock formation and take photos.
Take a GPS and Map
The land is a desert wilderness; there is no marked trail. There is no coverage. So, it’s easy to get lost. A topographic map of Vermillion Cliffs and GPS watch or GPS handheld is a must-have in our opinion. If you need any equipment, check out rei.com, which has great deals and frequent sales.
- If you love detailed topo maps, this recent addition to the Trails Illustrated / National Geographic collecion is a great production - covers the world-famous canyon-hiking areas of Paria Canyon, Buckskin Gulch and Coyote Buttes North (The Wave) and Sou
Check the weather
Be sure to check the weather. The best knowledge is from Rangers. The road becomes impassable during heavy rainfall.
BALANCE WATER AND FOOD
Drink lots of water the day before your hike. Because if you wait until you are thirsty in the desert, you will already be dehydrated. Drink when you are thirsty and stop when you are quenched. Snacks are also important during your hike. Because over-hydration can lead to hyponatremia. So, balance water and food during your hike.
TAKE CARE OF YOUR BODY
Watch your body while hiking. Even experienced hikers have weaker days. If you start to feel dizzy, disoriented, or nauseated, take a rest. Drink and eat a salty and high-proteins snack and rest as long as you feel better.
If you feel cold, put on extra layers and eat. If you are hot, drink more water and rest. Protect your body from the sun. Take a sun hat and sunscreen. It’s the best idea to have long sleeves and pants to protect your body against the sun and sand. Moreover, clothes should be airy and quick-drying.
KNOWS THE SIGNS OF HYPONATREMIA, HYPOTHERMIA AND HEAT ILLNESS
SIGNS OF HEAT ILLNESS
Heat illness is a spectrum of disorders due to environmental exposure human body to heat. It includes minor conditions such as heat cramps, heat syncope, heat exhaustion, and the more severe disease known as heat stroke. Signs of heat illness are headaches, dizziness, vomiting and nausea, cramping, and decreased urine output. So remember that hydration is most important during your hike, so start drinking water the day before the hike. Moreover, take a lot of water, but you should balance it with high-energy foods, as high protein bars or beef jerky. Rest in the shade, and remember to protect your head and body from the sun.
SIGNS OF HYPONATREMIA
Hyponatremia is a low sodium concentration in the blood. It is caused by over-hydration. So you should always balance hydration with salty and high-protein snacks and meals, or electrolytes, or protein bars, and you should rest frequently. Mild symptoms include a decreased ability to think, headaches, nausea and vomiting, difficulty walking, and poor balance. Severe symptoms include confusion, seizures, and even coma.
SIGNS OF HYPHOTHERMIA
Hypothermia is defined as a body core temperature below 35.0 °C (95.0 °F) in humans. Symptoms depend on the temperature. Hypothermia is a condition in which heat is lost faster than the body can produce it. It occurs when someone is exposed to external factors that lower body temperature for a long time, e.g., ice water or cold. Signs of hypothermia: uncontrolled shivering, exhaustion, and confusion.
The best idea is to take extra dry clothes, like thermal underwear (for men or women), and put on dry clothing. Drink water and liquids, protect yourself from cold, wind, rain, or snow using warm clothes (as waterproof layers, warm hoodie) and emergency shelter. You will need them if the weather change. But you can’t stay overnight, so don’t risk a fine. Remember that it immediately gets dark and cold in the desert after sunset, and temperature differences can be up to 30 degrees and more.
Coyote Buttes North Packing List
Below you will find the most important and necessary things that we took with us on the Wave hike. We made the Wave hike in April. But we were also in Coyote Buttes South in November and we had the same items.
|Hiking boots are essential for this hike. It's a desert area. You are walking through the sand. There are sharp rocks, cacti, spines. In this area lives lizards, snakes, scorpions, so protect your feet and ankle.|
|Extra Clothes. Even for all-day hikes, we dress in layers. We always have high trekking shoes with reliable traction, and we use trekking poles, too. But we always put it in the backpack extra clothes beyond those required for the trip. We add a warm hoodie, raincoat, gloves, a hat, and socks,in case of weather breakdown.|
|First aid kit with blister care, duct tape. It will help you handle unexpected moments (includes CPR Mask, Bandaids, Blanket, Tourniquet and more)|
|Headlap or flashlight with spare batteries. Yes, we take it with us even if the hike is lasting only a few hours during the day. A long time ago we lost during the day and then we had to come back through the wilderness at night. You never know what will happen, that's why we always have headlamp with us.|
|GPS watch or GPS device allows you to find your location on a digital map accurately. They are waterproof and robust. Another option is to use a smartphone with a GPS app, but often there is no connection on the trails. If you have a phone, remember not to use its battery. Finally, monitor your battery power.In our opinion, a mobile is not enough.|
|Water is most important even during short hikes, so bring a sufficient amount of water, minimum gallon per person, and extra water in case of emergency. There is no water sources on the Coyote Buttes North. The best idea is to take a light water reservoir.|
|Always carry some type of emergency shelter to protect you from wind and rain in case you get stranded or injured on the trail.|
|Take a salty snack, as high energy protein bars and beef jerky or other high - calorie meals, as nuts and sandwiches. Always take extra portions in case you have to stay in the desert for a night.|
|Emergency sleeping bag, which serves as your emergency blanket, survival shelter, and emergency bivy sack all-in-one.|
|Pocket Knife with Multitool it's ideal for outdoor activities like camping, and hiking. It's essentail for gear repair, food preparation, first aid.|
|Always take a map of the area. The best idea is to have a topographic map. You can use App with your hike, but remember that there is no coverage often on the trails, so you should have printed maps too.|
|Sun protection. Always pack with you and wear sunglasses, sun-protection hat and sunscreen.|
|Emergency Whistles is must-have, too. Battery in the cellphone will run down, or there will be no coverage on the trail, and this is the only way you can call for help.|
|Fire Starter, because in case of an emergency, you need to have reliable supplies with you for starting and maintaining a fire.But remember that you can use it only in case of danger. You can't make campfires in this area. And it is not allowed to stay overnight.|
|Pack all your things into a comfortable backpack. Hiking through the sand and rocks is strenuous, so it's good to have a backpack with a hip belt, which will relieve your spine.|
Walk-in Lottery for The Wave Permits (out-of-date from March 2022 – you can skip this part. It’s sentimental for us)
IMPORTANT: The following section describes what the walk-in lottery in the Kanab looked like until February 2022. According to the new rules, from March 2022, the new restrictions apply. You can skip this part, OR…. you can read to the end and check out what to do if you don’t win the Wave permit ;). We leave this description because, for 14 days, we tried unsuccessfully to win in Kanab permit for The Wave hike. And we have a sentiment for this lottery and for this place. Even though we didn’t win, we met wonderful people, explored the area, and fell in love with the town of Kanab. So we leave our memories and tips on what to do if you fail the Wave lottery 🙂
What was Walk-in Lottery System?
If you plan a road trip through Utah and Arizona, you can add Kanab to your Itinerary and try your luck in the Wave in-person lottery.
Kanab is a charming town where the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument Visitor Cente is located. They organize Walk-in Lottery. We tried for 14 days in November, and we didn’t win. However, the odds were much higher in the walk-in lottery than in the online lottery. So, we share all our experiences and tips.
14 tries. 14 days. No permits. But it was worth it! In our opinion, Kanab is one of the best towns for a vacation in Utah. It offers so many amazing hikes that every day after the lottery, we explored something new. And in the last part of the article, we give you the best alternative for spending time if you won’t win the Wave permit. Great hikes in the Kanab area. Kanab is also the perfect place to stay for a night.
When we were in Kanab, the old system was in force – permits were only for 10 people per day. But now 16 people and/or 4 groups (whichever comes first) are awarded through the walk-in lottery. So the Wave odds are much better.
How The Walk-in Wave Lottery in Kanab worked?
When & Where you can take part in the in-person lottery?
- Due to COVID-19, the place of the walk-in lottery has been changed. The lottery takes place daily at 8:30 a.m. at the Kanab Center, 180 E 100 N Kanab, Utah. Check on the BLM website that the lottery place is still the same.
Summer Hours: 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Sunday – Saturday, from March
Winter Hours: 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Monday – Friday, from November 20
- The lottery in Kanab is held at 8.30 AM Utah time.
- Most important is to know that Walk-in Permits are issued only one day before your hiking date. So you need at least two full days in Kanab. One morning for a lottery, and the next day for the Wave hike.
- From mid-March to mid-November, the walk-in lottery occurs 7 days a week, and permits for 16 people only are drawn for the following day.
- From November 16 to March 15, permits are issued Monday through Friday (except for federal holidays). The lottery for Saturday, Sunday, and Monday permits occurring the Friday before the weekend. So, Friday applicants have higher the Wave odds than normal due to three days of permits are available. And you can apply on Friday for each of the 3 next days. So, you have better odds.
Fees in walk-in lottery
- Participation in the walk-in lottery is free.
- But, if you win the Wave permit, the fees are $7 per person per day. Dogs must be included on the permit, and the fee is $7 per dog.
- They accept cash and check only.
The Walk -in Lottery Opening & Applying Rules (out-of-date from March 2022)
- At 8:00 a.m. – The lottery opens to group leaders only. If you are three, only one person per group will be authorized admittance into the building. Face masks are a must, and applicants must bring their own pen or pencil to complete the application form.
- Every day at 8.30 a.m., the BLM Ranger introduces the Wave lottery rules to the audience. And also tells about the difficulty of hiking the Wave. It also tells about the current weather situation and the weather forecast for the next day when you have a chance to hike.
- North Coyote Buttes applications are accepted at 8:30 a.m. and close at 9:00 a.m. MST.
- Each group leader receives a form with data to be completed—one form per group. If you travel with 2 people, you will receive 1 application form and provide all group members’ details. The maximum number of group members is 6 people. There must be at least 1 adult in each group. If you want to go hike with your dog, it is possible. The dog is not included in the group size, but there is an additional fee for the dog if you win a permit.
- On the form, you must provide the names and surnames, and dates of birth of all the members of your group wishing to hike. The data must match your ID or other documents with a photo. You must provide a phone number. And the name and emergency contact number of a person outside the group who will be notified in case of your accident. It is also obligatory to provide the license plate car’s that you will drive to the parking lot at the trailhead the next day.
- You give the completed form to the BLM Ranger, who gives it a number. You must remember your number. It is important when the draw starts.
Drawing of Coyote Buttes North permits (out-of-date from March 2022)
- The number of numbered balls corresponding to the number of forms is dropped into a small drawing machine.
- The Ranger spins the drum with balls in it.
- Ranger draws 16 permits for 16 people and/or 4 groups (whichever comes first). Reads the numbers from balls and check the names of the winners from the application form.
- If you win at 9:15-10:00 a.m. – Rengers gives you a Safety orientation.
- Permits are non-refundable and non-transferable.
- Our photos came from before Covid-19, from November 2019, when the draw took place at the BLM headquarters in Kanab.
- So, before you go to Kanab, check if the lottery’s place is still the same on the BLM website.
- If you plan a road trip in southern Utah or northern Arizona area, you can keep applying for permits in-person every day, and you will increase your Wave odds. Kanab is a perfect place for staying and exploring this area.
The Wave Lottery Odds & Tips
The previous allotment of 20 permits per day allowed for 7,300 chances a year to visit The Wave.
The new cap of 64 people per day or 16 groups, whichever comes first, makes for 23,360 yearly visits to the Wave formation. So, The Wave Lottery Odds are much higher now!
- The Wave Lottery Odds are hard to quantify, but they are some dependencies.
- Certainly, the chances are much higher in the walk-in lottery in Kanab than in the online lottery.
- In-person lottery in Kanab tries luck each day between 150 and 300 people. But from the second half of November, there are much fewer people. About 100-200. So the odds are pretty high. On one day, there were only 80 people during our draw. But we had no luck. In an online lottery, even 500-1000 and more people try every day.
- The Wave Lottery Odds are much higher during the winter months from December through February.
- In the winter months, the Wave lottery ods up to 10-25%. From April to mid-November, it drops even to 4-5%. Now the changes will be even greater due to the issuing of permits for 64 people per day instead of 20.
- But you must know that winter conditions might be difficult. Snow can cover part of the rock formations. It can be slippery. Moreover, the access road to the trailhead may be impassable. Details we provided below in the hike description.
- March-May and September-October are the best months for the Wave hike. The weather is great. So they are highly competitive, and the Wave odds are lower.
- Summer (June-August) is the most difficult weather conditions. The heat can weaken even the most experienced hikers. It’s a desert and wilderness, without a marked trail. So, think about your condition before you decide to hike the Wave. But still, a lot of people apply for a permit, so the Wave odds are lower.
- Furthermore, in Kanab, in-person lottery, the Wave lottery ods are higher each Friday from November 16 to March 15 because the lottery for Saturday, Sunday, and Monday permits occurring the Friday before the weekend.
- On Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year, spring break, the Wave odds are much lower because many people try luck in the lottery.
- Fewer people have time to hike in the middle of the week, so if you can try your luck during the week, the odds should be better.
- Finally, the odds of getting a permit to the Wave are unpredictable. We had a lucky in an online lottery. However, the chances are much lower. We tried 14 times in-person lottery, and we failed. Furthermore, we met people who tried in Kanab for a month, and they failed too. We met people who had been trying for 10 years, spending a week or two each year in Kanab, and they failed too. But some people got the permit the first time. Or in after 2-3 days of the drawing. There is no rule. It’s a lottery. Every day of the year may be your day, and you will be the winner.
Alternatives Hikes – What to do if you Won’t Win the Wave lottery?
The Wave odds are not too high. Not everyone succeeds. But if you haven’t won the Wave lottery, don’t worry at all. This area of Kanab and Page offers many breathtaking hikes. Below are some of our favorites. Besides, if you plan a road trip in Arizona, you can check our ready to go 14 days Arizona Itinerary. If you plan a Utah vacation, check our detailed Utah Mighty 5 road trip itinerary!
If you stay in Kanab or in Page is possible to do some exciting hikes in the area.
- Take a local tour of the Great Chamber at Cutler Point, as it’s a stunning rock formation. Check out our tips and photos from the Great Chamber near Kanab.
- Coyote Buttes South Hike in Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness is also a lottery, but it is much easier to get a permit. So try!
- Buckskin Gulch Day Hike in Utah, which is the longest slot canyon hiking trail in the world. The parking lot is the same as the Wave. And there is no lottery.
- The Nautilus Hike – is an amazing rock formation, the hidden gem of Paria Canyon – Vermillion Cliffs Wilderness area, and a short easy hike.
- Paria Rimrocks Toadstool Hoodoos – between Kanab and Page.
- You can also take a short trip to Zion National Park or Bryce Canyon National Park.
- Lower Antelope Canyon Tour – check out our photos and tips
- Upper AntelopeCanyon Tour – read our detailed review and check photos and tips
- Antelope Canyon X Tour – read our tips and check out photos.
- Take a Hike to the Zebra Slot Canyon near Escalante.
More about The Wave – Coyote Buttes North, you will find
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Wait, this place looks too crazy to be real… Adding to that is the factors, there exists a lottery to visit here? Wow! Just 20 people are issued lottery per day? Whoa! Definitely difficult to visit. I can imagine the odds are better in walk-in system, but I’m amazed that you didn’t get through 14 times! Good to know you struck your luck and won the lottery. Yeah, it does look like a difficult hike, so thanks much for the tips.
A visit to the Wave definitely looks like it is worth the effort it takes to win a permit. The natural beauty here is amazing and it would be a great spot for getting some stunning photos, and definitely something to brag about! I seem to have no luck when it comes to anything, so I would be surprised if I am ever able to visit this great location. Thank you for the tips on increasing the chances of winning the lottery, I will definitely use them in the future if I ever try to be the lucky winner.
I was in Utah a couple of years ago but couldn’t able to visit The Wave. Though I really wanted to. This is a greatly detailed post outlining how to visit it. Bookmarking it for my future travel 🙂
I’ve always wanted to hike the Wave, Havasu Falls, and some of those other popular hikes out west, but honestly the process is so intimidating! I love that you break it down simply. Its definitely competitive, but since we live in Virginia it looks like the online lottery is the way to go. We are planning to have our first kiddo in March, but maybe we can enter the lottery for next December-March when it is low season like you said.
This is such a wonderfully useful post. You’ve done an excellent job in offering a detailed plan of how to apply for a pass using the lottery system. In particular, it’s interesting to now the off peak months when there is more chance of being successful. It’s such a beautiful natural wonder.
This is such a great guide for the Wave. We have tried the lottery now every month since September with no luck. I think we might pause it for a while since I am not keen on hiking during the hottest months. I would love to try showing up for in person lottery too someday. The time we were in Kanab we had a baby with us so figured it was not a good idea to hike Wave with a baby in a carrier. But I agree that there are so many things to see there. We really enjoyed the toadstools, and we ended up driving to Page and doing the Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend. Amazing trip!
Oh my God, the Wave looks absolutely stunning and I would love to hike there someday. However, I did not know that it is one of the most difficult hikes to get permits and that too a lottery. Thanks for this post I now understand that I need to plan well if I have to go here and keep trying till I get the chance.
Hi there, I’ve seen tons of photos of “The Wave”. I never knew it was called The Wave and I had no clue it required a permit. Fantastic post and I love the details on how to actually get the permit. Thanks Nikki
The first photo of Wave by you have won me over for this place. I never knew that without permit we can enter Wave. Good you warned us that we need a permit and also there are heavy penalties and fines if someone breaks the law. I also support that these things should be well-preserved and taken care off. You are lucky that you got this win in online lottery. Also the flora and fauna on these rocks is very beautiful and interesting. Good you shared how to take part in this lottery system.
I have always wanted to do this but haven’t been successful with the lottery yet! Hoping to go in 2021!!
It’s always been our dream to see the Wave. The colors and intricate details look absolutely out of this world. I didn’t know it was extremely competitive to be able to stay there and you needed to go through a lottery to get a permit, but thanks to your post, we can set our expectations better and plan better for when the time comes we can go.
Good thing I read your article before a trip! I had no idea that entry to The Wave is strictly regulated, and permits are issued by lottery. Good that they are protecting it, though. It’s such a beautiful place.
You guys….I really wasn’t interested in another trip to the US anymore. But your posts are changing that – grrr. However, one of the big difficulties I will face is the fact that I’m not driving. So I wonder how I’ll get to these amazing places – greyhound won’t take me there, I’m afraid. I have to figure this out; and then I go – I absolutely have to see these waves!
I had no idea the permits for the wave were so limited! It was my dream to take my boyfriend here for his first visit to the US. Now it seems that we might not be so lucky. I also didn’t realize the hike was so strenuous these are good tips to consider if we do every get a permit. I am a pretty seasoned hiker but man I hate the heat..
First I have to say that the Wave looks wild. But I never heard of a hiking spot like this where passes are given out by lottery. We totally missed this when we stayed in Page. With only 20 permits issued per day we would have had to plan to try for a permit well in advance of our visit. We are not lucky enough to get one of the few walk in lottery permits.
Arizona and Maryland are, in my opinion, some of the most beautiful states. My hometowns, where I was born and spent my childhood, are Phoenix and Baltimore. However, I currently live in San Francisco. And I fly to Baltimore and Phoenix twice a year, rent a car, and just feel nostalgic when I drive around the city.