Arizona's Iconic 'The Wave' Could Soon Allow More Visitors

Plus, how to get a permit for "The Wave" in Arizona.

Aerial view of the Wave, North Coyote Buttes, Vermillion Cliffs, Arizona
Photo: Justin Reznick/Getty Images

For hikers and photographers it doesn’t get much better than The Wave — a colorful sandstone rock formation in Arizona that’s been eroded by the wind to resemble an ocean wave. The site’s exclusivity only adds to its allure, as the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has capped the number of daily permits at 20 — 10 online and 10 walk-in — in order to protect the formation’s fragile nature and provide visitors with a quality experience.

Woman hikes through a Wave in Arizona
Getty Images

In response to demand — in some cases, 150 people apply for the day’s 20 permits — the BLM is considering increasing the number of daily visitors to 96. Currently, the BLM is asking for public feedback on the proposed change. If the visitor increase is approved, TravelPulse reports that it could take effect as early as October.

Wave, North Coyote Buttes, Vermillion Cliffs, Arizona
Getty Images

The Wave is located near the Utah-Arizona border in the Vermilion Cliffs National Monument. The site can be found in the Coyote Buttes North section of the park and is only accessible by foot. There is no trail to The Wave and visitors should prepare for a six-mile round-trip hike.

Access to Coyote Buttes North and The Wave is $7 per person, per day. To enter the online lottery for one of the 10 online permits, you must request the permit four months in advance, here. Travelers visiting the site in less than three months, can either visit the calendar on the permit page to see if there are any available slots or try their luck at applying for a walk-in permit. For the latter, guests must show up at the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument Visitor Center in Kanab, Utah from 8:30 a.m. (9 a.m. Daylight Savings Time in summer) to submit an application for one of the 10 walk-in permits. Credit cards are not accepted.

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