The Wave – The Holy Grail of Hikes
By Charlie Neumann and Dixie Brunner
Many hiking experts consider The Wave of Coyote Buttes, located near the Utah/Arizona border, one of the most beautiful hikes in America. It is a truly remarkable geological phenomenon that has captured the imagination of people all over the world. Travelers will spend as much as a week in Kanab motels with the specific intent of staking out the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument Visitor Center for the morning lottery and the 10 individual permit spots. The Wave is a feature formed inside of the Jurassic Navajo Sandstone. The Navajo was the largest dune field in the history of the earth, found in at least five states and covering over 150,000 square miles in Jurassic time; approximately 200 million years ago. Sedimentary rocks are formed primarily by water and wind depositing particles eroded from mountains and other sources. To convert these loose deposits to stone, heat and pressure is required. As the deposits pile up, they weigh down the earth’s crust and sink deeper. The moderately difficult day hike begins at Wire Pass, which is also the trailhead for the renowned Buckskin Gulch, one of the world’s best long slot canyon hikes. The trail to The Wave is three miles long, with sand slogs and some slick rock scrambling. It is recommended that each person take at least one gallon of water. Salty snacks are also essential to maintain energy and good nutritional balance. The hike is by lottery for the next day (Friday’s lottery is for Saturday and Sunday). You may register for the hike online or at the GSENM Visitor Center at 745 East Highway 89, by 8:30 a.m. for the 9 a.m. drawing. The application must be accompanied by one of the persons listed on the permit. You may list up to six people. Ten permits are granted online and 10 daily for in-person reservations. People need to apply for the online lottery six months in advance of the date they wish to hike. Follow the instructions on the webpage.http://www.blm.gov/az/st/en/arolrsmain/paria/coyote_buttes/permits.html. If you aren’t chosen in the Wave lottery, don’t be disheartened, there are a myriad of other wonderful hikes nearby.