Utah Trails
The Wave of Coyote Buttes
Length: About 5.5 miles round trip
Difficulty: Moderate
Video: - View

Description: The Wave is a famous geologic feature in what's known as Coyote Buttes North, on the north edge of the Paria Canyon - Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness. The area is along the Utah/Arizona border near the town of Kanab.

The area is relatively small and considered fragile. To protect it, only 20 hikers are allowed access per day. Advanced permits are required. Camping is not permitted within the Coyote Buttes area, but is available near the trailhead. Get more information here: https://www.blm.gov/az/asfo/paria/coyote_buttes/index.htm

Hiking is relatively easy but there is no discernable trail in some spots so route finding skills are needed. When you obtain a permit, BLM gives you a map with GPS coordinates and landmarks. Carrying a GPS is a good idea but people use to backcountry route finding should have no trouble getting to The Wave without one.

This is dry, desert country, very hot during summer. Winter nights are cold but days can be surprisingly mild. Always carry water.

Wire Pass Trailhead
From the trailhead, hike east along the bottom of the Wire Pass Wash for just over 1/2 mile. The trail forks at that point, which is marked by a sign. Take the right fork, climbing out of the wash and following old road to the top of the ridge. (The left fork stays in the wash and leads into Buckskin Gulch.)

Ridge Above Wire Pass Wash
From the top of the ridge, the trail meanders to the SE, to the bottom of a sandy wash. Cross that wash and hike to the east side of the ridge that runs alongside the wash.

East Side of Ridge
On the east side of the ridge, the trail turns south and heads directly toward The Wave. You'll hike past slickrock domes and strange rock formations. In many places the trail is not visible on the slickrock. Just hike south along the side of that ridge until you spot a vertical crack in the slickrock mountain to the south. The crack marks the location of the wave.

The Wave
As you hike toward the crack you'll drop down into another wash, where the trail should become visible. The Wave is located at the bottom of that crack, cut into the slickrock mountain. The Wave is awesome, certainly the main attraction. But this entire area is beautiful and there are many other features worth viewing. Feel free to wander and explore.