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Arizona's top hike"The Wave"rock formation

Updated on August 22, 2013

The Wave

This is the amazing curved sandstone rock formation called THE WAVE
This is the amazing curved sandstone rock formation called THE WAVE | Source
Jack sitting up on a high bluff
Jack sitting up on a high bluff | Source

Hiking "The Wave"

We won the Lottery!!! Here we rest at the first pass on the way to The Wave. We are relieved that our old volkswagon van got through the wet wash on the rough gravel road leading down to the trailhead.
We won the Lottery!!! Here we rest at the first pass on the way to The Wave. We are relieved that our old volkswagon van got through the wet wash on the rough gravel road leading down to the trailhead. | Source
There are lots of these colorful rock pillars and after a while they all star looking alike. Don't take a wrong turn off the route. Some fellow hikers did and got way off track.
There are lots of these colorful rock pillars and after a while they all star looking alike. Don't take a wrong turn off the route. Some fellow hikers did and got way off track. | Source
Two more red rock peaks-twin tits
Two more red rock peaks-twin tits | Source
Marie-Belle was delighted and astounded by the colored striations-we all were
Marie-Belle was delighted and astounded by the colored striations-we all were | Source
Andrew leads us to the second wave.
Andrew leads us to the second wave. | Source
The striations start to turn purple here.
The striations start to turn purple here. | Source
Marsha says "WOW'
Marsha says "WOW' | Source
I decided to try climbing the walls.
I decided to try climbing the walls. | Source
This area is like a giant exposed brain.
This area is like a giant exposed brain. | Source
A lovely rain pool in the desert, great for a swim.
A lovely rain pool in the desert, great for a swim. | Source
This desert badland goes on forever. You don't want to get lost here.
This desert badland goes on forever. You don't want to get lost here. | Source
Jack and Marie-Belle nap on the shore of Lake Powell , while Marsha washes the red mud off the Van, the day after we hiked The Wave.
Jack and Marie-Belle nap on the shore of Lake Powell , while Marsha washes the red mud off the Van, the day after we hiked The Wave. | Source

"The Wave" in Paria Canyon area.

Do this hike before you die

I read in a hiking book that "The Wave" is one of the top world class hikes you should do before you die. Friends told us since only 10 permits are won at the land office lottery per day and usually about 50 people are trying to win permits,we had little chance of winning the lottery to hike into "The Wave".

We try to win the lottery

We were on a hiking holiday driving Utah highway 89 which goes right past the lottery location at the land management office. It is halfway between Knab and Lake Powell in Southern Utah. So we had to try. We camped at a nearby campground and waited at the office first thing the next morning. It was a clear day with no chance of rain so we planned to hike the dramatic slot canyon called Coyote Buttes if we couldn't get Wave permits. We won three permits. An Englishman "Andrew" won the fourth permit and asked if he could join us. It was his second trip in to the area.

ANDREW"S STORY

Andrew told us:"I hiked in alone last year and got off the route somehow. I thought I was done for wandering in the badlands with no water, no food. I was exhausted but then I saw some hikers way up on a ridge. I hollered and they saw me. They waited for me."

Andrew led us to the turn off. The drive on the dirt road south off highway 89 takes about an hour. The road got rougher and rougher. Near the end, the road dipped down through a wash which was full of flowing muddy water. I gunned the Volkswagen Van and made it through. The red mud turned the White Van pink.

FOLLOW THE ROUTE MARKERS

There is no trail. The area is south of Escalante and Knab in the general area where the events of the wonderful but shocking film "127 hours" occurred. "127 hours" tells the story of a skilled young rock climber who goes alone to climb a deep crack in a lonely desert canyon. A large boulder comes loose and pins his arm. For 127 hours he tries to free himself and finally must cut off his lower arm to avoid dying of dehydration. The film is based on true events. You don't want to get lost in this desolate area.

THE WAVE FORMATION IS VULNURABLE

Since the rock formations making up The Wave formations are soft and fragile access is strictly limited. The lands managers gave us good directions and a map.There are vague trails in some parts and piled rock cairns leading to The Wave. You need to look carefully since the cairns are far apart and constructed of red rock which blends into the red ground rock and red sand. There is no drinking water so everyone needs to bring at least 2 liters as well as food, sunscreen, sun hat, and of course a rain jacket just in case. The hike takes about 2 hours each way. You could spend many intense hours exploring the rock formations once you arrive at "The Wave"

IF YOU PLAN TO GO

Its an amazing magical area. If you want to do the hike,Google "The Wave" for more information about getting the permits, maps etc. It is best to book ahead. You can enter the email lottery for permits up to 6 months ahead. Ten permits are given by email each day to allow 20 people per day into the area. If you don't win your permit the first time you try-KEEP TRYING. Its really worth the effort.The day hike permit costs about $9.US per person.

This is Desert Wilderness

Due to the extreme fragility of the area no overnight camping is allowed. There is no water, no services, and the only out houses are at the parking lot. We went in November and the temperature was perfect-a high in the 70's Fahrenheit. In the summer it goes over 100 degrees. We hiked out to our van in the early afternoon since we were afraid to get lost out in the desert wilderness after dark. However we wished we had more time in the area.

Back to Civilization

The next day we camped by Lake Powell. The shallow lake water was warm and the beach at the lakeside a nice change from the desert. We had a good rest. I spent a long time washing all the red mud off the white Van.

Comments

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    • marshacanada profile imageAUTHOR

      marshacanada 

      7 years ago from Vancouver BC

      Many thanks Elaine,check out my hub on Antelope Canyon-The photography is fantastic and you can get there easily on a tour.

    • profile image

      elaine Forsey  

      7 years ago

      fabulous hike & great photos, Marsha. I hope to photograph slot canyon next year. Wish I had known you were going to be there.

      elaine

    • marshacanada profile imageAUTHOR

      marshacanada 

      7 years ago from Vancouver BC

      Many thanks Kittythe dreamer. Arizona is great. I will check out your hubs.

    • kittythedreamer profile image

      Nicole Canfield 

      7 years ago from Summerland

      oh, such a beautiful hub. love arizona, by the way. my husband is originally from tucson and i just love the desert there...so spiritual. cant wait to read more of your hubs! :)

    • marshacanada profile imageAUTHOR

      marshacanada 

      7 years ago from Vancouver BC

      Thankyou Peggy W. Hope you get to see "The Wave" sometime.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Loved seeing this via your descriptions and camera lens. So much of Utah is beautiful! Have done a number of hubs describing the national parks and some of the state parks, but I did not even know about "The Wave." THANKS! Rating this useful and beautiful.

    • marshacanada profile imageAUTHOR

      marshacanada 

      7 years ago from Vancouver BC

      Many thanks for the GREAT TIPS Jewels. Hope I can get there.

    • Jewels profile image

      Jewels 

      7 years ago from Australia

      The areas around Alice Springs for starters - so walk around the base of Uluru, then Kings Canyon and the Olgas also known as Kata Tjuta. And you can't go wrong with the Kimberleys in Western Australia - this is a large area and has many gems to see.

    • profile image

      marshacanada 

      7 years ago

      Thanks Jewels-I have been in lots of beautiful deserts, but never the Australian outback.What area of the outback would you recommend?

    • Jewels profile image

      Jewels 

      7 years ago from Australia

      Wow, those pics are beautiful and I can see why it's on the to do list before one dies. I'd love to experience it first hand. Many spaces in deserts, while captured beautifully on film, are usually 100 times more breathtaking when you are there yourself. The Australian outback is certainly like that. Do it in person, it's the only way to take it in. Thank you for your hub.

    • marshacanada profile imageAUTHOR

      marshacanada 

      7 years ago from Vancouver BC

      CORRECTION I mistakenly said 12 people per day were allowed to visit "The Wave". In fact 10 permita are given by internet lottery and 10 at the office for the next day by lottery, for a total of 20 per day.

      Sorry for the error

    • marshacanada profile imageAUTHOR

      marshacanada 

      7 years ago from Vancouver BC

      Hi Uner and Danieliuhasz

      Thanks for your interest in the "Wave". The area seems to handle 12 people a day just fine-but 50 per day would probably wreck it.The rock is so fragile that you are not allowed to use metal tripod bases or any metal on it. Perhaps it would be better if people walked there in bare feet or slippers. Since its hard to find the place and way off the beaten track not many people sneak in.

    • danieliuhasz profile image

      danieliuhasz 

      7 years ago from Romania

      Looks great! Would like to go there some day but I don't know if I will ever cross the ocean to do so...

    • uner profile image

      uner 

      7 years ago from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

      oh okay now i get it :) but total of 12, is still small, which means they are taking a very good care of the wave :)

    • marshacanada profile imageAUTHOR

      marshacanada 

      7 years ago from Vancouver BC

      Sory Uner-I wasn't clear- 12 permits a day are given since they assess the fragile rock can handle 12 people a day if everyone treads lightly. So there are 6 permits assigned a few months ahead of time on the internet lottery, and 6 more for the following day on the "come to the office 8am in the morning" lottery.

    • uner profile image

      uner 

      7 years ago from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

      only 6 permit per day? that's interesting

    • marshacanada profile imageAUTHOR

      marshacanada 

      7 years ago from Vancouver BC

      Thanks Chris. I hope you get there.

    • profile image

      ChrisVancouver 

      7 years ago from Vancouver, BC Canada

      Those photos are some of the most remarkable I've ever seen, Marsha. They are truly, utterly extraordinary. How lucky you got to hike "The Wave" and experience this area of astounding natural wonder! Now it's on my "Do Before You Die" list. WOW! WOW! WOW!

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