The Wave / Vermilion Cliffs National Monument

After getting the right to go, pathless way and a scorching land waiting for. Complete a small adventure and feel overwhelming awe in an unreal space. 

This place is very famous for “The Wave”. It is difficult to get the “Right to Go” ticket, also difficult to reach to the destination. I guess this is a “Small Adventure”. It requires to have a sense of orientation and cool mind to judge.

This place is in the wilderness of “Coyote Buttes” in “Vermont Cliffs National Moument”. “Coyote Buttes” is divided into north and south areas. “The Wave” is in the north area.

First, it requires to have the “Right to Go” ticket. Only twenty people can have the “Right to Go” ticket per day. Ten people can get on the web lottery in advance, ten people can get by the lottery in the local office one day before. I omit the details of its process, but I have participated onto its lottery in the local office twice and got the “Right to Go” ticket twice. At the first lottery, I won on the first day, at the second lottery, I won on the second day. The probability to win, was ten percent or so for both lotteries, I was lucky.

In case you get “Right to Go” ticket, people can have the trekking to “the Wave”. I could not reach, at the first attempt, to the destination “the Wave” where the stratum is waving beautifully. I have just reached to the different place and thought that “this place must be the Wave”, and returned. In addition, I have lost my way on the return in the almost sunset situation, it was like to meet a disaster.

Regarding a trekking to “the Wave”, park ranger explains the outline and precaution utilizing a map with pictures. It looks easy at that time, however, I have felt its difficulty when starting its trekking. In the second attempt, I have reached to the destination “The Wave”. However I guess, some trekking experience and skill to read a map and topography is inevitable to succeed this “Small Adventure”.

I am sorry that I have described the matter for the precaution. Now, I describe this place of “the Wave”. It takes approx. two hours to walk from the trekking starting point to the destination “The Wave”. I have trekked both attempts in early May, but it was hot especially in a daytime. It must have been over 40 degrees Celsius.

During the trekking, I have not met the people since only 20 people has the “Right to Go” ticket. In addition, there is no clear pathway to “the Wave”. It is only the way to see the map given by the park ranger and walk forward. Certainly, mobile phone does not work. Surrounding area fills with the unique rocks and looks like the same landscape. It has a possibility to lose the way, even if seeing the map and picture very carefully.

If going a little wrong direction, lose the way where I am, even by looking at the map. So have to go back to the location on the map anyway. Unfounded confidence should set aside. The next three photos are the scenery on the way to “The Wave”. What do you think of this? While looking at the map, “walking to a place where there are no people and no road”, after all, I guess this is a “Small Adventure”.

Basically, walking while looking at the map with photos, but the conditions are “no people around”, “unknown place”, “no road / no way to go”, and “it’s hot anyway” and therefore it has a high possibility that you cannot make a calm judgment.

The reason I could not reach my final destination; “The Wave” in the first time was because I could not make this “calm decision”. I should have read the key text on the map with the photo, but I missed it from the above environment. So, if I could have kept calm, read back the key sentences, and judge the situation, I could have reached to “the Wave”. Since the sentences on the map are in English, skills to read and understand English are essential, please note.

A blind spot on my first visit was, I have started the trekking after the noon time, the most of the other people has already returned to the starting point. No one was near “The Wave” and I could not ask other people for the right direction to go. It has no problem “not to see anyone else” in the known place, but it amplifies fear in the “unknown place”.

The destination “the Wave” is amazing spot. I did not have the words. That place is in the enclosed space at the back side of the rock mountain. It suddenly appears in front of you, and your hardship of walking for two hours in the unknown place is repaid. Now, it is easy to find the picture of “the Wave” on the web. However, this place is really the “Must-See” place, on your own eyes.

Visitors are only 20 people a day, and the most of the people come with multiple people. Therefore, I guess around 10 party visiting this place a day. Due to this level of party, there is no case that “the Wave” is crowded by the people, and people can go around as you like. On the contrary, in case, no one is in “the Wave”, that party will be in trouble since photograph with whole party cannot be taken. Its countermeasure is better to consider in advance.

As for its countermeasure, to visit as early as possible. In this case, people will come over after. If you visit in the late afternoon, no one may not be there (I guess someone feels that this is the better situation), and cannot ask other people to take a picture with all your party. Another countermeasures is to bring a tripod, however, tripod which I have brought was not stable on the rock bed, and it did not work.

In addition, there are several wonderful places on the way to the “the Wave” and recommend to take your own time to see its wonderful and astonishing landscape. Personally, there is one unforgettable place, two cones with stratum.

This place is very sensitive ground surface, and therefore, limitation to enter must be continued to keep its environment. In addition, at the risk of repeating myself, this is the area of “Small Adventure”, and therefore, it must be well prepared with good physical condition. I recommend, at least, to bring the GPS with the function to trace the walking route to memorize.

By the way, on my 1st attempt, there was Japanese party, one day before. When checking the indication of its Japanese party on the registration box located at the starting point on the trekking, it has indicated that “In” at 10:00 am and “Out” at 12:28 pm. It takes, at least, four hours to go and return to/from “the Wave”, I guess they have felt that this trekking is not easy and turned around.

I strongly recommend to challenge this “Small Adventure”, it will bring some unforgettable memory in your life.

Visited in 2008 (unreached), 2009

​Basic Information

​■ Name of Place:The Wave / Vermont Cliff National Monument / North Coyote Butte
■ Address : Arizona, USA
​■ Homepage:

​■ How to get here? / Input

  1. Flying to Las Vegas, then getting into this place by rental car must be realistic. It is 200mile (320km), 3 to 4 hours by car to “Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument Visitor Center” in Kanab, Arizona, where one day advance walk-in permit lottery is conducted.
  2. It takes 50mile (80km), 1 hour by car from Kanab to “Wirepass Trailhead” parking space, which is the starting point of trekking route to “the Wave”.
  3. “Wirepass Trailhead” is located at 8mile (13km) south on the unpaved road from the “House Rock Valley Junction”, 40mile (60km) east of Kanab on Route 89. This unpaved road from “House Rock Valley Junction” to “Wirepass Trailhead” is clay and do not recommend to utilize a car with low clearance.
  4. “The Wave” is located for two hours on foot from “Wirepass Trailhead”. Walk-in Permit Certification is mandatory. This is to be followed by regulation and in the site protection point of view.
  5. Please find following web page how to get the “Walk-in Permit” Certification, etc.
  6. While getting into this place from “Las Vegas”, stopping by “Zion” National Park must be one option. In this case, at least to stay at “Zion” National Park and vicinity for one night.
  7. In addition, it is very low probability to win the permit just one day, it must be considered to stay longer at Kanab town to win. While joining at the lottery in my case in 2008 and 2009, the person lost the lottery on the first day, he/she could get the one additional number for lottery next day, but this advantage is not given according to the lottery on YouTube as below in 2010 (In the current lottery, you can only get one number for one party. However in the old days, if you lose the lottery on the first day, you will get two numbers in the lottery for the next day, and if you lose the lottery on the second day, the lottery on the third day, you get three numbers, that is, the winning probability went up). Its lottery rule must be changed. In this case, even if participating onto the lottery continuously, winning probability will not increase and therefore enough time schedule must be required.
  8. When watching YouTube, 38 parties participated in the lottery one day, then the winning party was 4. This is saying the winning probability was about 10%. Also, if looking at other YouTube, 96 parties participated. Then, the winning party was 4. Winning probability was about 4%. It is not easy to win, to understand from this figure.
  9. One day advance “Walk-in permit” lottery is conducted at “Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument Visitor Center”, however, in 2008 and 2009, it was conducted at the Visitor Center located near the “House Rock Valley Junction” along the Road State 89, heading to “Wirepass Trail Head”. As you may understand, lottery location and method will be changed frequently, and therefore, it is required to pay attention to the web page.
  10. Finally, I would like organize and list the preparations and skills necessary to accomplish this “Small Adventure”.
    ・Water / Food (If getting the ticket to go, follow the advice of the Ranger)
    ・Trekking experience
    ・Be in good physical condition
    ・GPS that can trace the walking path
    ・Ability to read maps
    ・English proficiency (necessary when asking for directions and reading sentences written on a map)
    ・Calm judgment
    ・Starting trekking early in the morning