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Hike to "The Wave" at Coyote Buttes, Utah & Arizona

The Wave is located on the Colorado Plateau, near the Utah and Arizona border. The Wave is a multi-colored chute that has been cut into a sandstone mountain. Swirled bands of color run through the sandstone, which has eroded into interesting shapes. The colors and shapes change with the light as the day progresses. Red, pink, yellow and green rock has been blended together to form castles, beehives, chutes and other structures. The best hiking conditions are found in spring and fall. Summer temperatures get very hot, sometimes reaching 100 F. Winter nights are cold but days are often mild. Hiking can be pleasant during warm periods in winter. The Wave trailhead is at a place called Wire Pass, which also serves as the trailhead for renowned Buckskin Gulch, one of the world's best long slot canyon hikes. Coyote Buttes is a section of the Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), spanning extreme South Central Utah and North Central Arizona, just south of US 89 halfway between Kanab, Utah and Page, Arizona. It is divided into two areas: Coyote Buttes North and Coyote Buttes South. A day-use permit from BLM is required to visit The Wave. BLM limits access to the North Coyote Buttes Wilderness Area to just twenty permits per day. Ten of the permits are available in advance by an on-line lottery that is conducted four months before the month for which the permit is sought. The remaining ten permits are made available by lottery the day before one's intended hike. Year round the lottery is held at the ranger station on the east end of Kanab. The lottery for the walk-in permits takes place at 9:00 in the morning. Spring and autumn are the most popular times of year to visit, but the popularity of The Wave is such that the chances of obtaining a permit by either advance lottery or the day-before lottery are much less than 50% from March through November.
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