Hiking the Wave should be on everyone’s bucket list! Here are some tips for hiking the Wave if you are lucky enough to get a permit!
- A permit is required for day use of the Coyote Buttes area. The permits are available from the Bureau of Land Management via an online lottery and a walk-in lottery the day before. For more information on the permits, click here.
- If you are lucky enough to win a permit to visit the Wave, you MUST make sure you provide the required information and payment for the permit before the deadline (ours was on the 15th of the month).
- Winners of the Wave lottery have 24 hour access to the North Coyote Buttes area. There is NO overnight camping allowed.
- You will receive a map and directions to the Wave. I advise going over it before your hike and have it easily accessible during the hike.
- Half of your permit must be left on your vehicle windshield. The other half should be attached visibly to your backpack using the enclosed wire.
- Remember: No campfires. Pack it in and pack it out- that includes EVERYTHING! Leave the area beautiful for others to enjoy.
- You can bring your dog if you pay the $5 fee. While we were there, we watch a lab run up and down the hills like it was nothing!
- Make sure you bring your government issued I.D. for verification of your permit in case you are inspected by the Bureau of Land Management representatives. There is a big fine if you are found hiking in the North Coyote Buttes area without a permit.
- I do not advise a rental vehicle or a vehicle with low clearance on the road to access the trailhead. The road had just been grated the week before our visit and there were numerous potholes. It is a bad place to have a flat tire due to no cell phone service. If you take your own vehicle, make sure to have proper tire pressure for that kind of road. Do NOT try to drive on the road if it is muddy or if there is water over the road that is more common during monsoon season.
- Bring at least 1 gallon of water per person. You WILL get thirsty!
- Bring a picnic lunch and some food. We had a turkey sandwich and chips for lunch. We snacked on trail mix throughout the day to maintain our energy.
- Bring a backpack to carry your food, water, and other items. This will free up your hands to aid in climbing in the area.
- Wear comfortable shoes. We wore ankle hiking boots that offered support over the uneven terrain. It also helped to keep SOME of the sand out. Our guide wore Chacos and recommended them.
- Be aware of the weather! I don’t suggest visiting the slot canyons if there is more than a 40% chance of rain. Be aware of flash floods. Heat can be very dangerous. It may be best to start your hike at sunrise to beat the heat.
- Dress appropriately. Wear sunscreen and a hat. I did get some sun despite it being in the 50s. Dress in layers. DON’T forget your sunglasses. I forgot mine and luckily our guide had an extra pair for me to borrow.
- Carry a first aid kit. I didn’t plan to get hurt on my hike but it happened. Somehow I ended up with very sore splinters in my hands and a gash in my leg. It was good to have antiseptic and a bandaid to keep it from bleeding.
- Use a compass or GPS. Know where you started to find your way back. Pay attention to in front of you AND behind!
- Take care of your camera gear. It is sandy and windy. Not a good combination. I’ve heard of hikers’ camera get jammed before making it to the Wave to take pictures.
- Tell a loved one you are going to be hiking in the Coyote Buttes North area. You don’t plan to get lost, but our guide said it happens about every week. In fact, the rescue helicopter was looking for someone when we were there.
- I highly suggest a tour guide if you are one of the FEW to win a permit. Make the best of your time in the Coyote Buttes area. There’s much more to see than the Wave. We used Dreamland Safari Tours and HIGHLY suggest them! It’s the only way to ensure you actually FIND the Wave and make it out SAFE!
Watch our video of our day in North Coyote Buttes.
Recommended Gear for Hiking the Wave
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