The Wave is pristine, beautiful, awe inspiring and amazing. Being able to get to the Wave takes fortitude, perseverance, flexibility and a large amount of good luck. The road to get there is deeply rutted and can get very sticky to the point of being impassable when it rains. But that’s not really the problem. The hike itself is about three miles long and somewhat difficult especially without a guide. But that is also not the problem, as any experienced hiker should not find it too difficult although a good guide REALLY helps. The weather can be tricky with extreme heat or cold at times, bad dust storms and significant thunderstorms at others. But that is not really the problem either.
The difficultly of having the absolute pleasure of seeing The Wave is being blessed enough to get the BLM permit to have the legal right to go in the first place. The permits are EXTREMELY limited and the fines are steep so do not go if you do not have a permit. BLM limits access to the North Coyote Buttes Wilderness Area (The Wave) to just 20 permits per day. Ten of the permits are available in advance by an online lottery 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 Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument Visitor Center in Kanab, Utah. The lottery for the walk-in permits takes place at 9:00 in the morning every Monday through Friday excluding federal holidays. 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.
There are four trailheads which provide access to Paria Canyon and the Wave. The shortest hike to the Wave begins at the Wire Pass Trailhead, about 8.3 miles (13.4 km) south of U.S. Route 89 along House Rock Valley Road, a dirt road about 35.4 miles (57.0 km) west of Page, Arizona or 38.6 miles (62.1 km) east of Kanab, Utah that is accessible to most vehicles in good weather. During and after a storm the road may be impassable, even with a four-wheel-drive vehicle. The Wire Pass Trailhead includes a wide parking lot with restrooms, but no water. It is also accessible from the Arizona side by taking U.S. Route 89A turning north onto the House Rock Valley Road. This is a longer access route over dirt road than from the Utah side. 
From the Wire Pass Trailhead, the Wave can be reached by hiking approximately 3 miles (4.8 km) across open desert, making the round-trip to and from the Wave nearly 6-mile (9.7 km) climbing about 350 feet (110 m) in altitude. Although this is the shortest route, it is also a slightly more challenging hike than several of the other available routes. Temperatures in this area typically climb above 100 °F (38 °C) in the summer, so it is best to start the hike early. We recommend our two local tour operators, Grand Staircase Discovery Tours and the Paria Outpost and Outfitters. Both have excellent ratings and are really great people. . Thanks for the pics from a recent guest staying at the Casita (the closest place to stay when visiting The Wave) and the local tour companies.
Anyone attempting the hike in any season is wise to be prepared for harsh desert conditions, including fierce winds, blowing sand, and little shade. But despite all the difficulties it is worth it and you will be glad you made the effort to get there.
By Sarah Kraner Allen