"Hiking to The Wave" Top 5 Page for this destination Grand Staircase - Escalante National Monument Things to Do Tip by richiecdisc

  the hike to The Wave would be great w/o The Wave
by richiecdisc

The Wave has to be the best bit of non-advertised advertisement ever. Even though the newly crowned Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument has been running now since 1996, it is managed by the Bureau of Land Management rather than the National Park system, putting the protected area in a more subdued limelight.

In a state blessed with too many National Parks to mention, this “adventure” park exudes a more insider's only allure. Rather than follow the one price includes all mentality of the National Park system, this one is free to enter with money generated via day hiking/backpacking permits, some of which are limited to protect the fragile ecosystem. The Wave is naturally one of these limited access hikes, and hence its approaching cult status amongst those in the know.

While most of the day hike permits in the Monument can be obtained at each trail head via a self-pay envelope, The Wave permits are limited to 20 per day. Half of those are reserved on the Internet and the other are “won” in a lottery type atmosphere each day for walk-ins.

Anyway, what about the hike you say? Well, there is no marked trail per se. When you “win” your right to purchase the $5 permit, you also get a detailed description, map, and even photos to help guide you over the approximately three miles of incredibly beautiful but desolate desert that brings you to the geological wonder. We were told it was best photographed mid-day due to shadows and rather than lug a whole day's worth of water/food around, we did it later in the morning than we normally would. It was great for photos at The Wave but the hike was hot and the light was a bit washed out en route. If I were to do it again I would go out very early morning and bring enough supplies to last the day. The hike out is just as beautiful if not as dramatic as The Wave itself and you shouldn't rush through it in mere anticipation of getting “there.”

Directions: The trail head is down an eight mile dirt track that could be washed out in bad weather. We did it in a Camry with no problem but I imagine with a torrential rain you would need a high clearance 4-wheel drive.

Review Helpfulness: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Jun 21, 2009
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