Photo Diary: The Wave Vermilion Cliffs National MonumentPin

Photo Diary: The Wave Vermilion Cliffs National Monument

We’re so excited to finally share our Wave photos! The Wave is a sandstone formation in Coyote Buttes North part of the Vermilion Cliffs National Monument in Northern Arizona. It has been popular among photographers and hikers and is now becoming more and more popular with the rest of the world. They only allow 20 people in to see it per day (see tips on how to win a permit here).

This is every landscape photographer’s dream destination, and in fact, many say you’re not a real landscape photographer unless you’ve photographed this place. Does that mean I can officially call myself one now? :P

The Wave AZ - a sandstone rock formation popular among hikers and photographers. They only allow 20 people in per day and it's by lottery // localadventurer.com

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Last Updated: June 13, 2021

The Hike + The Wave

We hiked out at sunrise and arrived alone to the Wave. It had mixed lighting when we got there and since the Wave is a depression, the whole thing doesn’t get lit up until several hours after sunrise. This was approximately 2 hours after sunrise:

The Wave Rock Formation in Vermillion Cliffs National Monument Arizona // localadventurer.com
The Wave Rock Formation in Vermilion Cliffs National Monument Arizona // localadventurer.com
The Wave Rock Formation in Vermilion Cliffs National Monument Arizona // localadventurer.com

It can be a difficult process getting those permits, but once you’re out there, it’s so nice and quiet. We sat patiently and enjoyed the peaceful views and our balanced breakfast.

Hiking the Wave, Coyote Buttes North, Vermilion Cliffs National Monument Arizona // localadventurer.com
The Wave AZ - a sandstone rock formation popular among hikers and photographers. They only allow 20 people in per day and it's by lottery // localadventurer.com
The Wave AZ - a sandstone rock formation popular among hikers and photographers. They only allow 20 people in per day and it's by lottery // localadventurer.com
The Wave Arizona - a sandstone rock formation popular among hikers and photographers. They only allow 20 people in per day and it's by lottery // localadventurer.com
The Wave Arizona - a sandstone rock formation popular among hikers and photographers. They only allow 20 people in per day and it's by lottery // localadventurer.com
The Wave Rock Formation is popular among hikers and photographers. They only allow 20 people in per day and you are awarded permits by lottery // localadventurer.com
The Wave Rock Formation is popular among hikers and photographers. They only allow 20 people in per day and you are awarded permits by lottery // localadventurer.com

Other Features Near The Wave

The Wave area is actually quite small but Coyote Buttes North has so much more to explore. You can go on to see the Second Wave (right) and Third Wave or Sand Cove (left).

The Third Wave or Sand Cove in Coyote Buttes North, Vermilion Cliffs National Monument, Arizona, USA // localadventurer.com
The Second Wave in Coyote Buttes North, Vermilion Cliffs National Monument, Arizona, USA // localadventurer.com
Hiking to the Wave - a popular among hikers and photographers. They only allow 20 people in per day and you are awarded permits by lottery // localadventurer.com
Hiking the Wave Arizona - A popular sandstone formation among hikers and photographers. There are only 20 people allowed permits per day. // localadventurer.com
Hiking the Wave Arizona - A popular sandstone formation among hikers and photographers. There are only 20 people allowed permits per day. // localadventurer.com

You can also find dinosaur tracks, which you can read more about here.

Dinosaur Tracks and Footprints are a quick detour from the Wave Rock Formation in Coyote Buttes North // localadventurer.com
Dinosaur Tracks and Footprints are a quick detour from the Wave Rock Formation in Coyote Buttes North // localadventurer.com
Hiking the Wave Rock Formation in Coyote Buttes North Arizona // localadventurer.com
Hiking the Wave Rock Formation in Coyote Buttes North Arizona // localadventurer.com

This is Fatali’s Boneyard, which was made popular by a photographer named Michael Fatali. He’s also known as the photographer who burned Delicate Arch in Arches National Park. Did anyone ever hear what happened?

Fatalis Boneyard Coyote Buttes North Vermilion Cliffs National Monument Arizona // localadventurer.com
Fatalis Boneyard Coyote Buttes North Vermilion Cliffs National Monument Arizona // localadventurer.com
The Wave Rock Formation in Vermilion Cliffs National Monument Arizona // localadventurer.com
The Wave AZ - a sandstone rock formation popular among hikers and photographers. They only allow 20 people in per day and it's by lottery // localadventurer.com
Hiking to the Wave - a popular among hikers and photographers. They only allow 20 people in per day and you are awarded permits by lottery // localadventurer.com
The Wave Rock Formation is popular among hikers and photographers. They only allow 20 people in per day and you are awarded permits by lottery // localadventurer.com
The Wave Hike, Coyote Buttes North, Paria Canyon-Vermillion Cliffs Wilderness Arizona // localadventurer.com
Fatalis Boneyard Coyote Buttes North Vermilion Cliffs National Monument Arizona // localadventurer.com
The Hooters on the Wave Hike, Coyote Buttes North, Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness Arizona // localadventurer.com
The Wave Rock Formation is popular among hikers and photographers. They only allow 20 people in per day and you are awarded permits by lottery // localadventurer.com

We met another photographer who had been here 10 years ago, and he told us how the colors have changed so much over the years. We’re so glad we had the chance to see and photograph this place. If you’re entering the lottery, we wish you the best of luck and hope you get to see it too!

Best Places to Stay

Our favorite spot to stay in Kanab is the Best Friends Roadhouse and Mercantile. You can see more photos of our experience here. Check out other spots to stay below.

Have you tried getting The Wave permit? What else is on your bucket list?

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Esther + Jacob

Esther and Jacob are the founders of Local Adventurer, which is one of the top 5 travel blogs in the US. They believe that adventure can be found both near and far and hope to inspire others to explore locally. They explore a new city in depth every year and currently base themselves in Las Vegas.

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This Post Has 9 Comments

    1. That’s so insane! All for the sake of getting the shot….

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