Skip to Content

The Wave Permit – Guide to Getting Yours

the wave arizona

The Wave Permit

Update for 2022: As per, the website where you apply for The Wave permits:

Please be aware there are no refunds & no rainchecks due to any unforeseen circumstance including but not limited to any travel restrictions associated with COVID 19.”

As far as we can tell, that is really the only new restriction currently affecting The Wave and The Wave permits.

Coyote Buttes North and South

To date, I have been fortunate to have visited the area July 2018, September 2018, and August 2019.

Both Coyote Buttes North and Coyote Buttes South require permits. For official information about the permits can be found on the Coyote Buttes Permit page, part of the BLM. Each area requires separate permits, meaning if you have a permit for Coyote Buttes South you cannot use it to hike Coyote Buttes North and vice versa.

Permits for the popular Coyote Buttes North are incredibly difficult to get. I know hikers who have tried each month for several years with no luck. My boyfriend and I have both been applying through the online lottery since Summer 2017 with no luck and he’s been trying for many months by himself before then. We were lucky to pick up two returned permits for The Wave through the BLM website.

The Wave Permit

I have heard from other hikers that a permit for Coyote Buttes South are easier to obtain.

  • For the Coyote Buttes North, the BLM will issue a total of 20 permits per day, 10 via the online permit lottery system and 10 through the daily walk-in lottery for the following day. Click here to view the Coyote Buttes North permit lottery system.
  • For the Coyote Buttes South, the BLM will issue permits through the online calendar and walk-in lottery only, no online lottery. Click here to view the Coyote Buttes South permit calendar.

Odds of Being Issued a Permit for Coyote Buttes North

Information from the BLM website about the odds of being issues a permit:

Permits for Coyote Buttes South are usually available. If you enter the online lottery for Coyote Buttes North “The Wave”, attempting to obtain a permit for April-June and September-November, the odds were about 4-5% for 2013. For other months (off-season), the odds vary from 8% (August) -25% (January).

Hiking the Wave Without a Permit

Don’t even think about it!

Your permit should be displayed on the outside of your backpack for when the rangers check to see if hikers have a valid permit. Although, when my boyfriend hiked The Wave in March 2016, he said he never saw a ranger patrolling we met a BLM ranger on our way out during our July 2018 hike.

If you are found hiking The Wave without a permit, you will be facing a Class A Misdemeanor and a fine of up to $100,000. YIKES!

Advanced Online Lottery

Information from the BLM website about the online permit system.

  • You can apply up to four months in advance.
  • You have an entire month to apply.
  • You can apply for up to three entry dates per application. If you are a successful applicant, you will only be authorized for one trip. (Tip, supposedly the weekdays have better odds than the weekends.)
  • There is a non-refundable $5 administrative fee to apply per application.
  • You will be notified on the first of the month via e-mail whether your application was successful or not.

Coyote Buttes North (“The Wave”) Lottery Schedule

Apply between… for a permit during… Lottery Runs at 9:00 a.m. MST

remaining permits available

January 1 – 31 May February 1
February 1 – 28 June March 1
March 1 – 31 July April 1
April 1- 30 August May 1
May 1 – 31 September June 1
June 1 – 30 October July 1
July 1 – 31 November August 1
August 1 – 31 December September 1
September 1 – 30 January October 1
October 1 – 31 February November 1
November 1 – 30 March December 1
December 1 – 31 April January 1

Coyote Buttes North Online Calendar

When permits are not claimed, or they are turned back into the BLM lottery system, then they are entered as available via the online calendar.

I watch the online calendar like a hawk daily and was lucky enough to score 2 permits for July 2018 for both Coyote Buttes North and Coyote Buttes South. Not ideal for weather but at least we have permits!

Example of what the online calendar looks like when permits are available. The number of permits for each day is the black number in the green square. (Coyote Buttes South online calendar)

Links to the online calendars:

  • Click here to view the Coyote Buttes North online calendar
  • Click here to view the Coyote Buttes South online calendar

Coyote Buttes North Online Lottery Notes

  • A valid government ID is required to pick up permits in person.
  • Permits are non-transferable and non-refundable.

Walk-in Permit Lottery

We went on a Thursday in April 2018 in hopes for a Friday permit. There were 64 applications and three applications were selected that filled the 10 persons permit for the day – a permit for one person, a permit for three persons, and a permit for 6 persons. All the build-up of hoping to get permits was gone in about 30 seconds.

Labor Day Weekend 2018 we went thinking it would be packed and there were not as many applications as there were in April 2018 and we were the second pull. YEA!!!

Walk-in Lottery Information for Coyote Buttes North and Coyote Buttes South

  • The location for the walk-in permits are issued at the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument visitor center in Kanab, Utah.
  • The address is 745 E. Highway 89 (across the street from Wendy’s and Walkers Gas Station)
  • The phone number is (435) 644-1300 or (435) 688-3200.
  • The lottery is year-round daily, except for winter months (see below)
  • The visitor center is open from 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM seven days a week
  • The conference room opens at 8:30 AM to fill out applications for Coyote Buttes North and 9:30 AM for Coyote Buttes South
  • The official drawing is at 9:00 AM for Coyote Buttes North and 10:00 AM for Coyote Buttes South
  • Note: Be sure to have your license plate information for the application

The walk-in permits are issued during non-Winter months (mid-March – mid-November) for the walk-in lottery the permits are issued the day before the hike. During the winter months (mid-November to mid-March) the permits are issued on Friday for Saturday, Sunday, and Monday hikes. There is not an application fee for walk-in permits, you only pay per permit if you are one of the lucky few whose number is drawn. NOTE: Take cash and have the exact amount, if possible. ($7.00 per person and per dog.)

I recommend you arrive early to secure a parking spot. The daily lottery is not a first come first serve basis so arriving early gets you nothing but a good parking spot.

the wave permit - hours

Signs on the doors at the visitor center. (April 2018)

Walk-in Lottery Process for Coyote Buttes North

Note: The process is the same for Coyote Buttes South with the difference of the drawing is at 10:00 AM for Coyote Buttes South, so if you are not issued permits for Coyote Buttes North stick around and see if you can pick up permits for your group for Coyote Buttes South.

  • Starting at 8:30 AM applications are handed out to ONE person in your group to prepare and submit. Note: They will give you a strict warning that if more than one person submits for the group and you win, you will forfeit your permits if the multiple applications are caught.
  • Once you submit your application you will turn into the ranger at the table at the front of the room and he will number each application.
  • Once 9:00 AM rolls around the ranger will announce the application process is closed and then will call out each applicant’s name and give them the number associated with their application.
  • Once the numbers have been announced the numbered balls are placed in a spinning cage and will draw numbers one at a time until all the permits have been issued. The permits could be taken in as few as two applications or as many as 10 applications. Remember, an application can have a request from 1 – 6 persons.
  • NOTE: If your group is larger than the number of permits available, you will have to choose if you will take the number available or withdraw your application and give someone else a chance. (This was my fear as the first application was one person and figured it would be our luck that permit would be available and our application would be selected.) I later found out that if this instance happens the ranger may issue an additional permit, so a person doesn’t have to hike alone. (Unofficial information that I am trying to verify.)
  • Not lucky and want to try the next day? If you want to try again, the ranger will keep your application on file for 24 hours, so you don’t have to fill out a new one the next day. Note that your number may change from the previous day’s drawing.

Lottery Application for Coyote Buttes North

The Wave Permit - Application

Coyote Buttes North Application Notice and Requested Information

Before applying, please consider that visiting the Wave involves hiking roughly six miles in an underdeveloped, backcountry wilderness. Evaluate weather conditions as well as backcountry experience and physical fitness of all group members before putting your application into the lottery, in order to assess your preparedness for this hike and to avoid ending up in a dangerous situation.

Please note: Only one application is allowed per group. If a duplicate is submitted, the group will be disqualified. Maximum group size is 6 people. Permit cost is $7.00 per person and per dog, payable in cash or by check. There is a limit of one visit to North Coyote Buttes per person in a two-week period. Permits are non-transferrable; they can only be used by the people listed on the application.

Information needed for the application:

  • Date of Application
  • Number of Person in Group (list up to 6 persons)
    • Trip Leader is person #1
    • Remaining group members are #2 – #6, if applicable
  • Number of Dogs in Group
  • Home Address
  • City
  • State
  • Zip Code
  • Country
  • Phone Number or Email
  • Emergency Contact Name
  • Emergency Contact Phone Number
  • License Plate Number
  • Vehicle Make / Model
  • Select whether the vehicle is 2WD, 4WD, or an RV
  • Guide Company, if applicable

The information inwi this article was updated April 2018.

The Wave Permit