The Wave Sandstone Formations

Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs, Springdale, Utah 84767 USA

No Longer Maintained

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“be rewarded by the colorful undulating forms after a strenuous hike!”


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https://roadtrippers.com/us/coconino-county-az/attractions/the-wave--3

The Wave is located on the Colorado Plateau, near the Utah and Arizona border. The area is a gallery of gruesomely twisted sandstone, resembling deformed pillars, cones, mushrooms and other odd creations. Deposits of iron claim some of the responsibility for the unique blending of color twisted in the rock, creating a dramatic rainbow of pastel yellows, pinks and reds.

It is necessary to obtain a permit for the popular hike to the Wave formation in Coyote Buttes.

In places, The Wave exposes deformed laminae within the Navajo Sandstone. These laminae were deformed prior to the lithification of the sand to form sandstone. Judging from their physical characteristics, this deformation likely represents the trampling and churning of these sands by dinosaurs right after their deposition. Dinosaur tracks and the fossil burrows of desert-dwelling arthropods, such as beetles and other insects, have been found within the Navajo Sandstone within the North Coyote Buttes Wilderness Area.

"The Wave is located in the Coyote Buttes North area of the Arizona Strip. There are two great photographic locations in Coyote Buttes North (The Wave and The Second Wave) and numerous minor ones including Top Rock Arch, Melody Arch and the Grotto, the Hooters, The Alcove, Sand Cove, and Fatali's Boneyard.  The Wave is best photographed midday so as to minimize the extensive shadows, the other areas listed above are best photographed mid-late afternoon.

The South Buttes also has many good features and is well worth visiting, as is the White Pocket and Edmaier's Secret. It can be difficult to get a permit to see the Wave. During the best months (April, May, September, October) there can be over 150 people applying for the ten daily permits. In the other months you usually have less than a 50% chance of getting one at the daily lottery. Your chances are better if you're going alone, or in December - February.  If you do not win the lottery I suggest you get one for Coyote Buttes South, or go to the White Pocket which is east of Coyote Buttes South.  I know of one person who was lost overnight in Coyote Buttes South, so use a GPS, mark the trailhead, and stay with your party.  While a two wheel drive vehicle is adequate for the North Buttes, four wheel drive is required for the South due to deep sand." -

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Reviewed by
Tatiana Danger

  • Road Warrior
  • 1,169 Reviews
  • 878 Helpful
January 27, 2013

This place is a photographer's paradise. Best time is in the middle of the day, when the shadows are falling between the crevices.

1 person found this review helpful

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The Wave Sandstone Formations

Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs
Springdale, Utah
84767 USA

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