Most people have seen photos of hiking the Wave in Arizona and I think the first time we all saw this photo when Microsoft Windows 7 launched on 22 July 2009. It was the desktop wallpaper of Windows 7. The Wave remained basically unknown until the 1990s when it was largely advertised in German travel brochures and shown in the 1996 movie Faszination Natur. The Wave is situated on the Utah-Arizona border, halfway between Page, Arizona and Kanab, UT in the Paria Canyon/Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness Area in Northern Arizona. The sea level of this place is around 5,225 feet above. The Wave is comprised of Navajo Sandstone dunes that have calcified vertically and horizontally, turning into hardened, compacted rocks over time.
The Wave is one of the greatest geological formations in the world. It was begun around 190 million years ago at the Jurassic age when desert dunes compacted and solidified into striped sandstone. The peculiar and unique fluctuating stratum was created by wind and rain. Wind pushes the sandy desert dunes across the sandstone while water runoff deposited a lot of chemicals like manganese and iron. Swirled bands of color run through the sandstone, ranging from red, pink, orange, yellow, white and green. In some areas the Wave exposes deformed laminae within the Navajo Sandstone. The two major troughs which comprise this rock formation are 62 feet (19 m) wide by 118 feet (36 m) long and 7 feet (2 m) wide by 52 feet (16 m) long.
The Wave rock is certainly a photographer’s delight; an ideal time to photograph the Wave is the few hours around midday when there are no shadows eclipses in the center.
The Wave, Arizona is managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), part of the United States Department of the Interior. In order to protect this formation, only 20 people are issued permits for the Wave each day – half in the advanced online lottery and half in-person – and either way you obtain a permit. The cost is $7 per person per day and the online lottery costs an additional $5 and is non-refundable even if you are unsuccessful. An online lottery system is available four months in advance.
There are four trailheads which provide access to the Wave; The White House trailhead, The Buckskin Gulch trailhead, The Wire Pass trailhead, and The Lee’s Ferry trailhead. There are no formal trails or signage to guide hikers to the Wave from any of the trailheads. 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. Rain storms can make the road to the wave impassable.
If you are planning to visit there, be prepared with 3 liters of water as there is a hot and dusty desert environment with no drinking water. There is no mobile network also. Spring and autumn are the best times of year to visit as in summer; temperatures in this area typically climb above 100 °F (38 °C). The Wave is particularly well known among European tourists, partly because it appeared in the German documentary film Fascinating Nature (1996) and a compilation called Faszination Natur – Seven Seasons in 2004.
The closest towns are Kanab in Utah to the west which is around 48 miles (77 KM) away and Page in Arizona to the east which is 45 miles (72 KM) away. In both the towns, you can find a hotel or guest house for rest. This place is really The Greatest Geological Formations of our planet.