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A U.S. National Park so amazing, it has a $1200 fine without a permit! Tips, photos, and overview for the Wave, Arizona - TravelBreak.netImagine a hike so incredible, there’s a $1200 fine for trespassing without a permit.

It definitely exists.

Welcome to the legacy, the legend — THE Wave in Arizona.

Since the Jurassic years, earth, wind and fire have shaped mother nature’s sculpture garden. A coveted sandstone landscape preserved and protected from tourism, it may only be a $7 pass, but it’s almost impossible to secure entry.

“I’ve been entering the lottery for The Wave, online, every month for a year” – my friend Kevin mentioned. “I’ve shown up a few times and I never get in. I just keep going back to Arizona.”

Andrew chimed in that he’s shown up for the lottery over a dozen times. At this point, it would have been cheaper to have paid up the $1200 penalty.

People travel from around the world to experience Arizona’s greatness. The Grand Canyon, Horseshoe Bend, and Antelope Canyon have ignited a flood of desert insta-shots, but The Wave isn’t so accessible (no matter who you are). Only twenty people are allowed into the National Park every day. According to Bureau of Land Management, Coyotte Buttes (where the Wave is located), you had a 4-5% chance of winning a permit for the Wave… in 2013.

It was my first time being entered into the lottery. Our names were called last. I’d been through nine cities in a single day to get there, and it was absolutely worth it!

So if you’re interested in taking on The Wave, here are some tips and photos courtesy of @SweatEngine and @StephBeTravel.

The Wave, Arizona @StephBetravel (4 of 8)


 Photo collaboration @SweatEngine @StephBeTravel

 The Wave, Arizona @StephBetravel (3 of 8) copy

How does The Wave lottery work?

You can enter online or show up in person for up to six of the twenty daily allotted spots. If you enter online, you are entering for a reservation four months later. Alternatively, show up, in-person, to a cow-boy, middle-America town. Showdown against 100 other travelers who have trekked to Kanab just a chance to hike the next day.

Entering the lottery is a $5 fee per person. The permit costs $7 per person, and $7 per dog (yay!).

Many limitations exist – amongst them – you are limited to a group of six, no overnight camping, and you an only apply for the permit once a month.

The Wave, Arizona @StephBetravel (6 of 8)


Photo collaboration @SweatEngine @StephBeTravel

The Wave Hike Overview


  • The hike is six miles round trip. I’d say it goes from easy to medium to medium-hard. It’s a very do-able hike and many of the travelers were elderly.
  • No littering is allowed. Please carry out what you carry in (including your trash — no bins are available for collecting garbage).
  • You need a four-wheel drive to access the park from the main road.
  • You will lose reception both in the park and on the drive to the park. Please plan accordingly with directions.
  • Your pass is valid for 24 hours (1 Day).
  • Your tripod and/or hiking poles should have rubber stoppers to prevent accidental carving into the rocks.

The Wave Packing List:

Outside of your photo equipment (DSLR, GoPro, and iPhone), consider some of these when prepping for a hike to the Wave). Also, consider these road trip tips.

  • Backpack
  • Camel back
  • Poncho
  • Light Jacket (Women) (Men)
  • GPS
  • Snacks
  • Biodegradeable Wipes
  • Sunscreen
  • Hat
  • Hiking Poles
  • Sunglasses
  • Flashlight

I’d bring these in addition to clothing from the Active Wear Packing List for Women and Active Wear Packing List for Men.

Given Kevin is an artist, I also brought along a white dress to photograph this experience.

Made it to The Wave with @stephbetravel.

A video posted by Kevin Lu (@sweatengine) on

See here for more information about the Wave Permits


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