It is a fragile site managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in Kanab, Utah, a mere three-hour drive northeast of Las Vegas. Cloudy days make for the best chances of winning a permit to enter the site as visitation drops, the desert air is cooler and the hike is made easier.
The lottery system
Due to the Wave’s popularity and delicate nature, a lottery system has been put in place by the BLM in an effort to ensure its conservation. Ten permits can be obtained online per day and another 10 are available for walk-ins in the Grand-Staircase Escalante National Monument field office in Kanab.
According to the BLM website, the busiest months to visit are April, May, September and October, where there is a 10 percent chance of winning the lottery. The odds increase in the off-season months.
Applying for a permit online requires patience, luck and preparation months in advance of the trip. Once a date is set, it cannot be changed for any reason, which means that it cannot depend on the weather.
A walk-in permit may be easier to obtain in the off-season months and on overcast days when less people travel. Nevertheless, it also requires patience, luck and a Plan B should there be many other rain lovers playing the lottery that day. For further information or to apply for a permit, visit the BLM website.
If it rains…
Those cancelling their plans due to clouds and rain are missing out on some amazing desert sites and hikes. The Wave is a famous u-shaped curve in the rock, similar to a skateboarding ramp, composed of layers of different shades of red sandstone that have been slowly eroded away over time by wind and rain water.
When it rains, the rock glistens as the colors come alive and little waterfalls flow from the surrounding rock faces. Not only does the Wave come through with shining glitters, but the sand dunes on the three-mile hike to get there harden to provide easier walking. Even photographers benefit from the even light diffused between the clouds (although they must remember to bring a waterproof pouch for their camera). This is a win-win situation!