To visit The Wave, you need a permit for an area called Coyote Buttes North. All permits to hike in Coyote Buttes North are issued via two online lotteries held by A maximum of 64 people, 16 groups are allowed into Coyote Buttes North daily. Permits for a total of 48 people / 12 groups are issued via an "Advanced Lottery", and permits for another 16 people/ 4 groups are issued via a "Daily Lottery". The daily lottery occurs two days before the permit is valid.

The Advanced Lottery is misnamed. Advanced means further along in progress, skill, complexity, knowledge, etc. It does not mean "In Advance". The lottery should be called the "Advance" Lottery.

Coyote Buttes North Advanced Permits

Permits for Coyote Buttes North are tough to obtain, with demand greatly exceeding supply. All Coyote Buttes North permits are awarded by lotteries held on The Advanced Lottery opens up four months in advance of your trip date. You have the whole month to apply. For example, for a January 15 permit you would open the lottery page on in September. The fee to enter the online lottery is $9 per group.

Wave permits are non-transferable except for up to three specific people you list when applying for the lottery. These people are called "alternate permit holders". If you win a permit and are stopped by a ranger on your hike to The Wave, you or a listed alternate permit holder must be present with your group. If not, your group may be ticketed. Alternate permit holders must have an account on

You may only apply once per month to the lottery. If you try to apply more than once, you will receive the message "You have excellent taste! However, you are only allowed to submit or be listed as an alternate permit holder on one lottery application or hold one active permit(s) reservation at a time." Note that if you list someone as an alternate permit holder, they cannot apply for a permit that month. If there are several people in your group, each can apply to the lottery separately, provided you do not list the other group members as alternate permit holders.

You can select up to three dates on each lottery application. The drawing is held the day following the close of the lottery (i.e. October 1 in our example). Shortly after the lottery closes, the BLM will notify you via email whether you were successful. If you do not receive a notification by the 2nd of the month, check your spam folder. If you still haven't received notification, it is likely you mistyped your email address on the application. In this case, you should call the BLM at (435) 688-3200 or email them at for a status. If you win the lottery, you must confirm that you still want the permit and pay an additional $7 per individual fee. If you do not do this, you will forfeit your permit. Vermilion Cliffs National Monument mails out permits 4 to 6 weeks following the lottery. If you have not received your permit four weeks in advance of the entry month call (435) 688-3399 for assistance.

Unlike the past, unconfirmed or canceled permits are not placed back into the pool or made available for permit reservations.

Coyote Buttes North Lottery Schedule

Apply between
for a permit during
January 1 - 31
February 1 - 28
March 1 - 31
April 1- 30
May 1 - 31
June 1 - 30
July 1 - 31
August 1 - 31
September 1 - 30
October 1 - 31
November 1 - 30
December 1 - 31

Coyote Buttes North Daily Permits

The Southern Wave

Daily Permit Geofence

If you are unsuccessful in getting an Advanced permit for Coyote Buttes North, and are in the Southern Utah / Northern Arizona area, consider getting a "Daily Permit". Daily permits are issued two days before you wish to hike to The Wave. You can apply at two days in advance of your trip date. There is a $9 fee to apply. You can only apply via your phone or mobile device (e.g. tablet). You cannot apply via a desktop computer. The GPS on your phone must be on. To apply, you must be within a "geofenced" area in Northern Arizona/Southern Utah. The area includes the towns of Kanab, Page, Big Water, Fredonia, Glendale, and Jacob Lake, among others. The map to the right shows the geofenced area; you can click on it to see a larger image. Alternatively, you can download a full-resolution map in a variety of geocoded formats:

GeoTiff - Avenza KMZ - Google Earth Rmap - Oruxmaps SQLite - Locus MBTiles - GaiaGPS GeoPDF

You can load this map onto your phone's GPS software to see whether you are in the geofenced area.

The procedure to apply for a daily permit is as follows:

  • Two days before desired entry– Apply using your phone or other mobile device between 6 AM and 6 PM Utah time two days before the desired entry date on You must be within the designated geofenced area to apply. Lottery results are sent out at 7:15 PM Utah time that evening. A window opens to accept winning lottery applications.
  • One day before desired entry – If you are successful, accept the permit and pay fees by 8 AM Utah time. Be at a designated permit pickup location at 8:30 AM local time for a safety briefing. If you purchase a permit but do not pick it up and attend the safety briefing, your permit is forfeited. Local time may be different between pickup locations. During Daylight Savings, 9:30 in Utah is 8:30 in Arizona (except the Navajo Nation). There are two permit pickup locations, one in Page and one in Kanab. To pick up your permit in Kanab, go to The Kanab Center, 20 N 100 E, Kanab, UT 84741. To pick up your permit in Page, go to Page-Lake Powell HUB, 48 S Lake Powell Blvd, Page, AZ 86040.
  • Day 3 – Permit date: Explore Coyote Buttes North. For safety reasons, please detach half of your permit and place it on your dashboard before hiking so that BLM rangers and the Coyote Buttes Safety Patrol know your whereabouts. Also, sign the trailhead register.

Coyote Buttes South Permits

The Southern Wave

The Southern Wave

If you cannot get a permit for Coyote Buttes North, consider getting one for Coyote Buttes South. Coyote Buttes South has an appearance and geology similar to that of Coyote Buttes North and even has a Wave-like formation. There are two trailheads for Coyote Buttes South; a 4WD vehicle is required for either. As of 2023, permits for Coyote Buttes South are generally easy to get, provided you apply when they first become available at noon MST on the first of the month. You can apply for an "Advanced" permit at up to four months in advance of your trip date. For example, for a South Buttes February 15th permit, go to the permit page starting on November 1. Permits first become available at Noon MST (or daylight time when DST is in effect) on the first. South Buttes permits cost $9 per reservation (once per group) and $5 per individual in the group. For example, if you reserve for two people, the total fee would be $9 plus 2 times $5 = $19.

Advanced Permits are first come, first served, so you should apply as soon as permits for the month become available. After application, you must download and print your Coyote Buttes South permit. Vermilion Cliffs National Monument does not print and mail them.

Alternatively, if you are in the geofenced area, you can apply to the Coyote Buttes South "Daily Lottery" two days in advance of your desired entry date. The process is the same as that for Coyote Buttes North, except if you are successful, you must pick up your permit at 9 AM local time rather than the 8:30 AM pickup for Coyote Buttes North permits.

You cannot hold two Coyote Buttes online permits at the same time. For example, if you have a permit for December 15 you can only get one for March 2 after December 15 has passed.

The number of applicants at the Advanced and Daily lotteries varies greatly by month and slightly by weekday. I have old walk-in data from the BLM showing the number of applicants by day from November 5, 2012 - November 30, 2013. The data is generally of good quality and suggests the following:

  • The best months to apply for permits are December - February. Your best chance of getting a permit is in mid-January. Early and mid-December also have relatively few applicants. Keep in mind snow cover makes hiking difficult and magnifies risk. Snow also greatly hurts your photographs. House Rock Road may be impassable. Snow cover may make reaching Top Rock from the west side impossible.
  • The odds are greatly against you in March-May and September - October.
  • The Thanksgiving and Christmas/New Year's weeks have very high numbers of applicants and should be avoided. Only these longer holidays have high visitation, for other holidays visitation is average.

To the right are two summaries of the data supporting the above. Note that the daily data shows the number of people applying in Kanab on that day, for a permit the next day.

Winzip icon

If you're interested in the raw data, download and unzip the attached file to the right.

Permit Statistics by Month

Average # of
Jan 11.4 11
Feb 19.2 9
Mar 58.8 33
Apr 77.9 23
May 94.5 17
Jun 52.9 17
Jul 39.2 15
Aug 48.6 11
Se 71.1 23
Oct 66.8 15
Nov 44.1 20
Dec 23.8 20
Average 50.4 30

Permit Statistics by Day

Sun 41.7 28
Mon 48.9 27
Tue 55.6 31
Wed 53.1 31
Thurs 53.6 30
Fri 52.7 32
Sat 47.1 28
Average 50.4 30

The Southern Wave in Coyote Buttes South

The Southern Wave

The Coyote Buttes North Daily Lottery Geofence

Daily Lottery Geofence