The Wave: Stunning Sandstone Slopes of Arizona

An amazing natural sandstone formation located in Arizona near the Utah border is an amazing and surreal place. Looking at the images you almost do not believe what you are actually seeing is real or even possible!

A Popular Desktop Background Image of ‘The Wave’

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Coyote Buttes in the Paria Canyon/Vermillion Cliffs Wilderness is where you will find the slopes called “The Wave.” I first saw an image of this place as a desktop background for a LINUX operating system and was convinced that it was a Photoshop image or had at least, been manipulated a little. But this is real place.

The Wave

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This has got to be an amazing feeling to get permitted entry to this wondrous place. Few people will ever get to visit, most don’t even know of this place.

Sublime Presence

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Between Kanab, Utah and Page, Arizona, this location can be reached by an approximately 3-mile hike. The Bureau of Land Management has a strict limit of the number of daily tourists permitted to explore, about 20 visitors per day. You need to book your reservation in advance. Ten permits are made available by advance booking and the remainders are available the day before at the nearby ranger’s station by lottery.

Wikipedia cites that this formation is particularly popular with European tourists in part because this location was used in a German film several years ago, but does not cite the film or how the scene was used.

Beautiful Strata

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The Wave, After a Rainstorm

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The sandstone is soft and fragile, which is why tourism is limited to small numbers of visitors. Photography here is best at midday when the sun is high, to limit shadows which are present in the morning and afternoon hours as in all canyons. The Wave is stunningly beautiful after a rainstorm, numerous pools of water are created and it is said that one can bath here. These pools often contain hundreds of newly-hatched tadpoles which will become frogs or toads quickly, before the water all evaporates.

Unbelievable Beauty, The Wave

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 Surf’s Up at The Wave

This looks a lot like a similar ‘rock wave’ in Australia!

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Use of a GPS, Global Positioning Satellite device is recommended. The Wave is difficult to find and there are a prudent lack of signage pointing the way. The signs and easily-identified trails would detract from the natural beauty of the place. Visiting parties often get either lost, or miss finding The Wave altogether, so GPS is advised.

Amazing Visage!

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9 Responses to “The Wave: Stunning Sandstone Slopes of Arizona”
  1. Lostash Says...

    On March 27, 2009 at 5:06 am

    Never heard of this place…..what wonderful natural architecture.


  2. Elizabeth Abbott Says...

    On March 27, 2009 at 6:43 am

    What beautiful pics. This place is astounding. Very well composed . This is art in it’s finest composition. I was not aware that this existed.. Thank you. E


  3. Lost in Arizona Says...

    On March 27, 2009 at 10:12 am

    Also interesting to note is that this place is exceedingly dangerous if you get caught during the monsoons. Some years ago, some tourists got trapped and drowned when a huge flash flood came barreling through. It’s best to go in with Navajo guides who seem to know the area very well. You got some really good photos of the place. Had to read the article since it’s of my home. Will blog, su, and add to my faves. Wonderful article! Take care.


  4. Patrick Bernauw Says...

    On March 27, 2009 at 12:00 pm

    WAWsome!


  5. John Rav Says...

    On March 27, 2009 at 1:00 pm

    Hi, Thanks for sharing my photos (you should ask, next time.)

    and per ‘lost in arizona’ it was Antelope Canyon not the Wave that had the deadly Flash flood.

    Happy Friday!

    John Rav
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/john_rav/


  6. lindalulu Says...

    On March 27, 2009 at 3:34 pm

    Great article Stickman. I would love to visit here maybe someday!


  7. stephencardiff Says...

    On March 27, 2009 at 5:14 pm

    great looking place and great write up…


  8. DA Cournean Says...

    On June 19, 2009 at 1:42 pm

    Amazing! Thanks for sharing!


  9. Tiffany Sewell Says...

    On February 18, 2012 at 12:55 am

    This is one of the most beautiful of Gods creations. Going to the top of my bucket list for things that I must see before I leave this world. Amazing that there has not been more information about a place like this before.


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