Is My Wave Permit Still Valid During The Government Shutdown?

You crossed your fingers, toes, and a few other extremities in order to secure your permit to hike The Wave. The government couldn’t have chosen a worse time to go on shutdown mode! Fortunately, that doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your long-awaited and highly-coveted trip to The Wave.

According to the website of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the agency that handles Wave hiking permits:

“In the event of a lapse in appropriations, the Bureau of Land Management will be closed. During this shutdown,
this website is not being updated and may not reflect current conditions. For your planning purposes, the majority of BLM-managed lands remain accessible to visitors; however access may change without notice. Please be aware that there may be no BLM-provided visitor services, including restrooms, trash collection, facilities, or road maintenance. For more information, see

This means that processing requests for new Wave hiking permits via the online lottery is on hiatus. This also means that the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument Visitor Center in Kanab, Utah, will be closed, therefore, no walk-in permits will be issued.
However, this does not mean that you can hike to The Wave without a permit.

Though the Bureau of Land Management’s offices are technically closed, the State of Arizona has allocated emergency funds to keep a handful of rangers on duty in the Vermillion Cliffs/Paria Wilderness Area. These rangers on hand to ensure visitor safety and resource protection, and part of the latter function means verifying that people hiking to The Wave have the proper Coyote Buttes North permits. And if you think we’re kidding, a recent visitor to our Facebook page confirmed that this is indeed happening:  

“Yesterday I watched two girls without permits get fined and sent back. They were just feet from The Wave. There were rangers patrolling the trail and the parking lot. Thanks, rangers!”

So what’s a person to do who can’t get permits to The Wave the proper way, but still wants to see it in the worst way? In a word, fly. Contact the Page Municipal Airport or Kanab Municipal Airport to inquire about
chartering an airplane or helicopter over Coyote Buttes. Yes, this will be expensive. But yes, it will be absolutely unforgettable. While you’re at it, ask if the pilot has time to fly you over other amazing scenery nearby, such as:

  • Lake Powell
  • Rainbow Bridge
  • Cottonwood Canyon Road
  • Kodachrome Basin
  • Bryce Canyon
  • Zion National Park

    If chartering a flight is not feasible for whatever reason, consider touring one of the many other alternate scenic landmarks in the vicinity of The Wave that don’t require a permit, including:
  • White Pocket
  • Sidestep Canyon
  • Soap Creek
  • Mystical Slot Canyon
  • Toroweap
  • Pinnacle Valley
  • Wahweap Hoodoos
  • Rimrocks
  • Yellow Rocks/Cockscomb
  • Wire Pass/Buckskin Gulch
  • Alstrom Point

    The degree of physical difficulty involved with exploring the above areas varies quite widely, but one usual commonality is the recommendation for a high-clearance 4WD vehicle. If you are traveling in a rental car, off-road driving is prohibited. You are strongly encouraged to contact a licensed guide service with the knowledgeable staff and appropriately equipped vehicles to get you there (and back) in one piece. For more information on reputable tour guides in Page, AZ, and Kanab, UT, visit A Guide