The hardest part about hiking the Wave is getting the permit. Each day hundreds of people will show up, and thousands of people will apply for just 64 daily permits, 48 of which are given out by advance on-line lottery, 16 through a daily walk-in lottery. Ask the people in the room with you and you will hear stories about flying to the United States and staying in Kanab for weeks just to apply each morning at the visitor center. Most will leave empty handed. There is no short cut and there are no tricks to getting a permit, beyond maybe choosing a low visitation time of year.
You will need to drive to the Kanab Center Gymnasium first thing in the morning 7 days a week during peak season, to apply for a hiking permit for the following day. The Center is closed on the weekend during the winter. Permits for the days that are closed are all drawn together on Friday. Also check to make sure the Center won’t be closed for a holiday.
PHONE (435) 688-3200
EMAIL [email protected]
Kanab Convention Center
20 North 100 East
Kanab, UT 84741
TIP: take a picture of your license plate before going in the building. You will need the make/ model and plate to fill out the permit application.
TIP: Bring cash for the permit. There is a nonrefundable $5 fee to enter the in-person lottery. Should you win, the permit cost is $7 per person.There is no ATM and they do not accept credit cards.
I try to arrive around 0830 am and they will be starting their speech about the difficulty of the hike and the drive. Then everyone will be allowed into the drawing room and have an opportunity to fill out a form. There is no advantage to being first, but the room fills up quickly and the last people will usually be standing by the door or outside the room.
At 9:00 AM sharp they will start assigning numbers and drawing winners. This process usually takes about 15 minutes total.
If you’re lucky enough to win, stay in the room. If you don’t win, this is a good time to explore the visitor center and talk to the staff about other options.
TIP: Many people try and come before long holidays, because the office may be drawing for 30-40 permits in some cases, however, the amount of people usually goes up accordingly, so your odds of winning may actually be lower than just going on a random weekday.
This process is pretty straightforward. You will be applying for dates four months in advance. Just go to this website https://www.recreation.gov/permits/274309 read the instructions, and apply for the dates you want to hike during the application period specified on the chart. You get up to three choices. Drawings are done the first of each month and results are emailed shortly afterwards.
Pro Tip: if you already have your plan for the day, I recommend you head over to Kanab Creek Bakery (https://www.kanabcreekbakery.com/) and get a nice breakfast and coffee before you start the days travels. The breakfast burrito is a personal favorite.