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Winter at the Wave

A couple of Fridays ago while I was working at the GRAMMYs rehearsals my cell phone suddenly began buzzing away with multiple text messages coming in. When I got a moment to take a look, it was Mr. Misadventures excitedly letting me know that we had gotten permits for the Wave.

In fact, our favorite guide and an all-around good guy, William of Dreamland Safari Tours had won the lottery…that is to say, the wave lottery! I wrote a little about the lottery process for getting one of the twenty daily spots for the Wave when we tried it out during our Southwest road trip last May, but William has written a much better explanation if you are interested in going.

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The rest of the text messages were to say “I’m checking flights!” Twelve hours after arriving back from LA, we were headed to Las Vegas where we grabbed a rental car and drove back to Kanab, Utah. I did say I would have never imagined visiting Kanab twice in the same year when we headed there last December for our White Pocket over-night camping trip, but here I was heading there for the third time in less than one year!

The Wave in the Winter - Arizona USA

We arrived in town just in time to have a late dinner with the most awesome of Wave Tour Guides for North Coyote Butte and his girlfriend at the Rocking V Cafe where we had the best meal we ever had in Kanab!

It was snowing, and after a good local beer and a great meal we tucked in because it would be an early start the next day. I am not one for extreme weather conditions, nor am I one for extreme sports, so I decided fairly quickly on the way home from LA, that I would not be doing the hike. My role was that of the driver and moral support, as well as an ace reporter!

It was a decision that turned out to be a very wise one indeed. The hike in and out of the area in Southern Arizona’s North Coyote Butte where the Wave is located is normally a 6-mile round trip. With the snow, it turned out to be out 10 or 12-miles (they said even up to 20, but that begins to sound like a fishing tale!) because Mr. Misadventures and William had to go around in spots as the trail or rocks were too slick. The temperature and wind conditions were quite cold too.

While Mr. Misadventures was fighting the conditions outside, I was nice and warm in the hotel working on posts for this blog! Seven hours later the misters returned. We had just enough time for him to take a hot shower, repack his camera gear, and hit the road back to Vegas for our flight home. The timing was tight but we made it.

And as you can see it was well worth the adventure!

There was a decent amount of snow on the ground when they began (one other person joined William and Mr. Misadventures, a traveler from the Middle East).

Trail toThe Wave in the Winter - Arizona USA

This left the fragile rock difficult to traverse.

The Wave in the Winter - Arizona USA

But the orange really stands out in the snow!

The Wave in the Winter - Arizona USA

I love how the snow gets captured into the waves…

The Wave in the Winter - Arizona USA

More…

The Wave in the Winter - Arizona USA

Hard to imagine that the Wave could have a bad time of the year to visit.

The Wave in the Winter - Arizona USA

You can see how the colors differ from other parts of the Grand Escalante and Coyote Buttes area.

The Wave in the Winter - Arizona USA

It is pretty massive. You can tell with these people in the frame. They were a couple from Seattle who had been trying to win the Wave lottery for five years and got selected via the online version on the same Friday as Mr. Misadventures (they don’t have guide extraordinaire like we do!).

Seattle peeps at the Wave

It is such incredible natural beauty, it is no wonder that people fight to get here.

The Wave in the Winter - Arizona USA

Blue skies peeking through…

The Wave in the Winter - Arizona USA

The snow begins to melt.

The Wave in the Winter - Arizona USA

Shadier parts still hold on, but that blue sky is coming.

The Wave in the Winter - Arizona USA

And back at the start of the trail you hardly know it snowed at all.

The Wave in the Winter - Arizona USA

All photos were taken by Mr. Misadventures on his Canon Mark II. At first, I complained that he had made the images too “HDResque,” but then he showed me the originals and I can tell you he did not do that much editing, just some white balance, and other minor adjustments. These photos seem unreal which is why I guess it is a must-see spot.

As with our other trips in this area, I highly recommend hiring Dreamland Safari Tours, they are the best of the best when it comes to Wave Tour Guides for North Coyote Butte. We’ve hired him four times, so that should be proof enough! It will not be our last either.

Also, it is essential that you wear the proper clothing and shoes. Here is a guide on how to keep your feet warm during a winter hike that is important tips and tricks.

How about you? Have you been to the Wave? Do you want to in the future?

Like it? PIN it!

Winter at the WaveWinter at the WaveWinter at the Wave

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60 Comments

  1. I love these! I’m so glad you guys went back – Mr. Misadventures is quite a talented photographer!! (Though I have to say – it’s very likely I would’ve been sitting in the car with you as well.) 🙂

  2. That is just awesome. It doesn’t even look like our planet! Thanks for the beautiful pictures.

  3. OH…MY…GOODNESS!!!!! BEAUTIFUL and BREATHTAKING!!! I have yet to see a photograph on your site that doesn’t take my breath away, you are wonderful!!!!!!!!!!

  4. I love taking photos. The pictures of the red rock with the snow covering them are absolutely gorgeous. Great photography.

  5. Extrordinary and so beautiful
    I must admit, I don’t think I would have gone with it being cold and snow on the ground, but then again I am a wimp.

    Thank you and your hubby for sharing!

  6. I’ve never traveled much in the western states of the US (except the Pacific North West) and The Wave here seems unreal! I don’t think I’ve seen photos like these that feature snow like this in any part of Arizona, so this is really neat to see! And then obviously just the way the waves have formed there at North Coyote Butte is incredible! I’m not much for hiking (especially not in a rugged terrain), so I don’t know if I could make it through this kind of trek, but it would be a wonderful experience. Your Mr. is lucky to have had the chance!

  7. Can you even believe how absolutely beautiful that is? That is why I love the western US…the landscape is so amazing and exotic!

  8. Wow. Great places and amazing pictures!
    I’ve never heard about it before (but I’m not usually looking for places in US to travel to…).
    There’s just a problem… one more place on my bucket list 😉

  9. Once again you’ve found a place in our beautiful country that I somehow missed! My husband and I have seen most of the National Parks in the Four Corners area, but don’t know how we missed the Wave! We will go back some day and it is the top of the list, now. Thanks for another great trip idea!

    1. @MD, I had never heard of it either, and I think that is part of its allure. It is not easy to get a permit and only 20 people are allowed in a day, it is quite a unique experience!

  10. I’ve never seen even pictures of a place such as this one! Although I appreciate all the beauty in the pictures, I do believe staying warm and comfortable waiting for pictures to arrive works best in my world.

  11. That is so beautiful! I have never heard of it before, and I think the hike would be too much for me, but it’s nice to see pics of the adventure.

  12. Super pics, that is the kind of stuff i love. The little things, created by mother nature! Gorgeous!! thanks for sharing.

  13. The HRDesque effect is quite interesting actually — Mr Misadventures always has an alternative profession as a GREAT PHOTOGRAPHER!!

  14. Wow this scenery is breathtaking, almost gives you a dizzing feeling of vertigo. This would be outstanding blown up into a wall picture 20×24 – definitely would be a conversation piece.

  15. Oh my goodness what beautiful photos. I’ve never heard of this place, but it sure is pretty. I’m glad he got to make the hike. I’m sure the pictures do not even do the scenes justice. The colors are amazing!

  16. Have never been to The Wave, it is absolutely breathtaking. Fantastic job with the pictures! I so want to go now! I have decided to, that I love your blog! I mean wow.. what a life you are living 🙂

  17. These pictures are breath taking for sure. I have never travelled much and hubby is not one to travel. I love looking at photos of everyone’s trips, It gives me an insight to what the rest of the world looks like. Those rocks are beautiful. I can see they would be difficult to walk on in places but oh what a thrill it must be. Maybe one day I will see places like this too. Thanks for sharing.

  18. These pictures are absolutely stunning! I’m embarrassed to say that I had no idea that this place even existed until I visited this post! I love to travel, and I’m moving out to Kansas (I currently live in NY) in the very near future for grad. school, so that puts me in a much better location to actually be able to visit the Wave! I’d really like to go!

  19. I would love to do The Wave! They were lucky to get permits so quickly. The photos are amazing, thanks for sharing!

  20. I’ve lived in Utah for many years and didn’t know this existed until my nephew went last year. He was able to go in the summer and it was beautiful. I don’t think you are even allowed to go without an experienced guide and some people wait years to get to go.

  21. Wow, those photos are BEAUTIFUL! My stepdaughter has always wanted to visit up there and now I do, too.

  22. Stunning photos! I lived in Utah about 3 years and being from Arkansas, it was very shocking to me. I said I can’t believe a bunch of rocks can be so beautiful!

  23. These pictures are beautiful! I went to Arches, Zion, Monument Valley, and Bryce a few years ago but I did not get the chance to visit the wave. Really want to now!

  24. I really did not even know this place existed here in the US and I have to admit those snow pictures are so pretty…almost as if they look better with snow than without.

  25. As the name of your post, so is the photograph. You have taken amazing patterns of wave and that too with a winter background. Good to see these waves with snow but I can imagine how it must be very slippery and difficult to visit in this season.

  26. Hi,
    First of all thanks for sharing. We have visited the wave in summer in 2012 and are fortunate to be able to go back this December. We always rent a SUV so we don’t know exactly what car we would get. Can you tell about the road conditions ? We would visit between Bryce and Zion but it all depends if we are one of the lucky winners.

    1. @Lara, the last time we were on the road in the winter for the wave we were actually on our way to White Pocket. You have to pass the area for the Wave when you are trying to get to White Pocket. The road to the Wave was okay, we had our Jeep and were able to access it, we had to stop and turn around in our attempt to get to WP as the road was too icy/muddy. It is my belief that would a decent high clearance rental car you can get to the parking lot for the Wave. I know it is always a gamble with rental cars. We enjoyed winter in Zion and Bryce and were able to access with our Jeep without issue and you should be just fine for those two locations with a rental SUV.