What to know about the permit lottery system

Hikers who want to see The Wave, a rolling sandstone landscape that is one of the most photographed — and requested — destinations in the Southwest, will soon have an easier time applying for a permit.

The contoured terrain of the Coyote Buttes North region in Arizona and Utah can only be traveled with a permit obtained by lottery. People who plan well in advance can apply online up to four months in advance at Recreation.gov.

Permits were also issued two days before you wanted to hike via an in-person lottery at the Bureau of Land Management’s Kanab Visitor Center in Utah.

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Starting Tuesday, the BLM will roll out a new mobile app system where people can apply for daily permits. It eliminates the need to go to the visitor center to participate in the lottery.

Here’s how the new The Wave license app works.

How do I get a permit to ride The Wave?

People who want to plan up to four months in advance can enter the lottery for their desired date on Recreation.gov.

A maximum of 64 people per day are allowed in The Wave. Of these, 48 can obtain permits in the early lottery and 16 permits are allocated in the daily lottery.

To enter the daily lottery starting Tuesday, hikers must download the Recreation.gov app to their phone or tablet. Do this before you start your trip – you may not have enough internet to download once you’re on the road.

After downloading the app, here’s how to participate in the daily lottery:

  • Make sure you are within the geographic limits of the app. You cannot apply if you are out of bounds. More on that below.
  • Day 1 : Apply between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. two days before the desired date. You can also apply through a mobile browser. Desktop computers will not work.
  • Lottery results will be sent at 7:15 p.m. on the day of your request.
  • Day 2: If you receive a permit, you must accept it and pay the fee online by 8 a.m. the next day. You will receive information on where to collect the permit. There are locations in Kanab, Utah and Page, Arizona.
  • Permit holders must attend a safety briefing at the pickup location at 8:30 AM on Day 2.
  • Day 3: Permit holders can explore The Wave and Coyote Buttes North.

Note that due to Daylight Savings Time, local time may vary depending on your pickup location.

DST 2022 starts on Sunday, March 13. Utah observes daylight saving time and Arizona does not, so starting Wednesday, if the local time in Utah is 9:30 a.m., it is 8:30 a.m. in Arizona. The Navajo Nation in Arizona is an exception; it observes daylight saving time.

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Where does The Wave permit application work?

According to the BLM, you must be in the following areas to apply for a daily permit on the app:

  • In Arizona: Page, Greenhaven, Marble Canyon, Vermilion Cliffs, Jacob Lake, White Sage, Fredonia, Moccasin and the Kaibab Paiute Indian Reservation.
  • In Utah: Big Water, Paria, Johnson Canyon, Kanab, Mount Carmel, Orderville, Glendale and East Zion.

See a map of the entire geofence perimeter for the daily lottery at https://www.blm.gov.

How long does it take to ride The Wave?

The Wave is a 6.4 mile round trip hike. You will walk through high sandstone buttes and sagebrush to reach the famous rock formation.

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How much does The Wave license cost?

The permit fee is $9 per application. You can have up to six people per application.

You can connect with Arizona Republic culture and outside reporter Shanti Lerner via email at [email protected] or you can also follow her on Twitter.

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