The Wave Arizona Lottery

If you have been following my journey on my JAdRunning Facebook page then you know I’ve been traveling for a year now. The Wave has been on my list since day one! The beauty of this highly sought after sandstone rock formation draws hikers and photographers from all over the world to get a permit.
The hike to the wave is limited to only 20 people/permits a day. Ten permits through an online lottery months in advance and ten next day in person lottery permits. The rules are pretty simple for the in person lottery (BLM Wave Website). I showed up to the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument Visitor Center in Kanab, Utah at 8:30 am after parking the night at the gas station across the street. We listened to a little spiel from the Park Ranger about the dangers of the hike before going into the lottery room. Each group then fills out an application and is given one number no matter the size. So let’s say the number of a group of six gets called…then only four permits are left of the ten.
The Ranger makes a joke about our odds of getting picked being pretty good compared to other days. It was a rainy night with snow in the morning. Only 29 people were there for a chance to hike the next day. The record of people the Ranger said was 254! I was feeling lucky on my first Wave lottery. You could feel the tension as the Ranger drops the numbered balls into a bingo wheel. He spins and calls the first number…a couple cheer loudly! “They’re still nice people but their group is for 5 so there are only 5 permits left” the Ranger chuckles. Second and third numbers are called…both to a group of two. This now leaves one permit. The Ranger then explains when this happens he allows an extra permit because he doesn’t recommend hiking alone. But, if the number called is for a group of more then two they would have to decided to pass or leave someone behind. “It could put a strain on some relationships” he says. Spinning the wheel and the last number drops…number 12? I motion a low fist pump to my side and let out a subtle YES! Then I say, “Well I saved everyone’s relationship…its just me.” The hint of laughter after my comment seemed to be more of a I hope you roll your ankle, then a that was funny. I pay the $14 fee for the permit ($7 for me and $7 for pup), take my picture map and started to prepare for my next day journey!
With it still raining through the day we were caution that only 4×4 would get us to the trailhead via the clay back roads. That didn’t stop me. Once I found out there was a free campsite only a mile from the trailhead I set out to venture the roads. I decided to come in through the south after being told the roads were better that way. It would be an extra 45 minute drive but I’d rather be there then miss this hike. The last two miles of road to the campground were a sloppy mess but manageable if driven right. As sunset neared I got everything ready for the morning adventure! Rather then explain the hike I’ll let you enjoy the pictures (for more photos visit my Facebook Page JAdRunning)…
So if you’re compiling a list of must see places I definitely recommend putting The Wave in Arizona on your list! Pictures will never do justice for the beauty Mother Nature holds!


  1. Margaret Wakeman · November 18, 2015

    Hi Joel,I am so happy for you! Thanks for all the spell binding pictures.Safe travels,sincerely,Peggy from Gloucester

    Liked by 1 person

    • JAdRunning · November 19, 2015

      Hey Peggy! Thanks you! How have you been?? Hope you’re keeping the Dogtown trail in good use 😃


      • Margaret Wakeman · November 20, 2015

        Dear J.
        Was in Dogtown this morning. Ran into a chap decked out like a Native American with his trusty Basset hound “Elmer”.The man carries a rifle (only a guess) and is searching for rabbits to eat. Weather here unseasonably warm.I am fine. Thanks for responding. It made my day! Happy Thanksgiving to you……Sincerely, peggy


      • JAdRunning · November 21, 2015

        Oh wow…wish I would have met him! Send some of that warm weather my way, cold here in Utah where I am now. Your comment made my day too! It was great to hear from you…happy thanksgiving to you and your family too from pup and I 😃🐶


  2. Deb Sell · November 6, 2016

    Great story!! Hoping to go with my aussie in the upcoming year! Love the pics (esp the aussie!!).


    • JAdRunning · November 6, 2016

      Thanks Deb! Good Luck on the lottery! The wave is beautiful =)


      • Deb Sell · November 6, 2016

        It’s been on my bucket list but I am getting serious about entering as often as I can in the spring and fall to make it happen….fingers crossed!! You’re very lucky!!

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s