I hiked to the wave with my partner Ruth Hoyt and friend Eric Dong in February 2015. I write about it because it was an inspiring hike and an awe inspiring sight. We arrived at the trail head a little after daylight the morning of our permit to find temperatures in the 20s. Just right for an invigorating walk. The hike to the Wave is said to be about 6 miles round trip over mostly unmarked terrain. If you cannot navigate by available maps or by GPS you should not go there as it is a wilderness with three trail markers that you may not see, over sand and rocks where tracks of other hikers are seldom available to help you navigate. Getting lost is easy. Finding your way back to the trail head will be difficult if you get lost.
If you are lucky enough to win the lottery for a permit to enter the area, able to navigate the terrain, willing to follow good advice provided by the BLM who are responsible for the area and prepared for a long hike carrying water, some food and other needs on your back, go there. Enter the lottery often. When you get a permit use it. You will be rewarded with other worldly views of rock formations seen no other place I have seen.
I have a few pieces of advice. Expect the hike to be at least 10 miles. Do not loiter at the beginning of the hike to photograph and admire the scenery. March on to the Wave. Chart your way to as many of the locations near the wave that you can. There were five on my itinerary.
We did what I advised you not to do. We loitered at what we thought were amazing places early in the hike. As a result we arrived at the Wave near noon. Remember, we left the trail head soon after daylight. We photographed around the Wave and Second Wave. Routes to the other locations were not straight line routes as I expected so would require back tracking and skirting vertical ridges we could not cross. As a result we saw only those two extraordinary formations and must return at some time in the future to another hike.
At about 1500 we started our return to the trail head. We arrived there two or three hours later with an hour or so of daylight to spare. I drank four 16oz bottles of water and ate four or five granola bars and some almonds and raisins. Much to my surprise my GPS had logged slightly more than 10 miles for the day.
I could have walked another couple of miles but I was exhausted by the time we returned to the car. That night I sat in a tub of hot water for about 30 minutes to relax stiff muscles and sore feet. Even given the exhaustion of the hike, I will very likely do it again so as to visit some of the other formations near the Wave. I recommend it to any of you who have the stamina. It is worth the pain. You can brag about doing it. You will be amazed and aw struck by the scenery. You will want to do it again too.