The Wave is a spectacular rock formation carved out of the Arizona sandstone
To hike The Wave you must have a permit which is granted through a lottery system by the BLM (Bureau of Land Management). There is an online lottery that you can apply through and there is an in person lottery that you can try your luck with. We were lucky enough to show up at the in person lottery and were drawn to visit The Wave the next day.
The BLM will provide you with a map that includes several photos of the trail to help you find The Wave. It's worth spending a little time reviewing the map before you start the hike to make sure you find The Wave. We visited The Wave mid-morning returning later in the afternoon where we met another hiker who had tried several times but failed to find The Wave. It was now late afternoon, and he was getting more water to try and make another trip out to find it.
The BLM tries to remove any cairns (piles of rocks used to mark trails) from the trails to prevent people from hiking to The Wave without a permit. I'm not sure why they do this since their maps and GPS coordinates are readily available online. The desert can be disorienting, so if you are not using a GPS make sure you follow the map provided It was a pretty easy hike of about 5.5 miles round trip across relatively flat ground. Once you arrive at The Wave is a pretty amazing sight to see in the middle of the desert. The actual wave really isn't that big of an area, but it's really neat to see. Once you've had a chance to see it and get some photos there are some nice spots near The Wave to sit and eat lunch or munch on a snack. Please do not sit in the middle of The Wave and eat your lunch. It sounds obvious and the BLM requests you not to do this, but yet while we were there people sat in the middle of The Wave and at their lunch while others waited for them to finish so they could take photos.
After lunch there is one more piece of the wave that is worth visiting while you've made the hike. I'm not sure of the official name, but from what I know it's called "The Wave 2". While it's not quite as spectacular as The Wave, it is another cool sandstone formation that will get your shutter clicking.
When you embark on your trip back from The Wave, it's just as important to follow your map. It's easy to get excited about the great sights you just visited and forget to pay attention to how you get back.