The Southwestern part of the United States is a not-so-hidden gem. There are so many people who want to
I nstagram hike this beautiful region that park officials are seriously worried the effect of overcrowding on sustainability. By implementing permits and increasing prices to enter national parks and monuments, officials hope to preserve these natural beauties.
Arizona Wave: The Holy Grail of Hiking Permits
One of the hardest hiking permits to get is for the incredible Arizona Wave. The Bureau of Land Management only allows 20 people per day into the area. Last year, 160,000 people applied to gain entry to the site — and only 7,300 got to go.
To put that into perspective, you have a higher chance of getting into Harvard than receiving one of these permits. As they say in the application process, some places are an absolute privilege to see. This is one of them.
This trek is not for those looking for a casual day hike. As the trail is not heavily populated, you'll need to educate yourself on the terrain and have basic map skills. But if you've ever wanted to climb into the desktop of a Microsoft computer, we don't think that's too much to ask.
How Do You See the Arizona Wave for Yourself?
1. Long-Term Planning
You can enter the online lottery four months in advance. That means if you enter the lottery in June, you'd pick a day in October. The lottery winners will be picked the first of the following month (if you apply in June, you'd find out on July 1). If you are picked, you'll get an e-mail telling you how to accept your permit and how to pay the $7 fee within the next two weeks.
Ten people are given a permit a day, and you're allowed to pick up to three dates. To stack your odds, everyone in your group can enter. If your group defies the odds and wins twice, the Bureau asks that you release one of them as soon as you can.
Insider tip: Wait until the end of the month and pick the dates with the least amount of applications. Basic math, but hey, anything helps?
2. Last-Minute Planning
Sometimes Lady Luck just isn't on your side. If you'll be in the area anyway, you can take a gamble at the walk-up lottery to possibly score one of the 10 remaining hiking slots. To take advantage of this system, you'll need to be at the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument Visitor Center at 8:30 a.m. the day before you hope to hike. Permits are issued at 9:00 a.m., seven days a week, March through November, and only Monday through Friday in the winter months.
If you want to increase your chances, show up on a Friday in the winter, as the permits for Saturday, Sunday and Monday are pulled then. Only one person per party can enter, and groups entering multiple times will be disqualified.
Long story short pirates, you can try and stack the odds in your favor, but this one has a whole lot left up to the universe as well.