Classic Wave


Deep in the heart of Coyote Buttes in northern Arizona you’ll find The Wave. This windswept sandstone formation is an iconic Southwest photograph.


The deserts of the Southwest are expansive, and full of secrets if you know where to look. Some places are massive and tourist attractions in their own right. Others are smaller, and some quite tiny, and you must know they are there to find them. The Wave is one of those hidden gems.

Once you reach it, The Wave is an exciting place. It is in the very northern part of Arizona, although you typically access it from Utah and hike south through the desert across the state line to it. Although it looks like it stretches on forever when you see it in photographs, in actuality it doesn’t.

The Wave is a treasure, and like many treasures, well guarded. We’ve seen it, countless times, and many people recognize it straightaway. But not so many people know about it, and that’s because it isn’t exactly advertised. There are no roads to The Wave.

There isn’t even a formal trail to it, and to reach it one must walk miles through the unmarked desert. You have to transverse drifting sand, slip rock (and all slip rocks looks the same, making navigation tricky), and at the end, face a steep climb in the sand. Not an easy trek–not at all. But one that is more than worth it, as you can see.

Once you reach The Wave, there are other, similar, features around it. None of these are marked, and your best bet is to wander around the area to see what you discover. Chances are, you’ll find something interesting and unusual. Until then, however, we have Classic Wave to bring home and enjoy. You’ll be glad that you did!

Another view of The Wave

Wave Way shows us what The Wave looks like from a distance.

Additional information


Matted Photograph, Finished Aluminum


12×18, 20×30, 8×10