<p><b>The Wave, Paria Canyon, Arizona-Utah</b></p> <p><b>Length:</b> 12 miles (13.3 kilometers) out and back</p> <p><b>Wow Factor: </b>Find the most unique and lovely feature carved into red sandstone desert canyons.</p> <p><b>Do It: </b>The <a href="http://adventure.nationalgeographic.com/adventure/trips/best-trails/canyon-hikes/">sandstone formations and erosion-carved slot canyons</a> of the Colorado Plateau are so stunning and varied, it’s hard to choose just one as the most photogenic. But the Wave, deep within the canyons of the <a href="http://www.blm.gov/az/st/en/prog/blm_special_areas/wildareas/paria_vermilion.html" target="_blank">Paria Canyon/Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness</a> on the Arizona/Utah border, may just be the weirdest and most wonderful result of what ancient, uplifted red rock and eons of wind and water can create. Rain and flash floods began sculpting the Wave, exposing different grain layers of Jurassic-era sandstone in the canyon over millennia. Then wind finished the job, smoothing out a unique piece of natural art: a canyon that captures the undulating movement of water and wind over the rock. It’s also an accomplishment to get here—the easiest hike via Wire Pass Wash rambles through unforgiving sandstone desert, and there is no maintained trail to the Wave itself, so finding it requires GPS skills.</p> <p><b>Don’t: </b>Hike to the Wave without a <a href="http://www.blm.gov/az/st/en/arolrsmain/paria/coyote_buttes/permits.html" target="_blank">permit</a>. Part of the beauty of the place is that the crowds are limited thanks to a 20-person-a-day limit in the Coyote Buttes North Area.</p>

The Wave, Paria Canyon, Arizona-Utah

Length: 12 miles (13.3 kilometers) out and back

Wow Factor: Find the most unique and lovely feature carved into red sandstone desert canyons.

Do It: The sandstone formations and erosion-carved slot canyons of the Colorado Plateau are so stunning and varied, it’s hard to choose just one as the most photogenic. But the Wave, deep within the canyons of the Paria Canyon/Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness on the Arizona/Utah border, may just be the weirdest and most wonderful result of what ancient, uplifted red rock and eons of wind and water can create. Rain and flash floods began sculpting the Wave, exposing different grain layers of Jurassic-era sandstone in the canyon over millennia. Then wind finished the job, smoothing out a unique piece of natural art: a canyon that captures the undulating movement of water and wind over the rock. It’s also an accomplishment to get here—the easiest hike via Wire Pass Wash rambles through unforgiving sandstone desert, and there is no maintained trail to the Wave itself, so finding it requires GPS skills.

Don’t: Hike to the Wave without a permit. Part of the beauty of the place is that the crowds are limited thanks to a 20-person-a-day limit in the Coyote Buttes North Area.

Photograph by Jeff Diener, Aurora Photos

10 Hikes to See Extreme Nature

Sure, the journey is the destination for some, but these hikes will take you to places where you can see the planet in all its wild glory. Volcanic craters, high exposure, weird formations—if you like your environment extreme, these walks are certain to get your blood pumping. If you’re a tad timid, don’t worry. These 10 hikes won’t push you to your physical limit, but they will nudge you beyond your comfort zone. They all include spectacular views of unique, wild landscapes that you can soak up along the way. —Doug Schnitzspahn

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