These 7 Otherworldly Places Have Sand & Rocks That Look Like Actual Waves

Surf's up! Well, not exactly. Rock and sand formations that are shaped like waves are a wonder on this Earth, but they surprisingly don't have much to do with the ocean. In fact, they'll require your best hiking boots and a couple of water bottles opposed to those flip flops and bikinis. You'll probably want to leave the beach bag behind, and swap out the sea for some days in the desert. For those of you who are trying to be more adventurous, it's truly a dream come true. Truth is, as much as you love the beach, these otherworldly places with sand and rocks that look like waves are much better additions to your bucket list. Seriously, though — leave your board behind.

Essentially, sand waves are solidified ripples in rock that have formed over time. Thanks to the wind and water, the sand was moved and eventually created new surfaces that are nothing short of stunning. According to, they're typically red, pink, yellow, or white, and can be found most commonly in places like Arizona and Utah. From the second you start hiking, you'll be in awe over the swirls below your feet and how the natural world was able to create something so unique and full of beauty.

Now, if you haven't already been convinced that some sand waves are a must for your bucket list, think about the social media opportunities. Among the cliffs and canyons, you'll be able to capture some unreal shots and channel your adventurous side. These seven spots are exactly where you'll want to be.

The Wave In Arizona
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Probably the most popular and common spot to see sand waves is The Wave in Coyote Buttes North. According to, it's settled right in the middle of Paria Canyon and the Vermillion Cliffs National Monument, and quite literally looks like a bunch of waves that are just about ready to crash into the shore.

The downside of this natural wonder is, because of its popularity, you have to enter a lottery in order to gain access to it. You can show up in-person at the Visitor Center in Kanab, UT to enter the lottery, and keep your fingers crossed. Pack a good photography camera, because if you get lucky, you'll want to try and do the sight some justice.

White Pocket In Arizona
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Just a bit east of Coyote Buttes South is a spot called White Pocket. These mounds of red, orange, and white rock are nestled into the Vermillion Cliffs National Monument, and are a must-see if you're in the area. Unlike The Wave, you won't need a permit. However, you will need to take a tour with the right mode of transportation to get there.

Hike around them during sunset or sunrise for that perfect glow, or just take an afternoon wandering around the swirls on the surface. There seriously may not be any experience quite as beautiful as this one on your bucket list.

Paw Hole In Arizona
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Put yourself in Paw Hole if you're hoping to find some sand waves. This spot is underrated compared to The Wave, but offers so much beauty under the hot beating sun. According to, this is an easy hike and is good for adventurers of all skill levels. So, if you're not quite the adventurous girl in your crew, this may be the ideal place with sand waves to add to your bucket list.

Antelope Canyon In Arizona
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Have you heard about Antelope Canyon in Page, AZ? In my personal opinion, this is probably one of the most vibrant places to visit on this Earth. Next to those bright lavender fields in France, and the pastel houses along the cliffs of Cinque Terre, this slot canyon is everything you're looking for when it comes to formations that look like waves.

It can only be reached through a guided tour, because it is a special and sacred land. It's worth every second of the walk once you reach this sort of photographer's paradise. Look up and see the sunshine hitting the rocks and illuminate their surfaces with bright purple and yellow tones. Sounds dreamy, huh?

Waterholes Canyon Trail In Arizona
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Also located in Page, AZ, is Waterholes Canyon Trail. You need a Navajo Nation permit in order to hike it, but it'll be worth it when you run into all those sand waves.

According to, the hike is about 2.8 miles long and features a river along the way. You'll be able to bask in the beauty of the desert and a rather lovely, remote view. There's truly nothing that quite compares to exploring such natural wonders, because it's always a one-of-a-kind experience. I mean, you wouldn't be able to find these sand waves in your backyard — am I right?

Wire Pass Trailhead In Utah
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During your adventure, you'll probably want to hike through the Wire Pass Trailhead in Utah. It's narrow, and you'll have tall sandstone walls on either side of you, but the sun will illuminate the rock just right to make it quite the spot for pictures, too. In some ways, it reminds me of that scene from Finding Nemo, where Dory is supposed to go through the trench. There really is a lot of beauty that you won't want to miss.

According to, this trail is also the most direct route to Buckskin Gulch. So, if you're looking for a good day hike featuring lots of sand waves, this one is for you.

Buckskin Gulch In Utah
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At the end of Wire Pass Trailhead is Buckskin Gulch. According to The Bureau of Land Management (BLM), this is one of longest uninterrupted slot canyons on the planet, so you already know it has to be on your bucket list. Like Antelope Canyon, the walls and sand waves will be illuminated by the sunlight, and you'll want to take some time to admire all of the sandstone.

When you're all done, you'll probably want to explore the rest of the Vermillion Cliffs National Monument, or even hop over to one of the other national parks in Utah, like Zion National Park or Bryce Canyon National Park for even more natural beauty. There won't be any sand waves per say, but they'll still be great additions to your bucket list. (Which, by the way, is that longer, yet? I sure hope so!)