Skip to Content

Complete Guide to White Pocket Arizona in Vermilion Cliffs National Monument

Sharing is caring!

White Pocket Arizona is one of the best things to do in Vermilion Cliffs National Monument. This otherworldly landscape has features that look similar to the Wave hike in Utah and is known for the brain rocks in Arizona.

White Pocket is located on the border between Utah and Arizona but just over the line on the Arizona side. It is difficult to reach but worth the drive or a tour if needed.

Here is everything you need to know to visit White Pocket Arizona.

For more unique landscapes near White Pocket, Arizona, don’t miss out on visiting the Great Chamber in Kanab, the Bentonite Hills near Hanksville, or the Moab Potash Ponds.

***Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. We earn a small commission at no extra charge to you when you purchase or book through these links.

White Pocket Arizona drone photography
brain rocks Arizona at White Pocket
White Pocket Arizona wave formation

Where is White Pocket Arizona?

White Pocket is located in Vermilion Cliffs National Monument on the state border between Arizona and Utah. It is located in Northern Arizona just south of the Utah border.

White Pocket is often thought to be in Utah, but White Pocket Utah is actually White Pocket Arizona. It is further south and east of the more famous North Coyote Buttes (the Wave) and South Coyote Buttes hikes.

Because it is across state lines, keep in mind that there is a time difference for half of the year. Arizona does not observe Daylight Savings Time, so be aware of the time in Arizona if you are basing out of Kanab.

This becomes especially important if you are planning to be at White Pocket for either sunrise or sunset. You will need to factor in the time difference if Daylight Savings Time is in effect.

Located in a remote part of the park, it is not easy to get here. Expect a couple of hours of bouncing on dirt roads and driving through soft sand before an easy hike to reach the actual area.

The exact location on Google Maps can be found here. However, we did not find following Google Maps to be helpful as many of the routes it sent us included roads with signs saying they do not go to White Pocket. I’ve included driving directions below.

The GPS coordinates for White Pocket are (36.955011, -111.893296).

White Pocket Arizona
White Pocket Vermilion Cliffs National Monument
White Pocket Vermilion Cliffs National Monument

How to Visit White Pocket Arizona

You have a few options for visiting White Pocket in Arizona, but none of them are easy or fast. Because White Pocket is a more off-the-beaten-path Arizona destination, it is not easy to access.

Your first option is to drive, but you will need to factor in the type of vehicle you have and your driving skills. We had little to no cell phone service with T-Mobile and Verizon once we got out of Kanab.

If you get stuck on the BLM roads, you may be there a while before someone finds you. Or you may have to walk a while to find service. Plan ahead for worse case scenarios.

BLM warns that people get stuck or stranded on the way to White Pocket every year. If you get lost (easy to do if you are not paying attention) or break down or get stuck, it is your responsibility to handle the situation.

Another option is to take a White Pocket tour with one of the groups that offer them. This is your best option if you do not feel comfortable making the drive or if you do not have the correct vehicle.

Whether you plan to drive to White Pocket or to take a tour of White Pocket, here is what you will need to know:

White Pocket Vermilion Cliffs National Monument Arizona
White Pocket Vermilion Cliffs National Monument Arizona
White Pocket Vermilion Cliffs National Monument Arizona
couple photography at White Pocket Arizona

What Vehicle Do You Need to Get to White Pocket?

To get to White Pocket, you will need a high-clearance 4×4 vehicle. You do not want to do this in an All-Wheel Drive (AWD) vehicle, and there are multiple signs stating that AWD vehicles are not allowed on the way there.

We drove our Jeep Wrangler out to Kanab to do some off-roading, so we used it to get to White Pocket. It does have a small lift (not needed for this trail) and off-road tires (definitely helped).

We stopped at a ranger station the day before we went to ask about the conditions of the road as well as if our vehicle would be okay for the drive. The ranger we spoke to assured us the Jeep would be fine. He had been out there two days before, and the roads were dry.

If the roads are wet, it becomes impossible to reach White Pocket. Keep an eye on the weather when you plan your trip as it can change quickly. Watch the weather a few days before your trip as well to make sure the roads will be dry.

sunset at White Pocket Arizona

A good portion of the drive is on hard-packed dirt and sand which is easy to drive on even in a smaller two-wheel drive vehicle. However, the last part of the drive is all on soft sand. In some areas, it is also deep sand.

The last section before you arrive at White Pocket is the worst section. Do not try to stop in that area and do not park in that area.

The ranger let us know they do enforce no parking or stopping near that last deep patch of sand because it blocks the only road. You must make it through that and all the way to the parking area.

There are also some sharp rocks on the way. Drive slowly enough that you can avoid them and make sure to have a spare tire just in case.

We ended up loving White Pocket so much that we took two road trips out there during our trip (and will be going again in a couple of weeks). We did not have any issues getting through that spot either time but did try to keep a steady speed through it.

White Pocket Arizona geology
man at white pocket arizona usa
White Pocket Arizona geology
White Pocket Arizona geology
sunset at white pocket arizona usa

White Pocket Tour Options

If you do not have a four-wheel drive high clearance vehicle to get to White Pocket, take a tour. If you do not feel comfortable driving to White Pocket in the soft, deep sand, take a tour.

There is little to no cell phone reception in White Pocket, so you may be waiting a while if you get stuck or break down out there. We had both T-Mobile and Verizon and only found patches where we had service once we got off the paved road.

Thankfully there are a few tour options if you plan to visit White Pocket.

The one we considered before finding out our Jeep could handle it was through Dreamland Safari Tours. They offer a 9-hour tour to White Pocket Arizona for $199 per person.

Their tours leave at 8 a.m. or 10 a.m., but there is also a White Pocket overnight tour option for night photography. Depending on the time of year, they can also sometimes do sunset tours.

We did not end up using Dreamland Safari only because we found out we could get there on our own. If we did not have the right vehicle or the confidence to make the drive, they are who we would use and are who we recommend.

white pocket arizona drone photography
white pocket arizona drone photography
white pocket utah arizona state line
white pocket utah arizona state line
white pocket utah arizona state line

How to Get to White Pocket in Vermilion Cliffs National Monument – Driving Directions

If you decide to drive to White Pocket, you can access it from both the Utah and Arizona side. The best places to access White Pocket from are Kanab, Utah, and Page, Arizona.

We chose to stay in Kanab and to use it as our base to explore much of Southern Utah. The drive from Kanab to White Pocket takes about 2 hours to 2.5 hours. Going from Page to White Pocket takes about 2.5 hours or a little more.

Either way, the last hour and a half of the White Pocket drive will be on dirt roads or soft sand roads. House Rock Valley Road has some deep ruts and is jarring but an easy drive. The BLM roads are more soft sand and slower speeds but not as much bouncing.

Keep in mind that driving time will vary. You are unlikely to deal with traffic, but your comfort level driving on the dirt and sand roads will impact your drive time.

Make sure to fill up your gas tank before you drive to White Pocket. There are no gas stations once you get onto House Rock Valley Road, and you do not want to run out of gas out there.

brain rocks arizona from above
Brain Rocks Arizona
white pocket arizona geology
women at white pocket arizona
white pocket vermillion cliffs

How to Get to White Pocket from Kanab Utah

To get to White Pocket from Kanab, Utah, take Highway 89 east for 38 miles to House Rock Valley Road (BLM 1065). Once you are on House Rock Valley Road, continue 23.5 miles. You will pass the trailheads for Buckskin Gulch, Wire Pass and The Wave on the way.

If you need to stop for a bathroom, stop at the Wire Pass parking area. From here to White Pass, you are just bouncing on dirt roads with no more bathrooms available.

While you are on House Rock Valley Road, you cross from Utah into Arizona. If you see the sign, you are still going the right way.

Travel 23.5 miles on House Rock Valley Road, and then turn left onto BLM 1017. Google Maps tried to have us turn several spots before this, but we followed the official directions. Many of the roads Google Maps said to turn on had signs that said, “Not the route to White Pocket.”

Once you get to BLM 1017, these roads will show up on the map but without names. There are little signs on the side of the road that let you know which road it is. Use these signs to follow the rest of the route.

Take BLM 1017 east for 6.2 miles. When you get to BLM 1087, go northeast. This will eventually split into BLM 1086. Stay left to get to the White Pocket Trailhead.

As you cross through the gates on the road, make sure to close them back behind you if they are closed when you get to them. If they have been left open and have a sign to close them, please close them.

state line on the White Pocket Arizona drive on house rock valley road
Vermilion Cliffs National Monument sign on house rock valley road
sign saying not the route to white pocket
sign stating that the roads to white pocket arizona are four wheel drive only

Quick White Pocket Driving Directions from Kanab to Screenshot:

  • Highway 89 east for 38 miles
  • House Rock Valley Road for 23.5 miles south
  • East on BLM 1017 for 6.2 miles
  • Northeast on BLM 1087.
  • Follow split at BLM 1086 to the left
  • Arrive at White Pocket Trailhead
white pocket arizona usa
sunset at white pocket arizona on the brain rocks
golden hour at white pocket

How to Get to White Pocket from Page Arizona

To get to White Pocket from Page, Arizona, take Highway 89A west for 36 miles. You will meet up with House Rock Valley Road 13.5 miles east of Jacob Lake, Arizona.

After turning onto House Rock Valley Road, head north for 9.3 miles until you get to BLM 1017 and go east.

Because we came from Kanab for both of our road trips to White Pocket and not from Page, I am not sure if Google Maps takes you the correct route or not this way. Either way, we chose to follow the official directions and not Google Maps. Google Maps was not accurate coming from Kanab.

Once you get to BLM 1017, these roads will show up on the map but without names. There are little signs on the side of the road that let you know which road it is. Use these signs to follow the rest of the route.

Take BLM 1017 east for 6.2 miles. When you get to BLM 1087, go northeast. This will eventually split into BLM 1086. Stay left to get to the White Pocket Trailhead.

As you cross through the gates on the road, make sure to close them back behind you if they are closed when you get to them. If they have been left open and have a sign to close them, please close them.

white pocket arizona
white pocket arizona geology
white pocket vermilion cliffs national monument arizona

Quick White Pocket Driving Directions from Page to Screenshot:

  • Highway 89A west for 36 miles
  • House Rock Valley Road for 9.3 miles north
  • East on BLM 1017 for 6.2 miles
  • Northeast on BLM 1087.
  • Follow split at BLM 1086 to the left
  • Arrive at White Pocket Trailhead
sunset over white pocket arizona usa
the layers of color in the rocks at white pocket
otherworldly landscapes in Arizona at White Pocket

Visiting White Pocket Arizona

When visiting White Pocket, one of the biggest reminders I can give is to remember to leave no trace. Anything you take in with you needs to leave with you.

There are no trash cans and no bathrooms at White Pocket. The closest bathroom coming from Kanab was at the Wire Pass trailhead. Take your own toilet paper even for this bathroom as it was out one of the times we parked there to hike.

White Pocket is amazing, but watch your footing. The rocks are uneven and there are lots of places to trip easily. Protect the area, but also protect yourself as you do not want to roll an ankle or worse out there.

When you visit White Pocket, plan on spending at least three to four hours exploring the area. We only had about two hours the first time we went, so we ended up going back another day for a few more hours.

Really we could have stayed even longer. On our next trip in a few weeks, we plan to spend even more time exploring.

woman at white pocket arizona
brain rocks arizona
otherworldly landscapes in utah and arizona at the state line
sunset at white pocket arizona
mars landscape in arizona at white pocket

Best Time to Visit White Pocket Arizona – Season + Time of Day

If you plan to visit White Pocket on your own, factor in the drive time for your arrival and departure times. We left both times after dark and drove back to Kanab in the pitch black. It was not easy, but it was worth the sunset views.

If you want to arrive for sunrise or stay for sunset but do not feel safe driving in the dark (or worse, getting stuck in the dark), plan to camp on the way. We brought out gear to camp if needed but already had a hotel in Kanab and made it back both times without a problem.

Sunset was by far my favorite time of day to be at White Pocket. The lighting is stunning and the colors change as the sun drops in the sky. We did not do sunrise, but I assume it would be the same.

If you are worried about driving in the dark, plan in enough time to get back to Highway 89 or to House Rock Valley Road before dark. White Pocket is amazing any time of day, so it will still be worth the visit.

couple on the arizona brain rocks
white pocket arizona geology

As far as the seasons go, if you are taking a tour, you are more likely to convince them to do a sunset tour in the winter, late fall, or early spring. Because the sunset is earlier and days are shorter, it makes it easier to get back before it is too late.

We visited White Pocket in May, and it was perfect. The weather was not too hot earlier in the day but not too cold for being out after dark.

If you visit in the winter, keep in mind the shorter days when planning your drive time and time at White Pocket. If you visit in the summer, you have longer days but it also gets very warm. There is no coverage, so you will be in the direct sunlight the whole time.

With the 2.5-ish hour drive each way and spending 3 4 hours exploring, you have an 8 or 9 hour day easily.

white pocket drone photography
white pocket arizona photography
white pocket arizona drone photography
white pocket arizona photography
woman on the arizona brain rocks at white pocket
places like the wave arizona

Do You Need a Permit for White Pocket?

Unlike The Wave and several other hikes in the area, you do not need a permit for White Pocket. There is no fee to visit White Pocket either. The difficulty of getting to White Pocket keeps it limited for now.

While White Pocket is free to visit, please do your part to protect the land and visit responsibly. With more people visiting the area each year, it may eventually become a permitted area like the Wave to protect it.

the wave alternative arizona
white pocket arizona
white pocket vermilion cliffs arizona

Hiking White Pocket Arizona

There are no trails at White Pocket other than the short trail leading from the parking area to the first formations. This part of the trail is soft sand.

After you get to the formations, you’ll find you want good hiking shoes or shoes with a good grip. If you plan to climb up some of the rocks, the surfaces can be slippery even when dry.

You can explore as much of the area as you want. We stayed mostly to the left side of the area the first time we went and then explored more of the middle on our second visit.

Because there are no trails, you are free to roam around and see what you can find. Take in the variety of rock formations and colors in the rocks as you explore.

We hiked about a mile on our first visit and about two miles on our second visit. You can easily hike much more than this depending on where you go. However, you can also keep the hike short and still see many of the best photo spots in White Pocket.

white pocket arizona is one of the places like the wave arizona
woman at sunset at white pocket arizona
white pocket arizona is one of the places like the wave arizona
deep orange rocks at white pocket arizona
woman overlooking the white pocket geology

Best White Pocket Photography Spots – Places Like the Wave Arizona

White Pocket has amazing photography spots throughout the area. Get creative and consider various angles. As you climb around, be safe and aware of your own limits.

The first day we visited, there were extreme winds. Climbing up on top of some of the rocks, we struggled to stay on our feet with the wind gusts. On our second visit, it was much calmer and easier to navigate climbing.

One of my favorite photo spots is an area that looks like a small pool in the middle of a cloud-like rock formation. Some people pointed out it looks like cauliflower but they are more often known as the brain rocks. Arizona has some incredible landscapes, but these Arizona brain rocks are one of my favorites..

This area is located here on the map. I found it was easiest to look at the map when I found service and the climb to it.

woman in brain rocks arizona at white pocket
couple in white pocket arizona brain rocks

If you do not have service, look for the highest point on the white rocks at the left of White Pocket (facing it from the parking area). The little pool is just to the right of the highest point (east of it).

Another favorite spot is an area with the white rocks in the background but swirls of red and orange and white rock leading up to it.

This area is one of the more famous photo spots because of its unique colors and formations. You can find it on the map here.

The spot I marked on the map is where you stand to take the photo. If you want to be in the photo, you need to follow the rocks on the left side. It is steeper than it looks at the end to climb up on top of the rock, so hiking shoes were a big help here.

If you are shorter, the last climb at the end will be more difficult. My husband is 5’10” and was able to climb up and down from it much easier than I was able to at 5’6″.

woman standing on one of the places like the wave arizona at white pocket
couple standing on wave formation at white pocket, the wave alternative arizona
Places like the Wave Arizona
man standing on one of the places like the wave arizona at white pocket
couple standing on one of the places like the wave arizona at white pocket

Two other areas I really liked for photos are behind the previous two spots. There are lots of spots near the pool with the white rocks that make for great photo spots.

The other area is to the east of the Wave-like feature. This area is covered in rocks streaked in lines of color just like the more famous Wave hike in Coyote Buttes North.

I always travel with my camera, my phone, and our drone. We also bring a GoPro with us, so we have lots of options. I mostly used my 24-70mm lens at White Pocket, but I did break out my 70-300mm lens some as well.

waves in the rocks at white pocket arizona usa
white pocket vermilion cliffs national monument arizona
reds, oranges, and pinks in the rocks at white pocket arizona usa
sunset at white pocket arizona

Can You Fly a Drone at White Pocket?

The short answer is yes. The longer answer is depending on where you are. Drones are allowed but NOT over protected areas. White Pocket has protected Wilderness Areas around it, and you cannot take off, land, or fly a drone over those areas at all.

You can use this map to see the Wilderness Areas or stop and talk to the rangers to get a map and see where you can fly.

We called to verify we could fly the drone there and that the formations are outside of the Wilderness Area. After double-checking, the rangers confirmed that drones are allowed above White Pocket.

However, this could change at any time. Please fly responsibly and know where you can fly so that they do not need to put in more rules or ban drones from the area.

white pocket arizona photography
white pocket arizona photography

If there are other people around, check with them or wait until they leave to fly in that area. On our first visit, no one else was around. We were able to fly without bothering anyone.

On our second visit, there were six or eight other people hiking in the area. Only four of them were nearby, set up in a spot to watch the sunset. We talked to them for a while and then asked if they minded if we flew the drone. They were also there to get photos, so they did not mind at all.

Avoid flying above other hikers, especially at low altitudes. Keep your drone where you can see it at all times. Make sure to take a few batteries, but limit your flying time if others are nearby so they can enjoy the peace and quiet.

woman sitting on brain rocks at white pocket arizona
white pocket arizona photography
white pocket arizona photography
white pocket arizona photography

What to Take to White Pocket

When it comes to packing for White Pocket, what you take will depend on how long you plan to stay. Because we just did a day trip to White Pocket, we did not need to take as much.

However, if you are planning to camp at White Pocket, you’ll need to add on camping supplies. We did take our blow-up mattress for the back of the Jeep in case we ended up staying the night, enough food to get through, and a change of clothes.

Whether you camp or not, take some toilet paper with you. You need to pack out your waste or bury it at least 6″ down and away from any campsites.

For a White Pocket day trip, make sure to take plenty of water. There are no facilities in the area, so you will need to have enough water to get you through the trip and the hike. We both had large 32 oz bottles of water, and we had an ice chest in the Jeep full of water as well.

We were there when the weather was mild in May, but you will want lots of water if you visit in the summer. You will be in the direct sunlight, and Arizona gets hot in the summer in the middle of the day especially.

man at a one of the places like the wave in arizona
stanley water bottle at white pocket arizona
brain rocks arizona at white pocket

Because this ends up being an all-day trip, take some snacks or a meal as well. With the drive time and time spent hiking, you will get hungry. We had peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, cheese sticks, bananas, and some bars to get us through the day.

For shoes, we found that our hiking boots and shoes were perfect. The only part that is not rock directly in this area is the first 100 yards or so of soft sand. As long as you have good grips, hiking sandals would be fine as well.

If you go in the summer especially, but really anytime, take sunscreen and sunglasses. The white rocks can get bright in the sunlight, and there is no shade to hide from the sun. Wear long sleeves and long pants or protect your arms and legs with sunscreen.

You may want a hat to help protect your head from the sun as well. We just had our sunglasses and sunscreen for our faces, but we were not out in the middle of the day or in the heat of the day either.

If you visit early in the morning or stay for sunset, take layers. It cooled off quickly once the sun set. I was thankful for my jacket both nights for the walk back to the Jeep.

woman at a wave alternative in arizona called white pocket
white pocket arizona usa
white pocket arizona landscape
white pocket arizona photography

White Pocket Arizona Camping Tips

Camping is available near White Pocket. We saw a few groups camping in the parking area at the trail head. When we spoke to the ranger, they asked for us not to camp at the trailhead if we stayed overnight.

This is because it blocks up the area. A couple of people were camping right near the entrance to the trail when we went both times. They did not block the entrance, but it meant there were fewer parking spots near it.

If you park further away in the parking area, you might be okay. There were a couple of groups also camping at the far end of the lot on our second visit. They were out of the way of the entrance completely.

If you want to make sure though, camp in one of the camping spots on the BLM roads on the way out to White Pocket. There are multiple spots along the way where we saw people set up to camp and additional open spots as well.

These spots are all first-come-first-serve, and they will fill up quickly in the busier months.

Make sure to camp in existing campsites and not to make your own spot to preserve the land. Do not damage trees or collect firewood in the area either. Pack out all of your trash and bury waste at least 6″ deep and well away from the campsite or pack it out as well.

white pocket arizona hike
white pocket arizona hiking
white pocket arizona hike

Where to Stay Near White Pocket

For us, we chose to stay in Kanab, Utah, to explore the area. We stayed at the Hampton Inn in Kanab and found it to be perfect.

The room was large and comfortable. The wifi was fast enough for me to get my work done. Best of all, it was perfectly located to get to restaurants and local attractions and hikes.

Find current prices and availability on Agoda here and on Booking here.

If you are looking for other options in Kanab, here are currently available hotels in Kanab on Agoda and on Booking. If you are looking for options in Page, Arizona, here are currently available hotels in Page on Agoda and on Booking.

sunset at white pocket arizona
places like the wave arizona
places like the wave arizona
white pocket is one of the places like the wave arizona

Other Things to Do Near White Pocket & Vermilion Cliffs National Monument

If you will be staying in Kanab, there are lots of amazing hikes and outdoor activities in the area. We enjoyed the Wire Pass and Buckskin Gulch hike, and you can hike The Wave if you can get a permit.

Another great off-the-beaten-path hike in Kanab is the Great Chamber at Cutler Point. This is another fun off-road adventure to a massive cave. The arch of the cave opening perfectly frames the massive sand dune inside making it great for photography.

Kanab is located near both Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon National Park, and both are great stops on a Southern Utah road trip. Arches, Canyonlands, and Capitol Reef are a little further away, but Kanab is a great stop on Utah National Parks road trips too.

If you are staying in Page, don’t miss Horseshoe Bend or Antelope Canyon. Lake Powell is an amazing lake to explore from the water or for the views from the land around it.

woman at white pocket vermilion cliffs arizona
white pocket arizona is one of the places like the wave arizona
woman at white pocket arizona usa

Why You Need to Visit White Pocket at Vermilion Cliffs Arizona

As a photographer, this area is a photographer’s dream. As an outdoor lover and hiker, it’s a unique spot unlike any other I’ve found. My husband and I agreed that White Pocket is one of our favorite places we’ve ever been.

If you are up for an adventure, don’t miss a trip out to White Pocket Arizona while visiting either Kanab or Page.

For more spots to check out in the area, don’t miss:

Like this post? Pin it for later and share it with others!

how to visit white pocket arizona

Sharing is caring!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.