White Pocket, Vermilion Cliffs National Monument (with Map & Photos)

On the West Coast of the United States, not everything is large national parks like the Grand Canyon or Arches National Park, crowded with hikers and parking lots full of motorhomes. There are also places like White Pocket, where the only sound is that of the shutter of your reflex camera, with landscapes that hypnotize you and the color of its rocks make you feel on another planet.

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

These kinds of places are what we have been looking for in our last road trip through the Great Circle of the American West. Landscapes that the locals and the indigenous population usually enjoy. And we have been surprised by the amount of incredible places that we have found just by moving away from the arteries that link the great national parks prepared for international tourism.

As is normal, these places do not have good access or fast food in the parking lot. And sometimes, you have to drive more than 50 kilometers on dirt roads. But do not panic, the United States has a very extensive network of unpaved roads, numbered, cared for and recognized by Google Maps. You just have to have the right vehicle to avoid suffering on the journeys.

White Pocket is located in Vermilion Cliffs National Monument, a relatively young area, established as a national monument only since 2000 by President Bill Clinton, to protect a totally unique region in the world. It is located between the towns of Page and Kanab, right on the line that separates the states of Utah and Arizona.

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

To get to White Pocket, a 4 × 4 vehicle is essential, since there are very sandy sections of the road and where the sand disappears, rock ridges emerge where a certain height in the vehicle is needed to overcome them without problems.

If you get stuck in the sand on the roads to get to White Pocket, you will have a problem and fat. Not because a rescue at Vermilion Cliffs costs almost $ 1,500, but because there is no coverage to call on the phone and you will have to wait for someone to pass by to help you out.

Now, having said that, if we have been able to get to White Pocket, without experience with a 4 × 4 vehicle and much less in this type of "off road" driving, surely you can too.

The start of House Rock Valley Road is 39 miles from Kanab or 33 miles from Glen Canyon Dam from Page. Between the posts that mark milestones 25 and 26.

Reset your car's mileage counter the moment you take the dirt track called House Rock Valley Road and continue on this dirt road for 20.2 miles and turn left onto the 1017 / Pine Tree Road track at direction to Corral Valley.

Continue 6.2 miles avoiding taking any secondary road and turn left when you reach a small ranch, taking track 1087, there the mile counter should read 26.5.

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

Passing this ranch is where the stretches of deep sand begin and where you will have to open and close fences or fences. Always try to leave them as they were.

From the ranch, follow 3.9 miles and you will find a fork called Big Sink Junction, where you must keep left to avoid losing the 1086 road. At that point your marker will indicate 30.4 miles. The parking lot is when you have traveled a total of 36 miles since you left US-89.

For those who do not want to count miles, they can use the following GPS coordinates: 36 ° 53'03 »N, 111 ° 55'13» W. We did not do one thing or the other, we put White Pocket in the mobile browser and it guided us perfectly without being aware of the numbering of the roads or the miles.

Any. Yes yes, you read that right. White Pocket is free. Within Vermilion Cliffs National Monument there are protected areas that can only be accessed by permit, such as the Coyote Buttes region, where the famous Petrified Wave, The Wave, is located. Or the longest slot cannon in the world, the Buckskin Gulch. But White Pocket is still free to this day for anyone who wants to venture there, without the need for permits or paying admission.

White Pocket is located on a plateau of swirling sedimentary rock that does not exceed a square kilometer, where it is very easy to find the most remarkable places. We did not carry the map or the coordinates of the most beautiful spots in White Pocket and we spent less than two hours exploring the entire area.

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

But due to its photogenic characteristics, we could have spent as much time as we wanted there. The remoteness, the silence and the freedom to spend the night in White Pocket freely without the need for permits, it is perfect for photography lovers.

The best time to visit White Pocket is at sunset, when the sun stops burning the white rock strata and the inclination of the rays begins to cast shadows on each and every rough terrain to be appreciated much better in each photo.

We arrived at five in the afternoon and there were only a couple of people nostalgic for photography beginning to enjoy the best lighting of the whole day with cameras that could well exceed a century of life.

In White Pocket there are three layers with very marked colors, white, red and yellow. The white color is the one that covers most of the terrain. There are areas where blemishes have drawn stretch marks that look like the skin of a prehistoric animal. And in others, there are mounds that look like brains.

When the white layer covered the yellow, it reminded me of a frothy cold beer. And when the red rock swirls mixed with the white, it looked like the batter of a large cake. We had to take two breaths to get out of our amazement.

White Pocket Map