White Pocket, located in Northern AZ in the area of Vermillion Cliffs National Monument, is a super unique spot that literally looks like you’ve stepped onto another planet. If you’re looking for something awesome to do in the Northern Arizona/Southern Utah area, or searching for an alternative to The Wave hike if you didn’t win the permit lottery, White Pocket is it! This lesser-known spot is beautiful, and you’ll likely have the place to yourself. Keep reading for the deets:
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White Pocket, AZ Trip Overview:
- PTO/Vacation Days Needed: 0-1
- Nights: 1-2
- Cost: $-$$
- Permit Required: No
- Hike Distance: about 2 miles
How to Get to White Pocket, AZ
The closest town to White Pocket is Kanab, UT, which is also the town that hosts the walk-in Wave lottery. The closest major airport to Kanab is Las Vegas. You’ll then need to rent a car and drive about 3 hours to Kanab, UT.
To get to White Pocket from Kanab, you’ll need a vehicle with 4WD. The drive takes about 2 hours: 30 minutes on a paved road, and 1.5 hours on a bumpy dirt road with no cell service. You’ll drive past Wirepass Trailhead (where you hike to The Wave) and keep going to this super off-the-grid location. Don’t let the long journey deter you, though – this spot is worth it! AND you’ll likely be the one of the only people there.
Where to Stay in Kanab, UT
I’ve visited Kanab twice now, and both times opted for a budget hotel, since I wouldn’t be spending much time in the room anyways. I’ve stayed at both the Quality Inn Kanab and Travelodge Kanab. Both ended up being great options that are centrally-located, have free breakfast, and comfy beds!
What to Expect at White Pocket, AZ
Once you arrive, it will feel like you’ve landed on another planet. The expansive areas of grey “brain rocks” contrasted with the orange and white swirl sandstone formations are truly an amazing sight
There is no real trail here, but rather you walk about 2 miles around the crazy-cool rock formations and explore the area. Plan to spend about 2-3 hours walking around here and taking pictures!
Why I Recommend Going to White Pocket, AZ with a Guide
White Pocket is in a super remote area. I highly recommend going with a guide, not only because they can point out interesting things to see while you’re exploring the area, but also because they will get you there safely and efficiently. You definitely need 4WD to get to White Pocket, and there is no cell service on the bumpy dirt road there. To avoid the stress of navigating there on your own, going on a White Pocket guided tour is TOTALLY worth it!
We went with Dreamland Safari Tours, and it was a great experience. Our guide picked us up around 10:00am and we began our off-roading journey through Vermillion Cliffs area to White Pocket. Once we arrived, they had an amazing sandwich bar laid out for us with fresh-cut veggies, meat, cheese, avocado and condiments. We then got to enjoy lunch with a view!
Our guide, Steve, then walked us around the area, telling us interesting facts and pointing out awesome things we wouldn’t have noticed otherwise. Like these “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle” rocks pictured below. We spent about 3 hours walking around the area and soaking in the amazing, unique views.
Once we made our way back to the car, our guide also took us on a short 0.5 mile hike detour to see ancient Petroglyphs carved into one of the rock faces nearby!
As of now, you do not need a permit to get to White Pocket. However, rumor has it that it may change it to a permit system in the future. So I recommend getting over there to check it out ASAP!
If you are in the area to try to go to The Wave and aren’t able to get a permit, White Pocket is definitely a great alternative as there are a few sections with similar orange and white sandstone formations. However even if you already have permits to The Wave, I still recommend taking an extra day to check out this amazing spot. Spending a weekend or more in the area? Check out my Southwest road trip itinerary for an adventure-filled trip!
What to Pack for White Pocket
- Nano Puff Jacket (packs up small and keeps you warm when it gets chilly at night!)
- The COLDEST Water Bottle (seriously – it stays colder than Hydroflask!)
- Hiking Boots (these are my fave)
- REI Soft Cooler (I have this and love it!)
- Cliff Bar Energy Chews (great to give you a boost of energy on hikes!)
- Sony A6000 (I’m just starting to learn photography, but this is the camera I’ve been using! I love it)
- Day Pack
- SmartWool Hiking Socks
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