White Pocket – The Wave Alternative

White Pocket – The Wave Alternative

United States
United States

When Is the Best Time

The White Pocket is as fascinating and fragile as the Wave but still accessible without a permit and for free. It becomes a little popular nowadays, but due to the remote location and the difficulties to get there still not overrun. It has a similar appearance, but the Navajo sandstone is mainly white and grey. 

Deep orange red colours swirled with white
Jaw dropping landscape at least like the Wave.

The White Pocket and Coyote Butts are part of the exceptional Vermillion Cliffs National Monument and Wilderness. It is an otherworldly place. The Wave in Coyote Buttes North is just 5 miles away on the Paria Plateau.

The White Pocket stone layers completely twisted
The White Pocket a result of soft-sediment deformation.

The plateau ranges from 3,100 to 7,100 feet (945 - 2.164 m) above sea level. The White Pocket is accessible throughout the year, but the track is impassible after heavy rain because of the red clay. 

Weather Page

The White Pocket Tree

The Paria Plateau experiences a high desert climate and humidity below 40%. It doesn’t rain much in the area 4.7 inches/ 120 mm annually on average on 60 days. 

White Pocket after the sunset

The best time and most pleasant months regarding the temperatures are April, May, and October with average temps around 75°F/ mid 20°C. Nights are cool usually around 50°F/ 10°C.  

First rock formations at White Pocket
A summer thunderstorm is building up. Please, check the weather forecast before.

The summer from June to September is the hottest and driest time of the year frequently topping 95°F/ 35°C. Overnight lows ranging from 70-59°F/ 21-15°C.

White Pocket stone layers completely twisted
The White Pocket can easily compete with the Wave

Almost 12 hours of sunlight in the summertime which is awesome.  Occasional thunderstorms, especially in late summer, causing flash floods. 

Breathtaking sunset in the White Pocket
Experience one of the most spectacular sunsets in the White Pocket

Coldest and quietest times in Page, Arizona from November to March. In November and March, temps are roughly around 59°F/ 15°C. In the winter, day temperatures are below 10°C and around freezing at night. It occasionally snows due to the high elevation. Expect 7 hours of sunshine in the wintertime.

White Pocket

Unfortunately, you can witness climate change at Lake Powell. The water reservoir has a record low water level since 1969 when the lake and reservoir were filled. This was caused by a record low snowfall in higher elevations earlier in 2021. 

All these pictures were taken by Ray Downs also for the directions to the White Pocket. 

 

Booking.com

Best Months to Visit

Jan
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Location and Tips

Page, Kanab, Vermillion Cliffs
United States
United States

The White Pocket above and beyond expectations is a photographer’s paradise in a real undeveloped wilderness area. All of this region requires a 4 WD and high clearance like a Jeep Grand Cherokee. If not travelling with a 4x4, you can rent one in Page, Arizona, at Lake Powell. There isn’t any road, just tracks and a navigation system is required. You need an offline map to find the White Pocket. No reliable cellphone or internet connection is available.

White Pocket similar to the Wave

Experiences are needed to drive through long stretches of deep and soft sand, especially towards the end.

Plan Your Visit - 3 Tips

White Pocket colour explosion of red, orange, and white

  1. Check the weather forecast first and plan when to go there. You easily spend an entire day here. Walk and explore the areas gullies, swirls, and wave-like formations. There is still no entrance fee or permit requested. 
  2. Don’t go when rain is forecasted for the way out. You definitely don’t want to stuck in deep mud without any cellphone connection. Roads can be flooded.
  3. Be careful with potholes; don’t overspeed.
     

7 Things You Should Know

Completely twisted rock formations like marble cakes
Geologists proclaim that this twisting and turning dates back to the Jurassic time.
  1. Fill up the gas before
  2. Carry food and beverages in your car. It is a long drive of 2.5 hours rather 3 because you do not know the track.
  3. Bring a shovel in case you are stuck in the deep sand.
  4. Don’t go in any other car than a 4x4 high clearance. Daily people-cars stuck deep in the sand. Parts of the road are rough.
  5. An electric pump for your tires, just in case. If you are stuck in the sand, you have to lower the pressure of your tires as long as you are driving off-road. Better do it before.
  6. Don’t leave any trash, just your footprints.
  7. Sunscreen and a hat are necessary from spring to autumn.


What to Expect 

White Pocket at the best light before the sunset
My tip: Watch the sunset here!

It is a nature’s masterpiece that is rarely found nowadays. It looks like being on another planet with all these strange and unique sandstone formations. It offers the most diverse landscape, perfect for hobby and professional photographers to create exceptional art pieces as Ray did. Mother nature at its best, especially during the sunset. You could spend days and nights here without getting bored. Definitely no crowds and tour buses; it is off the beaten path!

The White Pocket in grey and white at sunset

How to Get to the White Pocket

WP Recreation Area Sign
After 2.5 hours of driving, you reach the entrance sign

The White Pocket is located at the Arizona/Utah border in the Vermillion Cliffs Wilderness. I describe in detail the directions from Kanab and Utah. I also add the GPS directions by Gaia GPS.

Kanab, Utah - Take HW 89 and drive to the east for 38 miles until you get to the House Rock Valley Junction. 

Page, Arizona - Take HW 89 and drive to the west for 36 miles until you reach the House Rock Valley Junction. 

Road Sign to HW89a WP
Road sign on the House Rock Valley Road

Between milepost 26 and 25, you will see the dirt road, BLM 1065, for roughly 20 mi coming from the north and south.

Wire Pass parking
Wire Pass parking and trailhead

The House Rock Valley Road is a maintained hard pack dirt road. You pass by Buckskin Gulch and soon after Wire Pass and Maze Rock Art Site.

Hiking Sign and Trailhead on 1065
Trailhead of the Maze Rock Art Site

There are plenty of awesome rock formations along the House Rock Valley Road and the famous Coyote Butts. 

Lone Tree Parking Area
Parking Coyote Butts South

We already parked our car here for the south part. Of course, not as spectacular as the Wave, but fascinating as well.

House Rock Valley Road private
Much of the roads are privately ranched.

Please, respect their properties and animals along the gravel roads to White Pocket. 

Important marker to Pine Tree Road
Turn east here across from the old corral on 1017 or Pine Tree Road.

Don't trust Google Maps here. Now starts the real driving adventure, and experience is needed. 

1017 unmaintained road
Lots of cars are already stuck. 

Reduce the tire pressure now to navigate to the deep sandy roads.

Pine Tree Road to White Pocket
Don't drive here during or after rainfall.

After rain, the sand turns into slick clay. Roads are frequently flooded. Stay for 6.2 mi on Pine Tree Road. Now the roads are unmaintained and getting worse.

Signs indicating the correct road to White Pocket
Signs assist you in finding the correct road to White Pocket

At the junction, turn left on to 1087 and follow this road for 3.9 mi before you take the left road to 1086.

Last junction to 1086
The junction is marked to find the right road to White Pocket.

You travel on BLM 1086 for 5.6 mi until you reach the parking and trailhead. The last part of the road is the worst. 

Parking and Trailhead for White Pocket
Huge parking for a few cars at White Pocket.

You can already see the first rock formations from the parking lot. 

White Pocket Trailhead

Take a backpack with water, snacks, and sunscreen and enjoy the multi-coloured natural artwork. 

GPS Route on the House Rock Valley Road from the north and the south (additional option from Page via HW 89a).

Do you like these outstanding pictures? Check out Ray Downs Photography for more of such masterpieces. He gave me all the information and provided the photos. Thanks, Ray!

Where to Stay

Boats on Lake Powell
By booking.com

Page is the main service hub and a good starting point with a population of 7.500. Page is excellently located at the Colorado and Lake Powell. It is worth staying here for a couple of days to explore the entire area. Rent a boat on Lake Powell or book a guided Colorado exploration tour. 

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Created by
Micha Herber-Bleich
Micha Herber-Bleich
I love adventurous trips and my husband…