White Pocket Arizona Photography Guide

Exploring Arizona’s White Pocket in 2024

Nestled along the Arizona and Utah border, White Pocket is a different world altogether. The wavy textures. The red, white, and orange colors. The dazzling display of nature’s powers. White Pocket is a place everyone should see for themselves.

A little over six hours from Phoenix, White Pocket, Arizona, is the perfect place to get off the grid, enjoy peace and quiet, and take amazing photographs. There are few places like this on Earth, and it is a must-see!

Below, we’ll dive into EVERYTHING you need to know about visiting! So, let’s dive in.

A Complete Guide to White Pocket in Arizona

White Pocket Arizona Photography Guide

Quick Details of White Pocket, Arizona

  • Location: North of Vermillion Cliffs National Monument. Download the map beforehand.
  • Drone Usage: Allowed
  • Vehicle Type: 4×4 with high clearance (this is not a suggestion, but a mandate)
  • Stay Length: At least two nights
  • Utilities: None. Bring plenty of water and normal camping supplies
  • Near: Vermilion Cliffs National Monument
  • Best time: Spring and Fall
  • Worst Time: Immediately after a storm or during one.

How to get to White Pocket

Best time to go

The best time to visit White Pocket is October through May, as you avoid the hot summer months. Even though it is in Arizona, White Pocket can see snow in the winter, and the road can be dicey if wet.

Keep this in mind if you explore over the winter months.

Via Phoenix

The road to White Pocket, Arizona, is extremely tricky and isn’t for the faint of heart or those without a proper 4×4 vehicle with high clearance. Coming from Phoenix, you’ll take I-10 to Flagstaff, then continue heading north on the 89A. After 3.5 hours, get off the 89A and head towards Marble Canyon and then the Vermillion Cliffs National Monument. From there, turn north onto House Rock Valley Road. After seven miles on this groomed dirt road, you’ll begin your trek to White Pocket.

Key details for arriving safely at White Pocket

Wait for Pine Tree Road. Google will tell you to take an early right. Do not do this.

Take a slight right onto Pine Tree Road. The road should be bumpy but doable for the next six to seven miles. At this point, you’ll pass an old ranch on your left. You can now go around it vs. through its gates. Stay to the right of the ranch, but take the road that will take you north. This is where the road will get very sandy. This is also where you leave Pine Tree Road.

If you can deflate and inflate your tires, this is an excellent spot to do so. Deflating your tires helps when driving through sand. Think around 15-20psi, but research your specific truck or SUV. 

For the next eight miles, you’ll be driving on a sandy road with deep grooves on both sides. A low-clearance car without a 4×4 is likely to get stuck here. Although driving is relatively straightforward, be on the lookout for grazing cows.

Once you’re at the parking lot, you’re safe from the sand, and the exploration begins.

White Pocket and Vermilion Cliffs National Monument Camping

You can technically camp anywhere, but I’d recommend the back of the parking lot, away from the entrance area. This allows you some privacy from those doing day trips. There is also no shade, so bring a canopy or some shade to protect you during the middle of the day.

Even in northern Arizona, it will get hot. Additionally, though hardly an afterthought, bring plenty of water.

What to bring camping

Guide to White Pocket Arizona Photography
Guide to White Pocket Arizona Photography
Guide to White Pocket Arizona Photography white pocket vermilion cliffs national monument
Guide to White Pocket Arizona Photography
Guide to White Pocket Arizona Photography

Exploring White Pocket

From the entrance, it is about a quarter-mile walk through the sand. Then, White Pocket will appear before you. At this point, it’s a free-for-all all.

However, there are a few points that I will suggest, such as the lone tree, with hopefully a small pond at the bottom to get a reflection. And then there may be another small pond in the middle for another reflection shot.

Other than that, it’s up to you. I’d also suggest launching your drone and seeing the landscape from above. White Pocket, Arizona, truly offers a spectacle like none other.

Guide to White Pocket Arizona Photography Drone
Guide to White Pocket Arizona Photography Drone
Guide to White Pocket Arizona Photography Drone

White Pocket FAQ

Can you get to White Pocket without a tour?

Yes, you can get to White Pocket without a tour if you have an appropriate SUV or truck. However, if you drive a sedan or do not want to stress yourself out driving on the sandy road, you can take a tour.

Do you need a permit for White Pocket?

As of December 2023, no permit is needed to access White Pocket. It’s only accessible by 4×4 and high clearance vehicles, which have kept the visitation numbers down – even if they have increased significantly over the last 4 years.

There is also no need for a camping reservation. Most people set up their tents or cars at the back of the parking lot to get some privacy.

How far is the hike to White Pocket?

It’s about a half-mile from the parking lot to the main White Pocket area. The path is entirely flat, but it’s in the sand, so it’ll be slow-moving. However, it’s a beautiful area. Once you arrive at the rock section, your mind will be blown!

Furthermore, it’s all exposed, so you won’t have any shade as you hike. Make sure to bring sunblock and plenty of skin protection.

Why is it called White Pocket?

White Pocket in Arizona likely got its name from the unique geological formations and coloration found in the area. The landscape at White Pocket is characterized by stunning and otherworldly white and red sandstone formations featuring intricate patterns, swirls, and layers.

The “white” in its name likely refers to the light-colored rock formations that dominate the landscape, creating a visually striking and ethereal environment. The intricate patterns and textures in the rocks contribute to the area’s otherworldly appearance, making it a popular destination for photographers, geology enthusiasts, and nature lovers alike.

While there might not be an exact historical account of how the name originated, it’s reasonable to assume that it stems from the remarkable and distinct features of the landscape.

Wrapping up – White Pocket

It’s truly a gem to get out to White Pocket and spend the weekend exploring the brilliant place. The real anxiety is the drive-in, but if you come with enough clearance and AWD/4×4, you should be fine. I’d recommend going with a group in case things go haywire!

Enjoy your trip!

Until next time adventurers, take care and be safe.

Subscribe to my blog!

New to hiking? My guide will get you up to speed!

Follow my adventures on TikTokFacebook, and Instagram.

Are you an outdoors brand or tourism board and would like to work together? Please take a look at my photography portfolio here.