White Pocket Dollops

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White Pocket Dollops

An often-overlooked alternative to The Wave, White Pocket is a hidden gem within the Vermillion Cliffs Wilderness area. The largest and best-known formations are the Coyote Buttes in the northwest corner of the plateau, including the famous Wave. The second most visited site – White Pocket – is located six miles southeast of the Wave.

“Discovered” by photographers 15-20 years ago, the name White Pocket actually refers to two areas. On the topo map, there is a tall 500-foot-high butte often referred to as the White Pocket Monolith or Butte. Conversely, photographers use the term White Pocket to refer to the area of white and coral-colored cauliflower (aka brain) rock to the east of the White Pocket Butte. This area has many water pockets which account for the name. White, or light grey is the dominant rock color, in contrast to the red of the Coyote Buttes, but the general features are similar – swirling, thin-layered strata, adjacent layers of contrasting color, and curious erosive features. The “brain” area of White Pocket is dotted with white dollops that stand in stark contrast to the red swirls around them.

The area is small, about one hundred acres. Accessing this desert gem takes a high-clearance 4WD vehicle combined with experience driving through miles of deep sand. If you’re up for an adventure, White Pocket in Vermillion Cliffs is a spectacular sight.

Location: White Pocket; Vermillion Cliffs Wilderness area.