Located in Arizona, the Vermilion Cliffs National Monument consists of sandstone patterned with striking natural white, orange, and red marbled designs. The 280,000 acre park is home to geologic phenomena accessed by a series of trails, including the Paria Plateau, Vermilion Cliffs, Coyote Buttes, and Paria Canyon. For those with permits, the monument is open for multi-day backpacking excursions. The population of endangered California condors that takes refuge here is also worth checking out.
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One of the most spectacular of these natural wonders at Vermilion Cliffs National Monument is the White Pocket, located near Paria Plateau. Formed by wind and rain erosion, the sandstone rock formations at White Pocket are sometimes nicknamed “brian rocks” due to their bulbous and ridged formations. While the surrounding rocks are swirls or red and orange, the White Pocket rocks stand out because they are stark white.
Because this series of cliffs and canyons have such a distinctive color palette, thanks to a combination of layers of limestone, iron oxide deposits, and other types of minerals in the rocks, this part of Arizona is sometimes known as the Painted Desert.
Visitors to Vermillion Cliffs National Monument can drive to a parking area near White Pocket, using the House Rock Valley Road. An all terrain, four wheel drive vehicle is required to reach White Pocket, according to the Bureau of Land Management, because much of the road there is unpaved. From there, the trailhead is easily accessible. The trail is sandy so make sure you have appropriate walking shoes. It leads directly to the most spectacular formations at White Pocket.
Two other popular spots within Vermillion Cliffs National Monument are Coyote Buttes, which features swirls of white and orange, and The Wave, one of the most photographed places in the United States. Only 64 people are allowed to visit this rock formation everyday, and you need to a permit to enter.