Last spring when we were visiting the Valley of Fire State Park a friend who is local to the area asked if we would like to take a drive up to a spot in the hills called Whitney Pockets. He said there are some outcroppings of colored sandstone much like what you see in the Valley of Fire formations. We had a great time 4x4ing around the area’s many back country roads and taking photographs. One thing I quickly noticed were the presence of several RVs camped out around the rock outcroppings. I investigated and found out it was BLM land and you could free camp up here as long as it was in a previously disturbed site. Cool! I made a note of the place and planned a return visit with the trailer.
Whitney Pockets is located about 25 miles or so from Interstate 15 just before it enters Mesquite, Nevada heading north between Las Vegas and St. George, Utah. Once you turn off the I15 at Hwy 170 follow the road down to the Virgin River. After crossing the river, hang a right on New Gold Butte Road and drive about 20 miles. This road is a fairly narrow back country road consisting of patch work pavement and some pea gravel. It’s rough in spots but no major potholes. We drove slow, about 25 miles an hour, and had no problems getting the trailer there. There is very little traffic; we passed maybe 3 vehicles the whole way. The road follows along the Virgin River for a while then starts to rise in elevation as it heads south up in to the mountains. There are no major grades just some steady climbing. You reach a flat plateau area about 6 miles before Whitney Pockets with great views of Lake Mead in the distance. Here is also where you’ll start to notice Yucca and Joshua Trees that grow up in the higher elevations. Soon you’ll see the brightly colored sandstone rock outcroppings of Whitney Pockets.
The Camp Sites
This is very primitive back country camping where all you get is a flattish cleared spot and maybe a fire ring made by others out of stones. There are no toilets or garbage, it’s pack it in and pack it out. There is no camp host and no registration required. I would say there looked to be about 20 decent sites to setup camp scattered around the many sandstone hills. During the weekend the place filled up with ATV enthusiasts and a couple Scouting groups. The Boy Scouts were doing some target shooting with black powder rifles. Pretty cool, they even let me fire off a shot. On the Monday everyone left and there was us and one other rig. We were unable to connect to our cell data network so no internet but did receive 60 channels of TV on the bat-wing antenna. Going to have to look into getting a cell antenna booster for spots like these, although the forced disconnect was kinda nice. 🙂
Things to Do and See
ATVing and 4x4ing are a big draw as there are tons of gravel roads to explore. We enjoyed hiking, photography and clambering up the sandstone formations. Hidden in one of the small pocket canyons is a little dam built by the CCC back in the early 20th century. I love the Joshua Trees and it is really neat to see them in a spot featuring red sandstone. This and the presence of many other cactus types made it a terrific place for photography, especially in the late afternoon light. If you are a hardy hiker or have a 4×4 road capable vehicle there is another really cool rock formation located not too far away called Little Finland. We didn’t risk taking our big dually truck there this time but had the chance to view it last visit in a friend’s 4×4. Very lumpy road in but a very cool sandstone formation treat at the end of the road and because there is a natural spring there a few palm trees! Check out Anne’s Little Finland photos from last year.
Of course the best thing to do at Whitney Pockets is absolutely nothing. Just sit back with a beverage in hand and enjoy the vistas and natural surroundings of the high desert. This has been one of our favorite boondocking locations of this snowbird season. We plan to return again sometime for a longer stay.
Video Overview of the Whitney Pockets BLM Nevada
Want to find cool boondocking places like this in the South West? Check out the Frugal Shunpiker’s RV Boondocking Guides.
Photo Gallery From Our Whitney Pockets Visit
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