Arizona’s diverse landscape offers a plethora of breathtaking destinations, and the Edge of the World Flagstaff (AKA East Pocket) is one such hidden gem. Tucked away in the Coconino National Forest, this remote area will leave you spellbound with its stunning vistas, unique geological features, and serene atmosphere. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into everything you need to know about exploring Edge of the World, from the best time to visit the must-see attractions, camping options, and more.
As an Arizona local, I’m pulling from my experience visiting this marvel, giving you the best tips for a memorable trip. So strap in, adventurers, and prepare for a journey!
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What is Edge of the World or East Pocket Sedona and Flagstaff?
East Pocket is a mesmerizing destination located between the cities of Sedona and Flagstaff. It offers an idyllic escape into Arizona’s captivating landscape, featuring epic mountain views of Red Rock Country from above, campsites, and the “secret” Jenga Rock.
Edge of the World was one of the first campgrounds I ever visited in Arizona and needless to say, it took my breath away. You really can’t beat the views here, so it’s easy to understand why this is a local favorite.
As you traverse the winding roads through the Coconino National Forest, you’ll find yourself nestled between the beautiful red rocks of Sedona and the cool, pine-scented air of Flagstaff. This unique position allows visitors to experience the best of both worlds while discovering the hidden gem that is Edge of the World Flagstaff, providing an unforgettable adventure amidst the natural wonders of the Southwest.
What Makes East Pocket So Unique?
East Pocket, also known as the Edge of the World, offers jaw-dropping panoramic views of the expansive valley below, the distant San Francisco Peaks, and the surrounding forest. The sheer drop-offs and dramatic cliffs create a sense of standing on the edge of a vast, untamed world, leaving visitors in awe of nature’s beauty!
It’s one of Arizona’s hidden gems! While you’re here, you should also read my guide on things to do in Flagstaff, AZ!
Not to mention, Jenga Rocks is incredible. This entire area is so untouched, wild, and scenic. Fun fact: the first time I camped here I saw brown bears!
When to Visit
The best time to visit Edge of the World Flagstaff is spring and fall, when temperatures are moderate, and the weather is generally more predictable. These seasons offer a comfortable environment for hiking, exploring, and camping while minimizing the risk of extreme heat or cold.
Summer months can bring intense heat and potential thunderstorms, making it a less ideal time to explore East Pocket. However, this time may be less crowded, providing a more secluded experience.
Winters can be harsh, with snow and ice rendering the forest roads impassable. While the snow-covered landscape can be beautiful, it’s essential to be prepared for extreme cold and potential road closures if you choose to visit during this time!
Accessing Edge of the World Flagstaff
To reach Edge of the World Flagstaff, you’ll need to navigate a network of forest roads. Start from Flagstaff, take US Highway 89 north, turn left onto Forest Road 776, and follow it until you reach the junction with Forest Road 231, where you’ll turn right.
The drive from Flagstaff to Edge of the World, also known as East Pocket, typically takes about 1.5 to 2 hours. However, this can vary based on current road conditions, your vehicle, and how comfortable you are driving on rough forest roads.
The forest roads can be rough and challenging, particularly during inclement weather. Therefore, a detailed map, GPS, and updated information on road conditions is essential before starting your journey!
Given the rugged terrain and the possibility of encountering deep ruts, rocks, and mud, a high-clearance 4×4 vehicle is strongly recommended. This will ensure a smoother and safer ride and minimize the risk of getting stuck or damaging your car.
Read Next: Ultimate Sedona Travel Guide
Driving Tips and Safety Considerations
Drive slowly and cautiously, as the forest roads can be narrow with tight curves and sudden elevation changes. Be prepared for fallen trees, rocks, or washouts, and give yourself time to react. Watch for other vehicles, hikers, and wildlife sharing the road with you.
Camping at Edge of the World Flagstaff
Camping at Edge of the World Flagstaff offers a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in nature and enjoy the serenity of this secluded destination. As night falls, you’ll be treated to a mesmerizing display of stars unobstructed by city lights or pollution. In addition, the experience of waking up to a breathtaking sunrise over the canyon is truly unforgettable!
There are several dispersed campsites scattered throughout the East Pocket area. All camps are first come, first serve. When selecting a campsite, look for established spots with minimal environmental impact, and ensure you’re at least 200 feet away from the cliff’s edge and any water sources or trails.
Camping in this remote location means limited amenities, so be prepared to bring everything you need, including water, food, and waste disposal supplies. Also, remember that campfires are generally prohibited due to fire restrictions, so plan to cook on a portable camp stove instead.
Check with the local forest service for the most up-to-date information on camping regulations and restrictions, especially during dry seasons. Dry seasons mean more fire risk.
Tips for an Enjoyable Camping Experience
Follow these tips to ensure a comfortable and safe camping experience at Edge of the World!
- Pack layers to adapt to changing temperatures, secure your food and belongings from wildlife Maintain a clean campsite to minimize your environmental impact.
- Always practice Leave No Trace principles.
- Carry a first aid kit, map, and emergency communication device in case of any unforeseen incidents.
I recommend at the least bringing: sunscreen, a hat, a Sony a6400 camera (or Sony a7RIII), 24-70mm lens, and hiking sandals.
Now let’s cover some of the highlights while you’re there!
Exploring Jenga Rock Sedona
Jenga Rock is a fascinating area characterized by massive boulders precariously stacked upon one another, resembling a giant game of Jenga. This incredible sight, combined with the surrounding picturesque landscape, creates an enchanting atmosphere that begs to be explored. And it’s one of my favorite parts of this area!
The name “Jenga Rocks” was coined by locals and visitors alike who were struck by the uncanny resemblance of the stacked boulders to the popular block-stacking game, Jenga. The moniker highlights the whimsical and playful nature of this geological wonder. Make sure you have sturdy hiking boots!
Getting to Jenga Rocks
Once you pull up to Edge of the World, you can see Jenga Rocks. You can park and follow the upper rim to the rock formation until you reach a small trail leading to the base of the rock.
Here are the exact coordinates of Jenga Rocks Sedona. The great thing about East Pocket is that it is essentially a rim you pull up to. Once there, spotting the rock formation should be easy enough.
Once you’ve arrived at Jenga Rock, take some time to marvel at its unique structure and capture stunning photographs with your camera.
P.S. You’d also like my guide on the best Sedona sunset and sunrise hikes!
Climbing the Rocks
Yes, Jenga Rocks are “climbable,” but they are not recommended unless you have the right equipment. So please exercise caution when you go!
Climbing Jenga Rock requires technical skill and specialized equipment, such as ropes, harnesses, and helmets. Therefore, ensure you have the necessary experience and gear before climbing.
For a safer and more enjoyable experience, consider booking a guided climbing tour with a local outfitter. Overall, I wouldn’t recommend climbing the Rocks unless you’re extremely comfortable and experienced.
Wildlife and Flora to Look Out For
The area surrounding Edge of the World Flagstaff is home to various plants and animals. Be looking for ponderosa pines, juniper trees, vibrant wildflowers, and various bird species. You may also spot elk, deer, bears, and smaller mammals like squirrels and rabbits.
And yes, I have seen bears here! Avoid leaving food out and unattended at your campsite.
Remember to observe wildlife safely and avoid disturbing their natural habitat! Please also avoid feeding any wildlife. This can cause them to attack humans in the future, but it can also prevent them from foraging for food in their natural habitats, which ultimately leads them to get sick and pass.
Where to Take the Best Photos at East Pocket, Sedona
Numerous vantage points around East Pocket provide breathtaking photo opportunities, capturing the region’s diverse landscape and vibrant colors. Sunrise and sunset are particularly magical times, as the sky comes alive with orange, pink, and purple hues, casting a warm glow on the cliffs and valley below.
For the best photos, stay overnight and take advantage of the sun! Additionally, Jenga Rocks will provide you with some amazing photo opportunities. Check out my favorite camera gear here!
Tips for Visiting Edge of the World
Responsible travel is crucial in preserving the natural beauty and integrity of places like Edge of the World Flagstaff. As a visitor, you can minimize your impact on the environment and contribute to the long-term sustainability of this incredible destination.
Follow Leave No Trace Principles
The Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics outlines seven principles that every traveler should follow:
- Plan ahead and prepare.
- Travel and camp on durable surfaces.
- Dispose of waste properly.
- Leave what you find.
- Minimize campfire impact.
- Respect wildlife.
- Be considerate of other visitors.
Adhering to these principles will help you enjoy the outdoors responsibly while preserving it for future generations.
Try to visit during the shoulder seasons (spring and fall) for the best weather and fewer crowds. Arrive early to secure a good parking spot and to have ample time to explore.
All campsites are first come, first serve, and space is limited. Getting to East Pocket early and reserving a spot is better than waiting until the last minute. Try to get there early to mid-afternoon.
You can go there as a day trip, but this might be a bit cumbersome with the long drive. Plan ahead! And make sure you bring your camera gear!
Prepare for the journey
Getting to Edge of the World Flagstaff is an adventure in itself. The route involves navigating forest roads, that can be challenging, especially for inexperienced off-road drivers!
Ensure your vehicle is in good condition, with enough fuel to make the round trip. Always carry a spare tire, tools, and recovery equipment just in case.
Pack everything you might need for the trip, including a Hydroflask, food, sunscreen, warm clothing, sturdy footwear, and a first-aid kit. Remember your camera to capture the breathtaking scenery and binoculars to spot wildlife. As the area has no cell phone service, carry a map and a compass for navigation.
Make a Trip Out of It
While you’re exploring the area, consider heading into Sedona and visiting:
Alternatively, you can take a 7-day Arizona road trip and visit spots like the Grand Canyon.
Explore the Area
Edge of the World Flagstaff offers various hiking and exploration options, from leisurely strolls along the cliff’s edge to more challenging treks through the rugged terrain. Watch for interesting rock formations, hidden nooks, and abundant wildlife as you wander through this remarkable landscape.
Enjoy and Appreciate
Lastly, take the time to soak in the beauty of Edge of the World Flagstaff. Marvel at the picturesque views, breathe in the fresh air, and listen to the sounds of nature.
This is a place to disconnect from the hustle and bustle of daily life and connect with the tranquility of the natural world. Enjoy your visit, and take away memories that will last a lifetime.
Pro tip: bring a slack-line, hammock or something fun to do at camp!
Frequently Asked Questions on East Pocket, AZ
Now let’s cover some frequently asked questions you might have on the East Pocket Arizona area.
How Do You Get to the Edge of the World in Flagstaff?
To get to the Edge of the World Flagstaff, start from Flagstaff and take US Highway 89 north. After approximately 14.5 miles, turn left onto Forest Road 776. Follow this road for about 11 miles until you reach a junction with Forest Road 231, where you’ll make a right turn. Continue on Forest Road 231 for approximately 9 miles until you reach East Pocket, also known as Edge of the World. Please note that these forest roads can be rough, and a high-clearance 4×4 vehicle is recommended for this journey.
What is Edge of the World, Officially Known as East Pocket, Outside of Flagstaff, Arizona?
Edge of the World, officially known as East Pocket, is a unique geological formation located in the Coconino National Forest, roughly 40 miles northwest of Flagstaff, Arizona. This breathtaking destination offers panoramic views of vast valleys, distant peaks, and a seemingly endless expanse of forest.
The area gets its popular name, Edge of the World, from the dramatic cliff edges that provide a sense of looking out over an infinite, untamed world. The extraordinary views, combined with its remote location, make East Pocket a sought-after destination for those seeking a unique off-the-beaten-path adventure.
Final Thoughts on Edge of the World, Flagstaff
Edge of the World Flagstaff is a captivating destination that’s worth exploring for any intrepid adventurer. With its awe-inspiring views, intriguing geological formations like Jenga Rocks, and the opportunity to camp under a star-studded sky, it’s a trip you won’t soon forget.
Equipped with the information in this guide, you’ll be well-prepared to navigate the challenging forest roads, select the best time to visit, and embark on an unforgettable journey to this lesser-known Arizona wonder. Remember to travel responsibly, adhering to Leave No Trace principles, and do your part to preserve the pristine beauty of the Edge of the World for generations to come.
If you want to make the most of your Arizona adventures, check out my other guides!
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