Guide to Edge of the World (East Pocket) Camping

Large mountain drop offs with views into Sedona and beyond, a hidden wooden pallet built on the mountain edge for picnics, a 1943 wooden lookout tower, endless trails to explore…are you excited yet?!

If you haven’t heard, East Pocket (commonly known as Edge of the World, End of the World, or the camping spot at the end of Woody Mountain Road), is full of history and grandeur. Many visitors compare their first reactions to that of the Grand Canyon!

After reading this post you’ll definitely be wanting to add End of the world, Flagstaff to your itinerary! This guide covers how to find Edge of the World in Flagstaff, best time of year to visit, and all of the details in-between for a successful visit.

Dirt Road to Edge of the World
FR 231 on the way to East Pocket.

How to Find the Edge of the World

This epic camping area is located in the Coconino National Forest of Flagstaff, Arizona. It is most commonly accessed by a 26 mile long dirt road named Woody Mountain Road. There is a way to get here off Route 89A, however I feel as though Woody Mountain Road is in better condition and overall easier to navigate.

The dirt road winds and turns through the forest providing outstanding scenery the entire drive. It can take anywhere from 1-1.5 hours to drive it one way.

If you type East Pocket into Google Maps it will take you right to the general camping area. I suggest downloading the map beforehand or having a printed/paper map since cell service can’t be reliable once you get deep into the forest.

DIRECTIONS TO EDGE OF THE WORLD, FLAGSTAFF

From Flagstaff you’ll take the Historic Route 66 (I-40) to South Woody Mountain Road. You’ll know you’re turning down the correct road because you’ll pass the Woody Mountain Campground on the corner.

You’ll stay on Woody Mountain Road (FR 231) for roughly 26 miles, following the signs for FR 231. There is a whole series of forest service roads that can make it easy to get off track if you aren’t paying attention. Overall it should be very easy if you just follow the signs and use your downloaded map as a back up.

You’ll know you’ve reached the campsites once you can see the view of the Red Mountain Wilderness between the open trees. You can’t miss it!

INSIDER TIP: There is a way to hike to East Pocket! Check out my trail guide Hiking A.B. Young Trail to East Pocket (Edge of the World) for more information.

DO I NEED A 4X4 TO GET TO EDGE OF THE WORLD?

I’d say a 4×4 is not required in order to reach Edge of the World camping area in normal conditions. The route is usually in good shape, however low clearance vehicles are not recommended.

I’ve seen some sedans make it, but there are a few parts where it is rocky and full of ruts that made my teeth grind as I watched them try to pass. SUV’s, trucks, and high clearance vehicles are highly recommended. I’ve also seen a handful of camper vans make this drive just fine!

RV’s and large trailers are not allowed past a certain point, meaning you will not be able to make it to East Pocket.

NOTE: Access to roads like these are always subject to the weather. If there is snow, rain, or nearby wildfires it may become impassible or closed.

End of the world camping site

WHEN IS EAST POCKET (END OF THE WORLD) OPEN?

The best seasons to camp at East Pocket are in the late spring, summer, and fall. Flagstaff does get snow so the forest service closes the road during the winter.

They also have the authority to close it at any time when it becomes impassible due to weather or wildfires. It is important to understand access is not always guaranteed here!

Over the years this area has become very popular, so if you want to camp on the weekends you’ll have to arrive early to snag a camping spot. Camping on week days is best for it’ll be less busy, however even in the summer and on holidays it may still be packed.

Camping at Edge of the World

East Pocket Dispersed Camping

The area was a lot larger than I had anticipated! There are many flat dispersed camping sites with rock-built fire rings scattered throughout the forest. Question will be- did you arrive early enough to snag one with the best view?

Unfortunately there are only a handful of sites where you’re quite literally camping on the edge with a tree-cleared view. If you aren’t one of the lucky ones, don’t worry, there are plenty of other sites to stay at. Just follow the dirt roads that go around the area and you’ll find somewhere to camp!

I found many new camping sites just walking the area along the edge, exploring. I walked up on them out of nowhere. The best way to to learn this place is to drive and walk around.

Related: How to find FREE camping while traveling the USA

Types of Camping at edge of the world

Coconino National Forest is full of dispersed camping! Because of the access road, East Pocket is best camped the following ways:

  • Tent
  • Car
  • Van (Area is popular for van dwellers)
  • Hammock

There are no RV hookups or services in the area, nor is there water provided. You’ll be responsible for packing in and out all of your essentials.

Things to Do Near East Pocket

As if the epic views into the Red Rock Wilderness and camping wasn’t enough! East Pocket does have a few other perks to it.

East Pocket Lookout Tower

East Pocket Lookout Tower

The wooden Lookout Tower, built in 1943, excited me the most when exploring the area! I love old structures full of history and purpose. Surprisingly this tower is still used today and if you’re lucky enough you may run into a park ranger who can fill you in on more East Pocket history.

The tower is located at the end of FR 231, just a couple miles past the campsites. You can drive to it or walk if you’d prefer the exercise.

View Point

When headed towards the Lookout Tower the road forks off left by Loy Tank. If you veer left and follow the road to the end it’ll lead to a different view point. If you look on Google maps the road is shown as well as “view point” at the end. Just another spot to check out!

Fernow Cabin

Remember when I said this area is full of history? If you’re looking for a different experience, try renting a retired fire guard cabin! Fernow Cabin has three bedrooms and was built in the 1970’s to house firefighters during fire season, allowing them to quickly respond. How cool!

You can reserve it on fs.usda.gov ahead of time. Be sure to read about the amenities- it is pretty rustic!

edge of the world flagstaff

Watch the Sunset

Sunsets here are breathtaking! I love how the Red Rock Wilderness glows in the distance as the sun descends. Grab a blanket and pick a spot to watch with your adventure partner!

Walk/ Hike Trails

East Pocket is a relatively flat area which makes for great road/trail running or peaceful early morning walks. The best way to learn about the area is to get out and explore.

Every time I visit I find new things. My last visit I was set out to find a tree swing I heard about. While I was unsuccessful in finding which campsite it is at, I did find a wooden pallet set on the edge of the tree line with a great view. Such a cute spot for a little picnic!

East Pocket Safety and Considerations

east pocket camping

Fire Bans

East Pocket has a fire tower for a reason- the area is prone to forest fires. Depending on when you visit, you may see evidence of the last forest fire that went through the area and burnt a large portion of it.

Before visiting it is best to look on fs.usda.gov for any fire bans and closures. Most likely fire and charcoal grills will be banned during summer. PLEASE always follow the guidelines to protect the forest and lives within it.

If you are able to have a fire, PLEASE remember to put it out completely. This even means pouring water on the coals. Never leave burning coals behind.

If there is a fire ban you can pack a cooler with cold meal options or cook on a portable gas grill.

Pack in/ Pack out

As always, it is proper etiquette to pack out what you pack in. There is nowhere to dispose of trash so you are responsible of packing yours out. I always bring a trash bag or two just to be safe!

east pocket flagstaff

Final Thoughts on Camping at East Pocket

Camping at the Edge of the World was on my bucket list for many years and I am so glad I finally got the chance. It’ll stay high on my “best camping in flagstaff” list as it has been the center of many great memories.

I definitely recommend camping a night or two on your way through Flagstaff- it is worth the detour!

Also in Flagstaff:

Nearby in Sedona:

3 thoughts on “Guide to Edge of the World (East Pocket) Camping

  1. Sue Christiansen says:

    We are attending a wedding at sunset then driving back to flagstaff after sun down. How safe are the roads, back? Will we get lost or are there signs to safely lead us home?

  2. Brady Hunt says:

    Would it be possible to get travel trailer up to East Pocket? It is a vintage camper that not high clearance( probably a little more clearance than your average minivan. I’d be towing with a Ford Expedition.

    • Kara says:

      I haven’t traveled that road yet this year so I can’t speak on the condition of it currently. However, my Jeep Latitude only has 13″ tires and isn’t lifted, so it sits pretty low as well and did just fine. I’ve seen camper vans (not lifted) make it. I say if you go slow and know how to drive dirt roads you should be fine. Some of the sites are hard to enter/park in so you’d just need to find one that is easier to access. Definitely worth a shot! Let me know how it goes if you do end up taking this road 🙂

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