You know how every so often you’ll suddenly start hearing lots of people talk about something that you had never previously heard of? Well that happened to me recently with Recapture Pocket- an area near Bluff that is kind of a miniature Goblin Valley with lots of hoodoos and cool rock formations. After hearing about it twice within about a month after NEVER having heard a thing about it before, I took it as a sign and knew that I had to go!
Although it’s threatening to snow as I sit here writing this, last weekend was still unseasonably warm for the beginning of November so my husband, son, and I headed down to Bluff with a road atlas and a rough map my coworker drew for me on a post-it. Turned out, this wasn’t quite enough, but luckily I realized that I still had bars on my phone all the way out there and was able to find a blog that gave really detailed directions and we found it really easily.
Before going, all I had seen of Recapture Pocket was a picture on a friend’s cell phone and a few images when I googled it. Based on the limited information I found on the internet, it’s obviously a place that doesn’t get that much traffic. This made me feel a little better for having not heard of it sooner!
While following the directions we had found online, we spotted an area that looked cool from the road, so we decided to check it out before continuing to the main attraction. There was a lot of wide open sandstone and patches of sand which my son LOVED. He immediately plopped down and declared that he was ‘at the beach’. It took us a while to finally drag him away from the sand, but once he saw that he could run around the rock formations, I think the sand was forgotten!
I remember the first time I went to Goblin Valley- I just wanted to run around and hide behind the rock formations and jump out and scare people! (No- I wasn’t a little kid when I went- it was only 5 years ago!) Well, it’s the same feeling at Recapture Pocket, but the really cool thing there is that there’s no crowd of people- you have it all to yourself. There is nothing better than being at a really cool place like this and having it all to yourself to explore and discover- it just makes the experience that much better! I think we’ve become kind of spoiled living here, since having a trail, a ruin, a whole monument, to yourself is kind of the norm. (Yes, my husband and I really had a whole monument to ourselves once! Read about our first visit to Hovenweep HERE!)
The first place we stopped was really cool, but the main site was even better! To drive right to the main site I think you probably need at least a semi-high clearance vehicle. We have a newer Subaru Outback with about 8.5 inches of clearance and we were fine, but if you don’t want to chance it, it would be less than a 1 mile hike in. (Directions at the end of post)
We probably spent a couple hours at Recapture Pocket just walking around and looking at all the crazy rock formations and trying to get our son to pose for pictures. (Not very successfully!) We found a bunch of plastic Easter eggs while we were there- maybe some Bluff families take their kids out there to hide eggs? However they got there, my son had a great time playing Easter Egg Hunt!
I think we could have spent a lot more time exploring, but lunch and nap time were calling, so we had to cut it short. I think it would be a great place to camp, especially with a large group or with a family. I think kids would love to just be able to run around and play around all the hoodoos and crazy formations and little canyons. We had a great time, and will definitely be taking people who come to visit us to Recapture Pocket in the future!
From Bluff: At the junction of Hwy 191 & Hwy 162, turn east and drive until you reach the junction of Hwy 163 & Hwy 216. Turn north onto Hwy 216 and follow it to a sharp, 90 degree bend in the road. At the bend, turn right onto CR217. You will come to a couple Ys in the road- stay right on CR217 until you see a left hand (north) turn onto CR249. After turning north on CR249, continue on this road until you come to another Y. Turn left and follow the road into a dry wash (This is where you may want to park if you’re worried about your vehicle’s clearance. If there is water flowing in the wash, DO NOT attempt to cross it!) After crossing the wash, continue down the road for approximately 1 mile until you see Recapture Pocket on your left.
Distance from Bluff to lodging in San Juan County, Utah:
- Bluff: 0 miles/0 km
- Mexican Hat: 26 miles/42 km
- Blanding: 26 miles/ 42 km
- Monticello: 48 miles/77 km
- Monument Valley: 51 miles/82 km
- La Sal: 90 miles/ 145 km
For more information or to request travel brochures, please call Utah’s Canyon Country at: 800-574-4386
Or e-mail us at: firstname.lastname@example.org