White Pocket is sometimes considered to be a part of South Coyote Buttes, although it is separated from the classic South Coyotes of Paw Hole by over 5 miles of rolling juniper country of Poverty Flat. It is actually quite a bit closer to the South Rim of Buckskin Gulch. No permits are required to visit White Pocket, but its remote location and treacherous roads mean that this whimsical place sees very few visitors.
Multi-colored towers and domes of White Pocket
Jasmine at White Knolls
Looking out to the West from the saddle of White Knolls
We drove in from Lone Tree Reservoir turnoff and returned to Pine Tree Road; either way, if your vehicle can't negotiate deep sand and rocky steps, it probably won't make it there (or back). A good test section of the road is the first mile past Paw Hole trailhead (or approximately 3 miles from House Rock Road), with a long uphill section of soft sand followed by a rough rocky stretch. It is about as bad as it gets later on, but quite a bit closer to the civilization.
View West from White Knolls
View North-East from White Knolls
The next couple miles, to the wind-powered water pump at Poverty Flats crossroads, were kind of better. The road to White Pocket continued at the base of the windmill and up a hill to the water tank, and then it was an unmistakably main roadtrack all the way to the trailhead, cutting a wide loop East, then North, and finally West to a sandy bowl at the base of a large juniper, serving as a parking lot. The sheer white cliffs of the Pocket's West edge loomed in the distance.
Plateau 6,128, the high point of White Pocket. Vlad is setting his tripod at the White Knolls below.
A wave at the source of the Slot
Looking down from the rim of the Slot
The scariest section of the drive was a long downhill section two or three miles short of the TH, with a gully of a dry creek at its low point. It wasn't comforting to think that we'll have to climb up this hill on the way back, with the gully preventing us from using the momentum of speed.
Little Meadows and Tricolor Butte
The wall of the canyon
In the little slot
Once we hiked out of sand and into the slickrock, it was the kid-in-a-candy-shop kind of feeling, and we couldn't stop exploring the White Pocket nooks and taking pictures. Since there are no pictures of the area on SP at present, we are going to be quite liberal with uploads for this TR.
Pink Bowl, View South
Jasmine on the ridge North of Little Meadows
Max on the ridge North of Little Meadows
The West end of the Pocket is en enormous cliffy island-in-the-sky. Towards the East, there are tall red cliffs. In between lies a wide bench which is the home for most of the unusual rock formations. The White Knolls are at the South end of the bench, the rounded crossbedded Navajo sandstone domes. A little canyon slot cuts through this area and empties North to a string of little meadows of the Pink Bowl, which is a more gentle expanse of crossbedded sandstone of rosy hues.
"Waves Crashing" at the East side of Pink Bowl
Further North, beyond the Tricolor Butte, is the North Bowl, the last cluster of weirded-out formations. We were particularly amazed by the uniform fields of round volcanic pebbles, and by a perfect square naturally chiseled out of crossbedded sandstone.
Rim of the North Bowl
Twin Buttes near the North end of White Pocket
White Knolls and Guardian Towers of the Slot
Hiking on the Red Band of Tricolor Butte
On the way back, we chose a supposedly-better road back from Poverty Flat Windmill, a four-mile connector to Pine Tree Road towards the South-West. While this road is marginally better than the Paw Hole thoroughfare, it is still very slow and overall, twice the distance to Lone Tree Reservoir Junction. But if you prefer to exit to US 89A, then Pine Tree road may make sense. From the Pine Tree - House Rock junction, it is nearly 20 miles North to the pavement of Route 89, but only about 10 miles South to 89A.
Where is Jasmine?
West Rim of the North Bowl
The biggest obstacle we met on the way from Poverty Flats was a bull standing in the track and seemingly intent on goring the radiator. A blast from the horn solved the confrontation, and once it was over, then little Max started to growl. For the humans, it kind of felt good to know that the sand traps and sharp rocks are over, too.
Time to return if we everhope to make it back over the sand hills! Jasmine waiting for us at the Red Band of Tricolor Butte, silhouetted between the Guardians
Thanks Tanya, pictures from your site were an inspiration for us. It looked pretty cool with snow on the ground, although the light was a tad more flat when you were there. Now we just wish to return at dawn ... and to get to the high point of the main white outcrop too.
No, I think Tanya was in communication with someone else who also headed for Coyote Buttes. She really has great beta on her site, although navigation to the right page there isn't always obvious.
Yes, we are still smarting from the mean comments for the North Coyotes TR. But in hindsight, shouldav expected it. So many people are bummed with the torturous permit lottery process that there is probably a lot of corrosive envy to the lucky few who got it. If you brag about your visit to the Wave, especially right on the site's front page, it's gotta get some sour looks.
BTW all of us agreed that the Wave is not nearly as cool in realspace as in its pictures.
Thanks for sharing these beautiful photos. I'm doing a road trip from California to Zion and Bryce Canyon during the Christmas week 12/22-12/29. I'd love to visit the Wave and White Pocket. I have a 4x4 Jeep Liberty. Would it be able to comfortably negotiate the road in and out of White Pocket? I assume the roads are not closed for winter. Any other things I should be aware of other than the advance permit for the Wave?
Dear GeoPooch, Your photos are wonderful and your trip information is extremely helpful. My husband is inspired to rent a 4WD vehicle to try to get out to White Pocket sometime this year, but we have never owned or even rented a 4WD, let alone even driven, a high clearance 4WD vehicle. I am deterred by your description of the road, but he is gung ho! Any advice on how to get the experience necessary to get out there - short of hiring a guide? We did hire a guide to see Coyote Buttes South, but we felt that our time there was WA-A-AY too short for what we wanted. We want to do it on our own - but safely!
Let me (the driver) answer for the Pooch :) The road conditions may have changed in the 4 years since our trip, sometimes it takes one desert storm... We did have to lock differential on the 4Runner at some sandy spots, but never needed to deflate tire pressure. Keep it mind that we visited in late fall, and Poverty Flat roads turn worse in summer after dry spells, since it's sandy. Cold nights and recent precipitation make them better. If there is much preciptation, then do not use House Rock road North (the muddy hills may be bad there). The South end towards 89A may be more passable when muddy. It tends to dry up really fast anyway.