Access Recommendations to Cottonwood Cove , South Coyote Buttes


Jan 13, 2013
Hi there,

Looking for advice as to best route in to Cottonwood Cove in late March .

We will of course check with the BLM office on road conditions before leaving.

We are planning to rent an offroad 4WD vehicle in Page, but are nervous that these roads might need considerable 4WD expertise. Is it possible to get in without having to deflate tyres etc... We will be issued with a shovel and matting as well...

It seems to me that coming in on BLM 1017 proceeding through BLM 1066 and then BLM 1081 is the 'easiest' way to get in. As novice 4WD'ers it seems as if the more direct route from Paw Hole is much more challenging due to a hill and deep sand! We are equipped with a GPS as well and have the GPS coordinates of all key points of entry via the BLM 1017.

Any recommendations? Should we be considering a guide to do this rather than going in on our own?

We also plan to do an overnight stop at White Pocket, but it seems as in that case, someone with strong 4WD skills with driving on sand is required.

Any comments HUGELY appreciated!


John Fowler

Jan 17, 2012
I've been to White Pocket 6 times now and to Cottonwood Cove 4. All in my 4WD Toyota Tundra. The first time was scary because I had read all the cautionary tales and had never driven in sand. I took the "easy" way up. Since then I have taken every jeep trail I have found out there and have not gotten stuck, although I did have a case or two of white knuckles. My advice is to have a real 4WD vehicle and know ahead of time how to engage it. I have never had to deflate my tires, but in case I do I take along a battery-powered inflator as well as a good old hand pump. And I take along a few remnant carpet strips to put under the tires for traction in case I get stuck. (I have no idea if this works, but I keep them rolled up in the back.) Also, of course, take enough water for a couple of days and let somebody know you're going. If you do get stuck somebody will probably be coming along before long, given the popularity of the area. I suggest you take the "easy" way up from the south the first time, to get a feel for what you and your vehicle can do. Then you will have a better idea of how to proceed.

Be sure your vehicle has high clearance as well as 4WD. My brother followed me last time in a Ford Expedition and he didn't get stuck but he did scrape bottom a couple of times on protruding rocks.

With regard to driving technique, my only advice is to keep your speed up. And tell your passengers to hang on!

Good luck!


In search of Fresh
Oct 17, 2012
All that John Fowler said.
I also carry a battery powered tire inflator. I have deflated the tires a bit if it has been really dry and no precip for a long time. Very dry means looser sand. Precip firms sand up. I believe the main bad spot going up the Pawhole rt, is just past the pond that is the Pawhole. I'd go the longer way round. You can come back down Pawhole rt on return.
Main thing on sand is momentum, moving forward. Always keep moving thru the sand spots and you can stop on the rock or hard spots. When coming out of Whitepocket look up the hill before you start. You want momentum going up and hopefully no one driving down at the same time.

John Fowler

Jan 17, 2012
By all means take it slow over the rocks. You want to avoid tire punctures and scraping the underside of the vehicle.
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