Driving to poverty flats (South Coyote Buttes) on AWD

shoenberg3

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Sep 18, 2022
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Hello,
I know this sounds bad but I am thinking of taking the Southern route (not through Paw Hole) ie. Pine Road on my Acura MDX AWD.
But only upto Poverty Flats, which I heard is easier going.
Would this be possible or very foolish?

To my understanding, it is another 3 miles or so to Cottonwood Cove from there, which I plan on walking.
Is this a sound plan?
How bad is the road to Poverty Flats from the south, and how much worse does it get after that?
I understand that towards White Pocket, it gets much worse.

Thank you

My wife is visiting from abroad, so I cannot easily give up on this thought...
 

Laura

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961
Very foolish if you don’t have 4WD (AWD isn’t good enough). I drove that area last month in my 4Runner and it’s pretty much deep sand all the way. It’s also still fairly hot there this time of year, so a one-way 3 mile walk with a lot of deep sand is a bad, bad idea.
 

Titans

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1,506
Hello,
I know this sounds bad but I am thinking of taking the Southern route (not through Paw Hole) ie. Pine Road on my Acura MDX AWD.
But only upto Poverty Flats, which I heard is easier going.
Would this be possible or very foolish?

To my understanding, it is another 3 miles or so to Cottonwood Cove from there, which I plan on walking.
Is this a sound plan?
How bad is the road to Poverty Flats from the south, and how much worse does it get after that?
I understand that towards White Pocket, it gets much worse.

Thank you

My wife is visiting from abroad, so I cannot easily give up on this thought...

This is NOT a sound plan. AWD is not 4WDR (to quote @Bob the last time this issue came up.) The roads are bad, super sandy and they are freaking long! Every single time. We would not take any AWD vehicle into any of these super sandy roads in the Sand Hills.

If your wife is visiting from abroad (!) and would love to see this area, why would you risk the entire Permit day with getting stuck in deep sand part or all day, in an area with bad or no cell service? Also remember you block the entire road for everyone else going in & out. You cannot be sure you can drive fast the entire way- you need to be capable of stopping in deep sand, back up for a while and let others pass.... And when you encounter somebody else, it's rarely in a "convenient spot", it's always in the middle of a "oh shit.... not here spot!"
And what is the recovery plan when you get stuck? A lot of digging, perhaps multiple times followed by trudging 2x3 miles in the deep sand on a boring road to Cottonwood Cove? Your wife will not be happy.

A suggestion and a plan with higher rate of success would be to rent the proper 4WDR vehicle and drive all the way to CBS. Or pay a guide who can take you to CBS and if you wish combine it with White Pocket too. Your wife will be super happy, because she will actually see & explore CBS! Instead of trudging in deep sand on a boring road, you can just explore Cottonwood Cove (which is also sandy). Your wife will be very happy.
 
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SteveR

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Sep 22, 2016
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708
Despite having been to both CBS and WP several times, I was reluctant to chime in as it has always been in a HC 4WD Tacoma, which probably means that I was oblivious to things that might stop something like your MDX in it's tracks. I can say that I wouldn't even consider taking my wife's Honda "awd" CRV out there. The other issue besides clearance and traction is the "tender" street tires that I am guessing your MDX has. Even the main road in can be littered with potential tire-puncturing rocks. Having said all the above- we talked to a guy at Cottonwood Cove a few years ago who had made it there in a smaller 2wd Sprinter, with street tires that were looking obviously worn. He did mention having to make a couple runs at one spot, and also that he carried two spares.
 

napatony13

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Feb 5, 2021
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Or pay a guide who can take you to CBS and if you wish combine it with White Pocket too. Your wife will be super happy, because she will actually see & explore CBS! Instead of trudging in deep sand on a boring road, you can just explore Cottonwood Cove (which is also sandy). Your wife will be very happy.
This would be my advice too. I had a 4WD truck but with a camper on the back so was not confident enough to take on the roads. My wife and I parked at the base of the hill going up to Paw Hole and hiked there, then had a guide pick us up there and take us to Cottonwood Cove and then on to White Pocket. I'm not one to pay extra for things but this was well worth it...we covered a lot of ground and saw all 3 areas with no worries about getting stuck. We used Steve from Paria Outfitters...very low key and just pointed us towards the most interesting areas.
 

Bob

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Mar 3, 2013
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3,562
Lol .... Not going to comment again on awd and rough roads....
 

Janice

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We had originally thought about hiking to Cottonwood Cove so we wouldn't have to hire a guide or risk getting stuck in the deep sand. But it was pointed out to us that we'd spend a lot of our day hiking from place to place and would have less time and energy for exploring the fabulous rock formations that we were so excited to see. We were given great advice (thank you, @Titans and @chandlerwest), and ended up hiring a guide for a full day tour of Cottonwood Cove & White Pocket. It was fantastic, and we felt it was worth the $$$.
 

regehr

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regarding renting vs. guiding, I found the drive out to White Pocket (in a real 4wd) to be lots of fun -- fast deep sand, a very pleasant contrast to that ribby slickrock that we spend so much time on in Utah. obviously ymmv.
 
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Laura

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I am actually going there in mid October, but thank you for your feedback.
Mid-October temps will be better, but you still need 4WD. I had to put my 4Runner in 4Lo several times driving to Cottonwood Cove from the south.
We had originally thought about hiking to Cottonwood Cove so we wouldn't have to hire a guide or risk getting stuck in the deep sand. But it was pointed out to us that we'd spend a lot of our day hiking from place to place and would have less time and energy for exploring the fabulous rock formations that we were so excited to see. We were given great advice (thank you, @Titans and @chandlerwest), and ended up hiring a guide for a full day tour of Cottonwood Cove & White Pocket. It was fantastic, and we felt it was worth the $$$.
Hiring a guide for my first trip out to Coyote Buttes South some 12 years ago was some of the best money I ever spent! The guide was a Kanab local who knew the area like the back of his hand, and also a photographer who taught me how to use my (then) new camera. He and I have been good friends ever since and we still meet up every few months to photograph. If you don’t know the area and don’t have 4WD, hiring a guide will be the difference between a memorable outing and having to self-rescue yourself (and your angry wife).
 

Janice

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regarding renting vs. guiding, I found the drive out to White Pocket (in a real 4wd) to be lots of fun -- fast deep sand, a very pleasant contrast to that ribby slickrock that we spend so much time on in Utah. obviously ymmv.
If I had experience with that kind of driving, I think I would have enjoyed it. But having lived in urban & suburban areas east of the Mississippi my whole life, I definitely did not have the knowledge or confidence to give it a try!
 

shoenberg3

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Sep 18, 2022
Messages
3
I really appreciate your response. I suppose this leaves with me two options:

Either rent a 4WD for a day or two from Kanab or Page - does anyone have recommendation for rentals?

Or find something that is somewhat similar to the Wave/South Coyote Buttes/White Pocket but does not require permit or 4WD - would love recommendations here.

Thank you!

edit: maybe Yant Flats would be a good shout?
 
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