white pocket hike, South Coyote Buttes

Carlos

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Jan 24, 2014
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I need some feedback. I read on a trip report (I lost the link and I cant find it) that someone decided to visit the White Pocket area in the South Coyote Buttes area, but was so afraid of getting stuck in the sand road (he was going by himself), that he drove to the Pawhole trailhead instead and hiked the 7 miles to White Pocket.

Has anyone provide feedback on this ? I am a lone hiker and I have the same concerns about getting stuck in the sand with a "rental".
 

Nick

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Man, that would suck. That's not helpful, I know, but 14 miles round trip in the soft sand for White Pocket is not worth it. That would make it tough to be there for the good light too. Unless you're backpacking, but I don't know of any water sources out there. Maybe some cow troughs?
 

cmgz

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Jul 16, 2014
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I have a 4 runner and sand was coming in through the cracks in the back doors. High clearance necessary for sure. Going in cool weather really helps too. That being said, I loved white pocket. Good luck!
 

cmgz

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I did hear from a local that guides were taking people out there
 

Mph

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Apr 21, 2013
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When do you plan on going? I have been there 3 times...The winter is nice...The two trips in February were different than the trip in April. Not sure what your experience is...take a shovel and some sand tracks...But, i could see some people getting totally spooked out there...you are out there but the road is traveled...I do think High Clearance is very helpful!
 

Nick

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Another thing to consider is whether you come in from the road from the west or the road from the south. I've done the west route twice but I've heard the south road is better. The biggest challenge I faced wasn't getting in, it was getting back out on the hill right after the road heads west. You also have to be confident with your skills to keep the pedal down pretty good. Lots of momentum helps when you hit the deep soft sand as well as the holes where someone had to dig out. And of course the stuff you need to get yourself unstuck if it happens.
 

Yvonne

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I really want to go there one day but will definitely hire a guide because I'm alone and lazy and do not want to do all the digging by myself if stuck in the sand. And I've never driven in deep sand before. I would scare the hell out of me doing it alone
I heard you can hire someone and they drop you off there and pick you up the next evening. I hope this is true as it would give me a lot of time to take pictures there.
 

Dustin Gent

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Jun 22, 2015
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I've been there two times. was there in november and we drove in at 2 am! first trip we were in a mazda tribute 4x4 and last time we were in a raised FJ cruiser. the colder temps made it way easier to get into.

i have seen an outback there before and they said they had no troubles. so i guess it depends on time of year and conditions. the sand gets sloppier in warmer temps. if it has rained or snowed, makes much easier.
 

Wyatt Carson

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Apr 15, 2015
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We got some information from a Ranger who told us to avoid the eastern route from Corral Valley road and take another route more central. She told us of a place to stop as even serious 4WDs got stuck regularly is deep sand right past that. I don't remember exactly where but we started on her "safe" route and almost got stuck in very deep sand within the first half mile. I really had to motor through it, sort of over a small hill. So we ignored her bad advice after that, turned around, floored back over the nasty hill and parked on Corral Valley road.

I'm glad we did. It is right at a 10 mile cross country hike from there but we found a literal treasure trove of things that drivers will never see. We carried all the water we would need and camped at White Pocket, a super fine thing. I think I remember water at Red Pocket on the way, a cool old cowboy place. We stayed away from the roads the whole way and did a loop. We always do things like that, hardly ever driving up and photographing the iconic spots and leaving. Cross country has always paid off, very tough...yes, of course, but we always take the long way home. :D

You can get a very fine visual on White Pocket from way out, lose it when you dip down and reacquire it once more when you ascend the terrain. The Paria Plateau is a magic place and you will see so many things, landscape wise, ancient artifacts, very strange Moki stuff (marbles galore, peanuts, surreal splashes, raindrop pieces and even the occasional Moki hand grenade and cannonball. Some very good lithics, projectile points as well as painted pot sherds are out there as well as some kind of ancient medallions. Please leave it in the living outdoor museum for everyone else to photograph too. :) We even found some very good antler sheds, two of them from obviously the same 10 point buck, got some good funny images using those too!

Then there is White Pocket...it is something else, many variations of surreal...

Everything in there is amazing. Yes, it is far easier to drive but...if you are a bit more adventurous and can do a very tough hike loaded down with water, it is a place of its own, very unique...
 

chandlerwest

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Feb 7, 2015
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When we went to White Pockets we rented a heavy duty ATV. Quite the hassle hauling it from St. George but none of us has a legit high clearance vehicle and we HAD to see White Pockets. Even at that we had troubles with the SAND. We had no problems getting there from the western approach but we had to dig the thing out between the WP parking lot and the end of the road. Then we couldn't get up the hill that @Nick mentioned, so we had to come out the southern route which went very well as long as we kept the thing moving pretty fast thru the sandy spots. I want to say the post you referred to was one left by my son. What I have done is parked on House Rock Road and hiked the two miles to the South Coyote Paw Hole trailhead. Then I spent the day exploring the length of Paw Hole which was incredible. @Wyatt Carson tail is impressive. I hiked crossed country from The Wave to the Teepees once and was essentially walking and falling into 2 feet of sand most of the way. That said......getting to White Pockets is worth what ever aggravation.
 

Wyatt Carson

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The sand, deep sand, that everyone is talking about is no joke. You are either standing in sand or on a piece of slickrock that crops up here and there but the route is mostly sand leading through a juniper forest with sage obstacles included. There are many little canyons that are walk throughs but up and down, up and down in that sand. Folks do get disoriented and lost out there so navigation takes on importance. To add to the tough route we deviated when we saw interesting features, so more ups and downs but they did pay off well.

As for the Moki Marbles, I wanted to find a way to photograph them that would try and bring out some of their mystery. I set up this shot, not easy to find the right angle and backdrop and got off two exposures before the light was irretrievable. This Moki stuff is everywhere and in various states. These have the outer glaze worn off but still very cool.



Here is a small taste of some of the other things that show up along the way, most in places you might not choose to walk a path, but along a more difficult place here and there.



Here is one piece that we found very interesting, a point about the size of a dime, very tiny.



I set up my tripod to get this 10-point horny buck on “film”. You can see I'm standing in the same thing everything is lying on in every image, sand. The wind is up as it is a lot up there. You can see how my lower pants legs are flattened against my legs.



Then you come to White Pocket itself, a place of thousands of amazingly unique surreal scenes. My guess is everyone here who has been there can blow you away with images of what this place is. The areas within are very diverse and really something out of a fantasy/sci-fi setting. Bring lots of memory cards and look for the good light late or early in the day! And stay safe...you can find yourself very isolated in places.

 

Nick

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As for the Moki Marbles, I wanted to find a way to photograph them that would try and bring out some of their mystery. I set up this shot, not easy to find the right angle and backdrop and got off two exposures before the light was irretrievable. This Moki stuff is everywhere and in various states. These have the outer glaze worn off but still very cool.



Fantastic photos @Wyatt Carson! Most of the marbles I saw at White Pocket were oblong and bumpy. Those look more like the smooth round ones in the Escalante area.
 

Wyatt Carson

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Nick the oblong bumpy ones you are talking about are the ones we called the peanuts. It seemed like there were areas with mostly that for some reason. I have seen the ones you talk about in Escalante too, a bunch of good round ones with the glaze still on them around Tunnel Slot and the Space Ship shapes too. The marbles in the photo were closer to Corral Valley road, just north of an area along there. There were a bunch of round ones there.

The Paria Plateau is a very magic place. I wish we could have stayed longer but a very powerful storm was bearing down from the NW though it is hard to believe when you see the clear, warm looking photos. We packed up and moved away off the Paria and away from the House Rock Road which was dry at the time but extremely rutted. I didn't want to be stuck in that peanut butter for who knows how long so we moved up on the Kaibab Plateau, better roads with that material and made sure I had a downhill shot. The next morning the Paria Plateau was surreal off in the distance with a sand storm flowing off down the southern cliffs. I'm sure there is a million things we did not see up there but as Robert Frost said, as way leads to way, we just never got back there again...yet...
 

Dirkules

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Mar 4, 2016
Messages
15
We got some information from a Ranger who told us to avoid the eastern route from Corral Valley road and take another route more central. She told us of a place to stop as even serious 4WDs got stuck regularly is deep sand right past that. I don't remember exactly where but we started on her "safe" route and almost got stuck in very deep sand within the first half mile. I really had to motor through it, sort of over a small hill. So we ignored her bad advice after that, turned around, floored back over the nasty hill and parked on Corral Valley road.

I'm glad we did. It is right at a 10 mile cross country hike from there but we found a literal treasure trove of things that drivers will never see. We carried all the water we would need and camped at White Pocket, a super fine thing. I think I remember water at Red Pocket on the way, a cool old cowboy place. We stayed away from the roads the whole way and did a loop. We always do things like that, hardly ever driving up and photographing the iconic spots and leaving. Cross country has always paid off, very tough...yes, of course, but we always take the long way home. :D

You can get a very fine visual on White Pocket from way out, lose it when you dip down and reacquire it once more when you ascend the terrain. The Paria Plateau is a magic place and you will see so many things, landscape wise, ancient artifacts, very strange Moki stuff (marbles galore, peanuts, surreal splashes, raindrop pieces and even the occasional Moki hand grenade and cannonball. Some very good lithics, projectile points as well as painted pot sherds are out there as well as some kind of ancient medallions. Please leave it in the living outdoor museum for everyone else to photograph too. :) We even found some very good antler sheds, two of them from obviously the same 10 point buck, got some good funny images using those too!

Then there is White Pocket...it is something else, many variations of surreal...

Everything in there is amazing. Yes, it is far easier to drive but...if you are a bit more adventurous and can do a very tough hike loaded down with water, it is a place of its own, very unique...

Using this already existing thread for some questions:
We are considering to hike to White Pocket in mid May, carry all the water, camp there and hike back to the car the very next morning.
Right now the plan is to drive Corral Valley Road (=1017) up to Pine Tree Pocket Ranch, park there and roadwalk 1087/1086 to WP (9.4 miles one-way).
- is it possible to drive a midsize SUV without hc/4x4 to Pine Tree Pocket Ranch in good weather conditions?
- can we park right at Pine Tree Pocket Ranch? Is it inhabited or abandoned? Better parking suggestions?
- any recommendation for a camping spot at White Pocket? Or just next to the parking area?
Could you please check for sanity!
Thank you in advance.
 

Wyatt Carson

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Apr 15, 2015
Messages
307
Using this already existing thread for some questions:
We are considering to hike to White Pocket in mid May, carry all the water, camp there and hike back to the car the very next morning.
Right now the plan is to drive Corral Valley Road (=1017) up to Pine Tree Pocket Ranch, park there and roadwalk 1087/1086 to WP (9.4 miles one-way).
- is it possible to drive a midsize SUV without hc/4x4 to Pine Tree Pocket Ranch in good weather conditions?
- can we park right at Pine Tree Pocket Ranch? Is it inhabited or abandoned? Better parking suggestions?
- any recommendation for a camping spot at White Pocket? Or just next to the parking area?
Could you please check for sanity!
Thank you in advance.

I just checked when we went and it was late April of 2010...seven years ago. Wow, time really does fly.

Well, back then we got all the way to Pine Tree Pocket and there was a lot of ranch stuff there, corrals, tanks maybe but I don't remember seeing any people. I don't remember it being fall down or anything and I don't know how safe parking there would be. That is where the road bends to NNW up towards White Pocket. We went up the road a bit and for some reason abandoned the idea of pursuing it further. We abandoned the Red Pocket route soon after that. We were in a low clearance, all wheel drive Honda Element. Sand up there is a huge problem. There are some obvious sandstone rocks just west of the Red Pocket turnoff on Corral Valley road. That is where we parked.

If you do the long walk, take care this time of year. Maybe you are already in the know, but that area is a place where a number of folks have died from heatstroke on the long hikes. Take a ton of water, big wide brim hat...etc. Seek shade if you have to. You might find it under the junipers. I take a shade tarp just in case and have used it. The road is pretty boring to walk but even then you can look off and see little potsherds. I preferred off road/off trail travel but it is harder for sure. I'd contact the rangers up there and see if they can answer your questions better about parking at Pine Tree Pockets. It is all BLM and as long as there are no "cattle events" it might go.
 
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