White Pockets and Stud Horse Point Arizona
This was my second trip out to go see white pockets. The write up below the gallery was from my first trip to see it back in 2003. I followed a different route this trip. The previous trip I used the same route you would if you were going to see Coyote Buttes South. Since then, conditions have deteriorated once you get past the main junction. You will still have a lot of deep sand, and you will still need a 4WD with high clearance. Directions to White Pocket are written below along with a map.
Lucky for us, it had been raining a lot, which helps tremendously in deep sand, so much so this trip was the easiest I have ever done. But the newer route even the park rangers are suggesting will be challenging for people who are not familiar driving in deep sand.
The weather systems made for some tremendous atmospherics for photography. As you can see from the shots below, most are from the latest trip we made over the Memorial Day weekend. During very heavy rains, I suggest coming in to House Rock Valley Road via the south entrance from HWY 89A. Here are the Google map coordinates: 36.731320, -112.046108. These back roads are very muddy and you will have less mileage to travel on them taking this route.
Directions to White Pockets
From Kanab, drive 40 miles east on Highway 89. The turn onto House Rock Valley Road is located on the south side of the road (right side driving from Kanab). It is located between mile markers 25 and 26, before a sweeping left hand curve in the road, prior to a guard rail protecting the curve. Slow down and turn right just before the guard rail. This north-south running road is House Rock Valley Road. The road soon becomes dirt and may be impassible if wet. Continue past the Wirepass Trailhead (8.4 miles from Highway 89) to the Utah – Arizona state line. This is the border of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in Utah and the Vermillion Cliffs National Monument in Arizona. Keep driving south for another 8.1 miles past the Wire Pass Trailhead and look for the dirt road that turns left and to Lone Tree Reservoir. At this point there are two options to arrive at Poverty Flat. Poverty Flat is the junction to the east which is necessary to locate to continue further to either Cottonwood Spring (South Coyote Buttes) or White Pocket even further to the east.
Turn left at Lone Tree Reservoir and follow the main, sandy 4WD road to the east for 2.5 miles to the Paw Hole trailhead. Beyond Paw Hole the road becomes even deeper sand and may require tire deflation to prevent becoming stuck. The next 3 miles to the Windmill at Poverty Flat Ranch is deep sand and quite rugged in places. The road will pass through two gates. Close the gates after passing through them.
(Alternative route to the Poverty Flat Ranch and Windmill Intersection: At the Lone Tree Reservoir/ House Rock Valley Road Intersection you may opt to continue another 4 miles to the south on House Rock Valley Road to the road intersection 1017. Turn left (east) on 1017 and then travel 3 miles east to the junction bearing north-east and another 3 miles to Red Pocket. Traveling north-east for another 2.5 miles puts you at the Ranch and Windmill, and the junction to either Cottonwood Spring or White Pocket. This option of driving is longer, but does not require 4WD until after the Windmill.)
Once at the Windmill, travel northeast passing the windmill just on your left and a group of buildings on your right. The road now becomes quite sandy as it ascends a hill, toward a large water tank resting on a knoll 100 yards away. Be sure to keep up momentum and follow this sandy road to the east and then north for 1.8 miles until it arrives at a corral and fence. At this point the road will turn right and follow alongside the fence for a short time and continues east for 2.8 miles and then steers northeast for another 1.5 miles and ends in a very sandy area by a lone juniper tree. This is the parking area and trailhead. “White Pocket” monolith will have been visible during the drive at various times, and at the trailhead/parking area it is just a half mile to the west.
A 4WD is required. GPS coordinates for White Pocket Parking and Trailhead 36°57.328 N 111°53.734 W
My first trip back in 2003, I used Steffen Synnatschke’s map below.
Visit his site for even more info. During my first trips out to the desert southwest, this guy was very helpful to me all the way back to the year 2000. Visit his site as well, though it is in German, Google does a good job translating it.