South Coyote Buttes: White Pocket
White Pocket Background
Located just 20 miles south of the Wave stands a much less frequented dreamland of white, red, and orange sandstone.
Comparable to the Wave in size and complexity, this natural wonderland boasts twisted ridges of yellow, pink, and red. Deep domes, pockmarks, and pools of water dot the landscape.
In reality the Wave covers 5 acres of land, while White Pocket stretches for 20 acres. Unlike the Wave, hikers will delight to learn that no advanced permit is required. Additionally, visitors can camp near the trail itself.
The one reason this area is not flooded by tourists is the roads. Visitors need a 4WD vehicle just to access the site.
Plants & Wildlife
Depending upon the location in the White Pocket area, visitors can spot different types of plants. Of course the typical desert cactus can be spotted across the area.
Due to frequent flooding trees such as the cottonwood and willow receive the nutrients they need to survive the harsh desert heat.
Two of the most common mammals to frequent the area are deer and desert bighorn sheep. Other mammals that call this wild landscape home include the fox, bobcat, beaver, mountain lion, and porcupine to name a few.
Possible bird sightings include bald eagles, red-tailed hawks, peregrine falcons, and owls.
Reptiles such as the rattlesnake, toad, and lizard live in the Paria Canyon. Hikers must be on the watch for poisonous reptiles.
One of the major advantages to visiting White Pocket is the ability to camp near the trailhead. In fact, guides often recommend this in order to get the best pictures of the sandstone at dawn/dusk.
No advanced permit is required to camp or enter this area. The one thing keeping most people back is road conditions.
The road leading up to the hike is often deep sand, and without a 4WD vehicle with good clearance the chances of making it to the trailhead are slim.
From the parking lot visitors need only hike a minimum of 200 meters to spot the fabulous sandstone, rock formations, and pools of water that create White Pocket.
Getting a reliable vehicle with navigation is where the challenge begins for most. But once you get there, this hike is simple enough for even the average hiker. White Pocket sits a mere 6 miles SE of the Wave, but treacherous sandy roads keep many from making the trek.
Compared to the Wave in distance this is by far the easier hike. Only 200 meters from the parking lot with vast open areas to explore, White Pocket boasts 20 acres of open sandstone desert.
From Kanab, Utah, travel east on US 89 for 38 miles until you reach House Rock Valley Road. From Page, Arizona, travel west 35 miles to reach the same road.
Travel 18 miles on House Rock Valley Road (past the Wave parking lot) and turn left on to BLM 1017. You should pass Lone Tree Reservoir shortly after this turn.
Approximately 3 miles from Lone Tree Reservoir drivers will past Paw Hole. 3 miles after Paw Hole drivers will come to Poverty Flats, then an old ranch site shortly before coming to the parking lot for White Pocket.
From Poverty Flat on the road starts to get covered in deep sand. This is where the 4WD vehicle comes in handy.
Paw Hole, Red Pocket, and Kitchens Tank hikes are all within 20 miles of White Pocket.
What to bring
Water is the first and most necessary part of a successful desert hike. Individuals should carry at least 2 liters if not more depending upon the length of stay and bodyweight.
A sturdy backpack to stash all your hiking equipment is a must. Sunscreen, a first aid kit, compass, GPS, map, sunglasses, hat, and food are all very important as well.