It is quite difficult to get to the White Pocket, and a high clearance four wheel drive vehicle is definitely needed due to deep sand. The White Pocket is often combined with a trip to Coyote Buttes South so I will give directions from there as well. Due to the bad roads after shooting at the White Pocket I recommend camping at the trailhead overnight and driving out the next morning.
If you are coming from the North take House Rock Road about 20 miles to BLM 1017 (called Pine Tree Road) on the google map below, in green. After about three miles bear right and continue on Pine Tree Road (in blue). 6.1 miles from the intersection with House Rock Road reset your odometer and turn left. The general direction of the road you are traveling on is NNE. Go through the gate and continue 3.9 miles where you will bear left. Continue another 5.4 miles and you will see the main White Pocket parking area on your left. Alternatively you can continue straight for another .3 miles down a sandy hill to a second flat rocky area where you can also park. If you are camping this second area offers more privacy but the last sandy hill will present problems for some on the return.
From the main parking area just head due West on the well defined trail to the White Pocket.
Notes for your return - 0.5 miles after you leave the White Pocket bear right, the left fork goes to Hole in the Rock arch. 1.4 miles after you leave the White Pocket you will reach an intersection, bear left here to retrace your route. If you go right you will soon hit a steep up hill which could be troublesome for some cars. As of August 2011 the road was almost impassable in the uphill direction.
From Pawhole take the "Shortcut" Road East from Pawhole 2.8 miles to Poverty Flat. The road is shown in red on the map. This road has a steep uphill near Pawhole and can be difficult in dry conditions. Then follow the Poverty Flat directions below.
From the Cottonwood Cove trailhead take the road in blue 2.4 miles South to Poverty Flat.
From Poverty Flat take the Red Road Northeast, then East 4.5 miles, then bear left and continue 1.4 miles to the White Pocket trailhead. This road has a steep downhill about 4 miles from Poverty Flat. The road is much easier to traverse going to the White Pocket than from it.
Soap Creek Tank can be easily combined with a trip to Joe's Ranch or The Beehives. The Beehives are a small formation with some hillside ruins and pottery fragments. To get to them proceed on the loop road as above to the sandy track leading to Soap Creek Tank. After about 2 miles on the sandy track you will see a road going off to the left with a road closed sign. Park here and continue on foot via the closed road to The Beehives. The hike is about .4 miles one way.
For the adventurous offroader there may be an alternative route to the overlook that involves little hiking. The road parallels the route above slightly to the east. The road is shown in lavender on the map below. There was quite a bit of vegetation at the beginning of the road when I last saw it and I suspect it has not been used in some time. I choose not to take it on my visit to the overlook. The road appeared to be open, or at least there was no "closed" sign.
Vermilion Arch - This alcove arch is just below the rim of Vermilion Cliffs. It cannot be seen from either House Rock Valley Road or the 4x4 road going to One Mile Spring. Vermilion arch has a reported span of 34 feet. The arch appears in the World Arch Database as Vermillion Arch (with two l's). Vermilion with one "l" is the preferred spelling on both sides of the Atlantic, and is the spelling used in "Vermilion Cliffs National Monument". The images in my album were shot about four hours after sunrise which seems to be a good time to shoot them. You could combine a trip to Vermilion Arch with a visit to Double Barrel Arch. Shoot Double Barrel at sunrise and then go on to Vermilion.
The "trailhead" to Vermilion Arch is off of the 4x4 road to One Mile Spring. From the south One Mile Spring Road is 5.5 miles from the intersection of Highway 89A and HRVR, from the north it is 24 miles from the intersection of Highway 89 and HRVR. Turn east on One Mile Spring Road. You will immediately come to a fork. The road to the left goes to Two Mile Spring and is signed "Administrative Use Only". Go right and proceed 0.6 miles to a small parking area on the left (north) side of the road. The road past this spot is quite rough. Reportedly there are petroglyphs near the parking area, and even some degraded ruins. I didn't see either but I wasn't aware of them when I hiked to the arch. From the parking area the hike to the arch is all off-trail and about one mile long. You'll need to ascend two escarpments. The first is best climbed by following the cliff to its left (west) side until you come to a break. For convenience I have shown my actual route on the map below. During the hike you'll probably see the remains of an old water pipe. This was likely used to pump water for cattle to the top of Vermilion Cliffs. The pipeline is probably 70-100 years old. In some places you'll even see the cairns used to provide a guideline when the water pipe was installed. The terrain near the arch is quite fractured, be careful, an immobilizing injury here could prove fatal as you will not see anyone for a long time.
The following map covers an extremely large area and is a work in progress. It covers most of the Vermilion Cliffs NM. Vermilion Cliffs NM is BLM land and is open to the public. There is some state owned and private land in the area, click here to see the large scale official BLM map showing ownership and to place the map in context.
Caution - Some of the roads shown have not been driven by me and may be closed or impassable. The main routes to Coyote Buttes South and The White Pocket have been verified however.
The map below not only covers The White Pocket but also Coyote Buttes South and the entire Sand Hills area. The map has many layers. Layers can be turned on or off to zoom in on areas of particular interest. I suggest you view the map using the View larger option below. Then use the check boxes at the left to turn on and off particular features of interest. To the best of my knowledge it is not possible to turn the overlay off in Bing maps.
To view the map larger please click on the box in the upper right corner of the map.
The following map shows the locations of all of the geocoded photos in my White Pocket Gallery. Click on any image to display a cropped thumbnail, the GPS coordinates, elevation, and focal length used when shooting the image. Click on the cropped thumbnail in the upper left corner to display a larger uncropped image.
To view the map larger please click on the box in the upper right corner of the map.
The map can be downloaded by clicking here.
Vermilion Cliffs and vicinity is largely covered by 16 USGS 24K topo maps. The White Pocket is covered by the Poverty Flat Map. The roads to it are covered by the Coyote Buttes, House Rock Spring, and One Toe Ridge maps.
For reference here is an image showing the names of all 16 topo maps and their location. The topo maps can be downloaded following this image.
The table below contains the topo maps in a variety of formats. KMZ overlay files can be opened with Google Earth, and Oruxmap files can be opened with oruxmaps, a free mapping app for android phones and tablets. USGS topo maps contain a white border (called the collar) which contains information such as the map name, names of neighboring maps, date the map was created, latitude and longitude reference lines, ... While collars are very useful on printed maps, the information on the collar is much less useful for computer use. Maps with the collar removed can also be downloaded in the table below.
|24K Map (GeoTIFF/Avenza)||KMZ||Oruxmaps||KMZ Decollared||Oruxmap Decollared||Avenza Decollared|
|Big Water||KMZ||Oruxmap||KMZ Decollared||Oruxmap Decollared||Avenza Decollared|
|Bitter Springs||KMZ||Oruxmap||KMZ Decollared||Oruxmap Decollared||Avenza Decollared|
|Bridger Point||KMZ||Oruxmap||KMZ Decollared||Oruxmap Decollared||Avenza Decollared|
|Coyote Buttes||KMZ||Oruxmap||KMZ Decollared||Oruxmap Decollared||Avenza Decollared|
|Emmett Hill||KMZ||Oruxmap||KMZ Decollared||Oruxmap Decollared||Avenza Decollared|
|Emmett Wash||KMZ||Oruxmap||KMZ Decollared||Oruxmap Decollared||Avenza Decollared|
|House Rock||KMZ||Oruxmap||KMZ Decollared||Oruxmap Decollared||Avenza Decollared|
|House Rock Spring||KMZ||Oruxmap||KMZ Decollared||Oruxmap Decollared||Avenza Decollared|
|Navajo Bridge||KMZ||Oruxmap||KMZ Decollared||Oruxmap Decollared||Avenza Decollared|
|One Toe Ridge||KMZ||Oruxmap||KMZ Decollared||Oruxmap Decollared||Avenza Decollared|
|Pine Hollow Canyon||KMZ||Oruxmap||KMZ Decollared||Oruxmap Decollared||Avenza Decollared|
|Poverty Flat||KMZ||Oruxmap||KMZ Decollared||Oruxmap Decollared||Avenza Decollared|
|The Big Knoll||KMZ||Oruxmap||KMZ Decollared||Oruxmap Decollared||Avenza Decollared|
|Water Pockets||KMZ||Oruxmap||KMZ Decollared||Oruxmap Decollared||Avenza Decollared|
|West Clark Bench||KMZ||Oruxmap||KMZ Decollared||Oruxmap Decollared||Avenza Decollared|
|Wrather Arch||KMZ||Oruxmap||KMZ Decollared||Oruxmap Decollared||Avenza Decollared|
|All 16 Maps Merged||NA||NA||KMZ Decollared||Oruxmap Decollared||Avenza Decollared|