Paw Hole, Steamboat Rock, Sand Hills Loop and White Pocket, Vermilion Cliffs NM, AZ


 

After we had been doing some outstanding wheeling in Kingman, AZ, we went up to the Vermilion Cliffs NM. On march, 23rd, we planned to go in via House Rock Valley Road. Instead of driving through Coral Valley, we thought, we could have some fun driving up Paw Hole. This route is usually very sandy, but this time, it was really disappointing, as there was not much sand at all. We drove up towards Sand Hills Ranch and then left at the crossroad to reach the Coyote Buttes South permit area. Behind the gate of the permit area, a trail is going northeast. This trail leads close to Steamboat Rock. From the Steamboat Rock parking area, the trail continues and forms the Sand Hills Loop, which connects later with the route from Sandhills Ranch to White Pocket. There is a nice hoodoo along that trail (better to say at the end of an almost gone short side trail). The weather was not really great that day and the wind was blowing like nothing, when we arrived at White Pocket.

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We aride down at the start of House Rock Valley Road.
The weather was not really looking promising, but good enough to have a nice day.
House Rock Valley Rd. was in excellent shape.
The Coyote Buttes area/Cockscombs in front of us.
We turned right at Lone Tree trail head and went up towards Paw Hole. It took me some time to get my Hi-Hi in with my new Atlas 4 transfer case.
Paw Hole in front of us...
Nice formations all around...
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Not much rain on the road...
We stopped, so that I was able to go back into normal Hi with the transfer case :).
Still a nice vicinity...
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The famous 'Sitting Hen' was still there...
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Wayne was behind me and the tailgunner was Mike, who came a couple of times with us into the Vermilion Cliffs NM.
On our way to the CBS permit area.
We went through the gate and took an immediate right.
That trail goes towards Steamboat Rock.
Steamboat Rock in front of us.
This road did also not have too much sand.
But one has to consider, that he probably has to go back up here, if he doesn't´t want to drive the complete Sand Hills Loop.
Steamboat Rock...
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Wayne and...
...Mike also arrived and we had a short stop to take some pictures.
The rear end of Steamboat Rock...
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Last time we turned around here, but this time, we wanted to drive the complete Sand Hills Loop.
We stopped along the way and found a tremendous amount of Moki Marbles.
Modi Marbles all over...
Steamboat Rock behind us...
...and White Pocket in front of us.
I climbed up a little bit to have a better view. The jeeps had been parked down there.
One more shot of Steamboat Rock.
Closeup shot of Steamboat Rock...
... and of the Moki Marbles.
We continued and went left on an almost invisible side trail after climbing up that rocky section.
We had our lunch break here and I hiked around a little bit. This is also a good starting point for a hike to Wolf Knoll.
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Nice vicinity...
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And interesting formations...
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View towards Wolf Knoll.
White Pocket is also not far away.
The Hoodoo...
White Pocket from along the trail.
This trail back to the connecting road from Poverty Flat to White Pocket was partly pretty sandy and always goes uphill.
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We arrived at the gate. On the other side is the trail, coming from Sand Hills Ranch.
The weather at White Pocket did not look too promising.
We went up the hill and down the other side and soon arrived at the parking area of White Pocket.
The formations had been great as always.
Upcoming weather...
We enjoyed the area...
...and sometimes, the sun came out.
Wayne and Mike chatting...
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...It got very heavy and we got almost sandblasted. So we left after taking a good number of pictures from White Pocket.
On our way back to the parking area.
We went out the route via Big Sink connector...
...and stopped at the Condor Observation Point.
We aired up...
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...and went back to Cliff Dwellers Lodge.
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Here one can also download a gpx file of this trip:

Tracklog: Paw Hole, Steamboat Rock, Sand Hills Loop and White Pocket, Vermilion Cliffs NM, AZ (98 downloads)

The following map shows the trail:

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