Distance from HQ: 3.9 miles
Elevation gain/loss: +90/-1500 feet
Camp elevation: 1,200 feet
Picnic table: only near site #3
Outhouse: yes, on Poverty Flat road, across from site #4.
Water: nearest water source is Coyote Creek. Potable water is NOT available at the Poverty Flat Campsites.
Number of sites: 5, for groups of 1-8 people. Campsites 3 & 4 can be combined into a group site (if available).
Site #1 is on the Middle Ridge Trail, about 200 yards from Poverty Flat road, so it is easy to miss if you think it is on the road!
Site #2 is nicely located away from the main road and next to the creek
Sites #3 and #4 are along the Poverty Flat Road, and are easy to see. #3 has a picnic table.
Site #5 is back across the creek at the start of the Creekside trail. It is quite hard to find the trail, and there is a lot of poison oak. It looks as though most people avoid the trail and just go straight across the creek to the flat area towards China Hole.
The Middle Fork of Coyote Creek runs through Poverty Flat, which is nestled in the canyon between Pine Ridge and Middle Ridge. The five backpack sites in the area are spread out along the rocky creek and are pleasantly shaded by large oaks and sycamore trees. In wet years, the creek flows throughout the spring, and in the summer and early fall scattered pools of water remain in the creek bed. In drought years, when the creek-bed is dry, you can usually find pools of water about a half mile upstream.
You may wonder how this lovely little canyon became associated with poverty. Joseph Finley once homesteaded the area, and he had a tough time growing crops due to the scarcity of sunlight and the abundance of infertile, rocky soil. Nevertheless, Finley refused to sell when Henry Coe offered to buy the land to enlarge his own holdings. So Henry, obviously peeved, began calling Finley's homestead "Poverty Flat."