Lake Mead – White Owl Canyon

After touring Hoover Dam I didn’t have any more set plans so I decided to visit the Lake Mead National Recreation Area visitor center and see what I could find.  Took a short lunch break at Boulder Beach which already has some amazing scenery.

Park staff turned me towards a hike at Owl Canyon, a slot canyon where you can possibly see white barn owls roosting on the rocks.  Trail head can be accessed from the parking lot at 33 Hole Road.

Views across the wash seem endless.  This area used to be under water but the levels have been receding since 2010 making it accessible to hikers.

After a short trek through the wash & around some small mounds you arrive at the slot canyon which starts off being relatively wide.

The path quickly shrinks into some very narrow passages – still plenty large enough for a human to pass through without claustrophobia.  This spot reminds me of places I’ve been in Utah.

The cliffs widen a bit and continue for 1/2 to 1 miles.

Somewhere in the middle there are some fallen rocks that have wedged themselves together directly above the trail.  Brave enough to walk underneath them? (You can walk around them so don’t panic!)

In two spots there are metal culverts installed through the rocky cliffs to pass underneath.  Totally doesn’t feel like the start of a horror movie…

Past the second culvert the canyon widens greatly into a large wash with great views.  Temperatures in the shade were much cooler, almost to the point that it was cold enough for a jacket.

Another view further up the canyon.  This is near the end which isn’t marked with any signage – you could continue hiking unknowingly so make sure to follow GPS or the map!

Hiking back out the view are the same but different.  Back at the initial wash you can see a different perspective of the small cedar thickets.

Everything went well until I was almost back at the parking lot.  Some jackass with a large German Shepherd off-leash (very illegal) let it run up on me at full sprint from 100 yards away then acted like it was my fault.  If you have dogs please be responsible and keep them on a leash where required.  Reported to park staff / police for citation.  I don’t like to carry defensive items but next time Fido is going to taste my bear spray.

Hiking Data

Overall I felt this hike was relatively easy.  Elevation gain is consistent enough to be almost not noticeable aside from maybe one or two steep sections (one at the trail head is most dangerous).  There are no signs at the end of the trail and you could probably hike indefinitely so make sure you know your location on GPS!

Lat = 36.108223 , Long = -114.8525314 -- Show at Google Maps

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