White Owl Canyon is so easy to get to and yet it seems so remote when you are in this owl infested slot canyon.
It’s March and the temperatures are in the 70s in and around Las Vegas. It’s the perfect time to hike in the desert. The cacti are starting to bloom and wildlife is coming out to do what wildlife do in springtime.
White Owl Canyon is a great place to see owls if you go there early in the morning with just a few people who can be very quiet. You are likely to see owls in the rocks near the top of the slot canyon. You are also likely to see other wildlife such as big horn sheep, coyotes, hawks, eagles, ravens and snakes. Since it is springtime take extra care not top disturb nests or nesting activity.
To get to White Owl Canyon you need to find 33 Hole Vista Point between the Henderson entrance to Lake Mead NRA and the Boulder City entrance to Lake Mead NRA along Lakeshore Road. Once you turn into the vista point area, look for the first picnic ramada on the left and park. The trail descends steeply into the lake bed from this first ramada. Follow the trail along the lake shore for approximately ½ mile to the NW where a wash comes into the lake. Follow the wash to the left, away from the lake, and it will turn into a slot canyon a few hundred yards upstream.
This slot canyon is where you find owls in the rocks up high. You can find many owl pellets on the floor of the canyon where owls have regurgitated indigestible animal parts. If you look closely at the pellets, you will see small animal bones and skulls.
As you get further up the canyon, it opens back up to a wider canyon and you walk through two different culverts, one that runs underneath Lakeshore Road and the next one that runs underneath the bike trail. Bring a flashlight for safety and be careful where you step so you don’t accidentally step on a snake.
This is a beautiful, photogenic and fairly easy hike, with the exception of the first 50 yards down the hill from the picnic ramada. Wear good shoes and as usual, bring plenty of water. As with any wash or slot canyon, stay out when there is the treat of heavy rain to avoid being caught in a flash flood.
Birdandhike.com gives a pretty good description on how to get to the canyon at http://www.birdandhike.com/Hike/LAME/WhiteOwl/_WtOwl.htm . They mention barn owls in this website. When I was there, I saw a great horned owl as shown in the photo below.