White Owl Canyon

Boulder City, NV

While this area offers many great long and challenging hikes, it also has several shorter ones that are very interesting.  Earlier this week we decided to try one that is right up a former teacher’s alley.   We drove a few miles along Lake Mead to visit White Owl Canyon which travels up an interesting narrow slot.

Hiking up a wash to the canyon

Entering the Canyon

The name of the canyon tells you that there might be owls nesting in the area.  So as we hiked we kept our eyes to the walls of the canyon for evidence of their presence.

It doesn’t take long to see evidence that owls hang around here.  Their “droppings” paint the sides of the canyon in numerous areas.

As part of the science program in her school, the nimble hiker presented owl pellets to her third graders for analysis.  So she was eager to check out the pellets found on the floor of the canyon.

Checking out a owl pellet


Now some of you may not be familiar with owl pellets.  A little info will be sufficient for you to understand.  It seems that owls swallow their prey whole, bones and all.  Their digestive system then separates the good from the bad, and the owl later regurgitates the unused portion of the prey.  That’s an owl pellet.   OK, so we were checking out what comes out of both ends of a bird!  Might be TMI  ? ? ?

Up close with an owl pellet


At the end of the narrow canyon the trail goes through two sets of drainage tunnels under roads.  The tunnels are large, and interesting to hike through.

Entering the first set of tunnels


The nimble hiker in the second tunnel

Returning to the Jeep parked near the picnic covers on the mesa


On the return drive we stopped at Sunset Point to watch the sun paint the mountains to the east as it went down.

While not long or challenging, the hike through White Owl Canyon is very interesting.  The chance to see what comes out of both ends of a bird should not be missed ! ! !

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35 Responses to White Owl Canyon

  1. Im so jealous you are still wearing shorts and hiking! We are so bundled up here in Galveston Island. I don t think any hiking or walking down at the beach will happen anytime soon.
    Love that sunset painting the mountain a mustard hue.

  2. Lindsay says:

    Nice … we’re missing the blue skies … all grey here in Sedona … boo! Safe travels onto your next destination … and may you have sunny skies 😊:)
    Keep your fingers crossed for us too 🙂

  3. Richard Savage says:

    My new trecking poles were delivered last Tuesday. When you were camped in Provo I’m sure you saw the mountains to the east. Lot of neat trails on the Bountiful Shore Line and up some of the canyons. Tried them out on one of the trails. What a difference. Thanks. For your incouragement. At 78 I need all the help I can get. Probably more coming down than up.

    • placestheygo says:

      So glad to hear you enjoyed your first trip out with the poles, Richard. They really do make a difference…especially coming down, as you mentioned. Happy hiking and be careful out there:)

  4. Dry heat. .. great trails. ..long days….envious.

  5. Erin says:

    Shorts … what are those? Very interesting about owl pellets … I learned something new. Thank you teacher 😉

    • placestheygo says:

      Sorry to be wearing shorts with all the cold in the rest of the country. I do believe we are in one of the few areas that has stayed warm. The chill did bring our temps down into the 70’s which is great. It does look like it will much cooler this coming week here in Lake Mead, but we are moving on to Death Valley where it will be in the 70’s:) Stay warm there in Texas.

      Glad we could teach you something new. Of course, owl pellets are not something everyone gets excited about!

  6. pmbweaver says:

    Put on those rubber gloves before you pick up those pellets girlfriend!
    Now that is something we have never done…hike through a drainage tunnel.
    Love the sunshine….something we haven’t seen in a while here in Houston.
    Yes to the hike; no to the pellets. You did a good job of educating us. I don’t need to experience it first hand.

    • placestheygo says:

      We have most definitely seen nothing but sun for our entire month stay here in the Lake Mead area. It has been a wonderful experience.

      Owl pellets can be great fun. I couldn’t get over how many pellets there were in such a short area. I was wishing I had a group of third graders to share this narrows with.

  7. Jodee Gravel says:

    My kids still remember the owl pellets from their middle school science classes – they were fascinated with the tiny bones – and owls suddenly became so much cooler! Great pic of Pam in the pipe – “Don’t go toward the light!!” You sure picked the right corner of the country to be in this week – I think we’re one of two places not getting smacked by that huge cold front. Safe travels to DVNP 🙂

    • placestheygo says:

      Yes, Jodee, we are both in the right place at the right time. It is strange to watch the news and see all those freezing locations and people all bundled up. I feel bad posting photos of us in shorts with a beautiful blue sky.

      Kids would love this canyon!! There were so many owl pellets and their “wash” was everywhere on the walls. We only saw one nest.

  8. Ingrid says:

    I first learned about Owl pellets watching an episode with ‘Dirty Mike’. Fascinating! Enjoy Death Valley…. we loved it. It has such a prehistoric feel to it that Al and I kept looking for dinosaurs LOL. Sure could use some of that warmth and sunshine here in Galveston. I think next winter we’ll be staying in the desert 😉

    • placestheygo says:

      Yes, staying in the desert during the winter might no be a bad idea. It can cool off and even snow a little but it doesn’t last as long as it can in Texas. Sure hope it warms up soon for all our friends that decided to head that way this winter.

      We are looking forward to Death Valley. This will be our first visit. I have a long list of hikes and sites so we will have some long days:)

  9. I want to find some owl pellets! Neat hike!

    • placestheygo says:

      I keep thinking of you and Hans as we hike around. You two would really enjoy this area. Besides all the hiking, there is a huge mountain biking area right behind the park called Bootleg Canyon. Maybe this area should be on future list!?

  10. We were surprised at all the hiking in that area. You’ve managed to stay busy and have given us some good ideas!

    • placestheygo says:

      You can stay busy for a long time especially if you hike or mountain bike. You and Jim will need to check out Bootleg Canyon which is right behind our park in Boulder City. It is a huge area for mountain biking with all levels of trails.

  11. Laurel says:

    Very cool hike! I’m wondering what kind of owls they might be referring to — barn owls because of their big white faces? We find things like owl pellets fascinating, too. 🙂

    • placestheygo says:

      You are correct about the owls being barn owls, Laurel. We should have added that to the blog. The site we were using for our hiking idea, also discusses the flora and fauna in each hike.

  12. RJRVtravels says:

    Enjoy Death Valley – it is a unique place with plenty to explore.

  13. LuAnn says:

    I learned something new today…owl pellets. 🙂 Enjoy your time in Death Valley. I’m looking forward to some lovely images . We are hoping to get there this winter.

  14. pam says:

    I always forget to look for owl pellets. So much to see when one is out hiking! Thanks for showing the one you found.

  15. Audi P says:

    We’re looking do to this hike in April, I’ve read that this is a loop trail… approximately how many miles is this round trip?

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