A Stop in Barstow, then on to Boulder City

Boulder City, NV

On our final day in Lone Pine, CA we went over to the nearby Mt. Whitney Golf Course to play nine holes.  We played this course two years ago with Dave and Sue and enjoyed the course and the great views of the nearby mountains.  The course is not in very good shape now, but the views are just as beautiful.

Tough to focus on golf with this view of Mt. Whitney

The caddie enjoyed the view more than the golf!

The day after golf we headed south on US 395.  Our destination was Boulder City, NV but the drive of over 300 miles is much too long for us.  So we booked a site in a small RV park outside of Barstow, CA (halfway to Boulder City) for two nights.  There is not much to do or see in Barstow, but just to the north is a nice area operated by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).  To get there we drove north on Irwin Road for about five miles, then went west on Fossil Bed Road (a fairly smooth dirt road) and followed the signs to Owl Canyon Campground where the Owl Canyon Trailhead is located.

The trail is mostly in a dry wash with decent footing.

After a short distance we went up a side trail on to a mesa overlooking the wash.  The mesa gave us a nice view of the surrounding area.

Looking south on the mesa

Looking down into the wash from the mesa

Elephant toes?

Dropping back down into the wash

A narrow section of the wash

About a half mile up the wash there is an entrance to a cave that goes about 20 yards into  an adjacent canyon.  You can get through the cave without a light, but it’s pretty dark so we took out a flashlight to help us through.

Cave entrance

A young spelunker coming out

We went through the cave to the other side and returned back through it to the trail.

After a bit less than a mile we came to three pour-overs, where water drops over a falls from six to ten feet high.  The wash was narrow and the rocks on either side provided good hand rails to help us up.  About a mile up the trail we came to a clearing, where we turned around.  The trail continues further up the wash but we had seen enough for the day.

Back town one of the pour-overs

Another pour-over

A slot section

Near Owl Canyon Campground is Rainbow Basin Natural Area, a short, one-way loop road through a mishmash of shapes, colors, and interesting formations sculptured by water and wind.

The loop begins on a wide dirt road, but it soon narrows as it winds through the rocks.  Any car or small truck can navigate the road, but the turns are too tight for a long vehicle or with a trailer.

The next morning we headed north on I-15.  We wanted to avoid traffic in Las Vegas so we left the interstate at exit 286 and headed east on Nipton Road.  After 13 miles we reached the state line, where the road becomes NV 164 and is called the Joshua Tree Highway.  After a few miles we could see where the highway gets its name, as the Joshua Trees were all around us.

The road ends at the junction of US 95 in Searchlight, NV where we turned north and drove the rest of the way to Boulder City.

The main purpose for going to Boulder City was to be near a decent airport.  This year instead of driving the motorhome all the way to the east coast we decided to fly back.  So we parked the motorhome in Canyon Trails RV Park for a month and the next day headed to McCarran Airport for a flight to Baltimore.  We don’t like to leave the motorhome for that length of time but, fortunately, our neighbor in the park is a federal police officer who works in security at the nearby Hoover Dam.  Kevin is a nice guy and volunteered to keep an eye on it for us.

As we parked the Jeep in the long term lot at the airport, the view to our west was a bit eerie.  The large golden hotel in the photo below is Madalay Bay.  The arrow points to the broken window where a shooter fired down into a crowd of people enjoying an outdoor concert across the street.  The view was pretty humbling!

So now we are back east to complete some routine medical appointments and visit with family for two weeks.

crossing the snow covered Rockies

We are currently in our former home town of York, PA visiting our daughter.  Our plan is to drive north to the Thousand Islands along the St. Lawrence River to visit Pam’s mother, then return here and fly down to Atlanta to visit our son.

More on that later . . .

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15 Responses to A Stop in Barstow, then on to Boulder City

  1. Jeff Pierce says:

    I have camped in Rainbow Basin (sans the RV) many times, but never did your hike. It looks awesome! I have had limited success with spying a desert tortoise tho 🙂 The only time (June 2012) I took the RV up there we got a flat tire!, but I think it’s time o go back for a hike ….

  2. Debbie L says:

    Your blog posts are always so chick full of amazing things and a surprise or two. Of course the saddest thing is to see Madalay Bay. 😢
    We’ve decided if and when we get out west, we will stay six months but halfway through, fly back just as you are doing. Sometimes that just makes sense. We had to park ours for a month to go help my mom and step dad. The RV park owners were wonderful and gave us a great site with a 30 amp for the fridge. And where they could “watch” it! You meet the nicest people along the way!
    Enjoy your time back east and we pray all your routine check ups remain routine! 😀

  3. pmbweaver says:

    I really like the hike. A bit challenging but lots of beauty.
    Looking down on the snow covered mountains is awesome. It is difficult to believe anyone could climb them.
    Hope all is well at home. I bet Jessica is so excited to see y’all. Enjoy your visit with mom. I know she will have a list ready for John. Lol

  4. LuAnn says:

    Enjoy your time with family!

  5. Jodee Gravel says:

    Great pics of the mountain goat navigating the hillside – wow! The desert never disappoints with all the different shapes and textures. Wonderful to see Joshua Trees 🙂 I think about the “historic sites” of other horrible events and how the Mandalay Bay will forever be scarred by that window. Glad you found a nice spot to leave your house. Tell Mom we said hello!!!

  6. Looks like some fun hiking at Owl Canyon. Hope you’re having fun “back east” with family!

  7. That looks like a fun hike! SO much scrambling!

  8. Sherry says:

    You do find the neatest spots to hike that I’ve never heard of. Such great trails. Maybe baby elephant toes but it looks like you guys were the only things pouring over the pour-overs. So what’s your secret for finding #1 a campground that would allow you to leave your RV for a month unattended and #2 a Neighbor who is an officer of the law to watch it for you? That’s pretty sweet all around. Great idea for heading east for those who don’t want to stay long. Wish I could just get west, I’d follow your lead, for a while at least.

  9. Gay says:

    Love the Rainbow Basin Loop…awesome rocks!
    Have a great time with family….

  10. Upriverdavid says:

    I agree..Enjoy your East coast trip….You will be back…I hear your rigs calling you…Where did you go?…Usually you just hike for a few hours……

  11. Laurel says:

    That was definitely a lot of scrambling on that Owl Canyon Hike! The dry desert landscape looks so foreign to me after all these months in the Pacific Northwest. I think we’re going to be in landscape culture shock when we finally leave here in November. Enjoy your family visits! :-))

  12. geogypsy2u says:

    I think I saw signs for some of those BLM areas near Barstow last winter. Have fun in the east.

  13. Ruth says:

    Next time you are in the Barstow, CA area, check out Sawtooth Canyon, which is on the opposite side of Barstow from the Rainbow Basin and Owl Canyon. There is an arch there, much like the ones in your recent post. Great place for scrambling up and down rocky ridges. It is off Hwy 248, going towards Big Bear and Lucerne Valley, on the right side after Slash X “Ranch.”

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