Do You Mean "White" Owl Canyon? (Lake Mead)

What happens when the spontaneity bug bites you on a Thursday afternoon and you know you're going to have do something about it?  You find yourself loading sleeping children in the van at 1AM and striking out on a 6-hr road-trip to southern Nevada, of course!  It happened to us two weeks ago, and we're going to spend this week telling you all about it-starting with an adventure at Lake Mead...


Lake Mead is very well known for boating and that little tiny thing called the Hoover Dam, but we don't own a boat and weren't feeling particularly tourist-y.  Instead we were looking for some really fun hiking.  On our drive down we scoured the internet and finally found a hike promising tunnels and slot canyons.  The description of the hike was great, but the directions to get there were a little hazy.  So, we stopped into the Lake Mead visitor center and had the following conversation...

Me: "We really want to take the kids hiking in a slot canyon."
Old Ranger: "There aren't any of those here.  You need to go to Lake Powell.  They have great ones."
Me: "Oh."
In my head: "You work for Lake Mead, Old Ranger.  How about trying to keep me here."
Me: "I read something about Owl Canyon.  Can you show me how to get there?
Old Ranger: "Never heard of it.  Stand here and wait a really long time and then I'll ask Young Ranger about it."**
Young Ranger: "Where do you want to go?"
Me:  "Owl Canyon, I think."
Young Ranger:  (looooooong pause) "Do you mean White Owl Canyon?"
In My Head: "How many owl canyons do you have?"
Me: "Yes, I suppose so."

And she finally gave me the directions.  But it wasn't over yet...

Old Ranger: "You make sure you're careful out there.  The terrain here can be very difficult."
Me:  "Oh, okay.  We hike in southern Utah all the time, so I think we'll be okay."
Old Ranger: "Your kids.  Make sure they're careful.  The terrain here can be very difficult."
Me: "Oh, okay, they hike in southern Utah all the time, so I think we'll be okay."
Old Ranger: "You make sure..." (repeat 5 times...you get the drift)

This was the first sign that we'd picked the right hike...


Not another soul on the trail.  The next parking area over was jam packed full and of course the simpler well-traveled trail near the visitor center was over-run with people.  But we had Owl Canyon 100% to ourselves the entire day!  The only challenge we faced was figuring out how to drop down into the valley...

B & P scrambled down here...
My husband and I kind of just went over here...
And on the way back up we realized there was an obvious path going down here...
Getting down to the trail was by far the most challenging part. After that, we were on our way...


For more stories from our hike
 and beautiful pictures of White Owl Canyon,



The White Owl Canyon Trailhead starts at
the 33 Hole Road Parking Area
off the Lake Mead Highway.
Stay to the left as you come to the 
3 parking areas

The trail drops down 
at the 2nd shelter house from the left.

The entire trail does make a big loop if you 
don't want to turn around like we did. 
A detailed description can be found here.

**I believe Old Ranger had never heard of White Owl Canyon,
as for some reason it's not listed on the area's official hiking list.