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Pets allowed
Yes
Elevation Gain
?
Trail type
There-and-back
Distance
4.00 mi (6.44 km)
Please respect the outdoors and leave no trace. One tip how to dispose of waste properly: Pack out toilet paper and hygiene products. For more information, visit https://lnt.org/learn/7-principles

Located in the Rainbow Basin Natural Area, Owl Canyon is a big bang-for-your-buck hike. In only 2 miles you'll discover a myriad of geological formations, scramble through a little slot canyon, enjoy seasonal wildflowers and end up at an expansive view of the colorful basin. 

Owl Canyon cuts through several layers of volcanic and sedimentary rock. Each layer, with various colors and textures, contrasts with its neighbors, making a spectacular backdrop for this hike. With each curve of the canyon you'll see something new: cracked mudstone, conglomerate studded with multicolored rocks, and bright green clay. Visit the canyon in the spring to see even more colors: yellow prince's plume, red paintbrush and purple phacelia.

Find the trailhead at the north end of the campground and drop down into the canyon. From there, explore as far as your heart desires. There are several side canyons and caves worth exploring if you've got a sense of direction and a sense of adventure. Bring a headlamp and walk through the tunnel about a half mile up the canyon. See what other surprises you can find. Bring plenty of water and sun protection, as you won't find much shade. And check the forecast. If there's any rainfall predicted, stay out of the canyon. A flash flood would be dangerous here.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Winter
Spring
Summer
Fall

Congestion

Low

Parking Pass

Not Required

Pros

Beautiful views, fun scrambling.

Cons

Potential for flash floods.

Trailhead Elevation

3,050.00 ft (929.64 m)

Net Elevation Gain

200.00 ft (60.96 m)

Address

Owl Canyon Rd
Barstow, CA 92311
United States

Features

Big vistas
Wildflowers
Geologically significant

Location

Field Guide

Nearby Lodging + Camping

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