Shoreline & White Owl Canyon Loop
ElevationAscent: 223' 68 m
Descent: -223' -68 m
High: 1,424' 434 m
Low: 1,201' 366 m
GradeAvg Grade: 2% (1°)
Max Grade: 12% (7°)
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“White owls are often spotted in White Owl Canyon and horned owls are often spotted in Hippie Canyon.”— John Blackwell
Head down past the concrete barriers and turn right onto the Shoreline Trail which is marked by rocks lining the path. The trail is well-maintained and easy to follow as it leads along what used to be the shoreline only a couple of years ago.
This area is good for fishing, and we always see fishing boats out in the water. You may see water fowl such as white egrets and blue herons. You may spot osprey and turkey vultures! You can gaze out over the mud flats, where coyotes have been spotted.
You'll continue along a plateau above the steep bank that drops down to the mud flats. Fun!
The trail completes the circle with a small scramble at the end. An option was provided to run down below (in a dry Turtle Cove) toward the point at which we had climbed up to the first plateau area. Then you run around via the trail to White Owl Canyon that can be seen in the distance away from the lake.
As you near the canyon, be quiet as possible so as not to scare the resident white owls away ... if they are roosting nearby.
If the white owls are not home you can still see the nest clearly sitting in the same place as always up on the cliff to the right side of the canyon. This is a beautiful canyon and best to run through silently. At the end of the canyon, run through the first culvert. This single culvert runs underneath Lake Shore Road. The rounded corners of the canyon continued until you pass through the second culvert, a double culvert that runs underneath the River Mountains Loop Trail.
To the right, after exiting the second culvert, there is a cubby in the wall that hides an old bighorn skeleton. About all that remains are the backbone vertebrae.
The next section of the run leads up the wash for 1.7 miles. There are a couple of easy scrambles to start then the wash widens and turns to heavy gravel. It is (and always will be) a long slog up the shallow slope. Bighorn sheep scat is often visible through the narrow portions of the canyon. These creatures are often seen on the hill.
As you reach the top of the wash, finally, there is a huge wash junction of sorts. The wash continues up to the left. There is a small hill with rock seating up on the right, which is a good place to take a break.
Below the rocks, another wash flows past. This begins the final leg of the route along the River Mountains Loop Trail. So, drop down by way of the "cement" drainage between the previous wash and the new wash. This wash is much more interesting than the first. The drainage will narrow and the walls become more colorful. Head straight toward Lake Mead but, at the low level, you can not see the lake.
About half way down to the lake, you'll come to Corkscrew Canyon. You should go around to the left side of the slot. There is a large boulder blocking the final slide. At the top, you can sit and slide on the fine gravel slope.
At the bottom of this canyon wash, there is a final point of interest, Hippie Canyon. Duck through the third and final culvert then proceed to find your way through the slot maze below. After contorting yourselves through the obstacles, run out of the canyon and to the Shoreline Trail near where you began.
This is a fun run with a lot of variety!
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Land Manager: Lake Mead National Recreation Area