Saturday

Daytrip - White Owl Canyon

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The Trailhead for the White Owl Canyon is located along Lakeshore Drive in Lake Mead National Recreation Area at the 33 Hole Road turnoff. 33 Hole Road leads to three scenic overlooks, each with a different name. Turn left towards Three-Island Overlook and drive into the parking lot at the end of the road. A trail leads down the steep hill to the flats looking toward the western most edge of Lake Mead. A trail runs south easterly along the flats to what is known as White Owl Canyon. This narrow canyon is over a 1/4 mile long and is known as a roosting place for Barn Owls. Click here for pictures and a description of this hike ... White Owl Canyon - Hike.

Friday

Daytrip - Natural Bridge and Spring Hike

A natural bridge is found near the Eldorado Wilderness area just north of Nelson, Nevada. What’s the difference between a natural bridge and a natural arch? Arches are formed by various geological processes, weathering processes but not flowing water. Over time, persistent winds and freeze-thaw action have slowly eroded openings through vertical sandstone blocks. All natural bridges are all formed by flowing water and either spanned a waterway or did so in their past, and hence are a less common feature than an arch. This hike is only 2 miles roundtrip. Click here for pictures and a description of this hike ... Natural Bridge and Spring Hike.

Thursday

Daytrip - Desert Bighorn Sheep

From US-95, turning left (east) onto NV SR-165 towards Nelson we drove approximately 8 miles to  an unsigned gravel road on the left. There are several areas along this unnamed road that are spots people use for target shooting. Driving past most of them the road splits. We went to the right and followed a very winding sandy wash through what is like a canyon surrounded by mountains on both sides. At about halfway we spotted two large Desert Bighorn Sheep high up on a ridge. Click here for piacures of these sheep ... Desert Bighorn Sheep in Eldorado Mountains

Wednesday

Daytrip - Whitney Pocket & Arizona Road

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Whitney Pocket is located at the base of the Virgin Mountains in the Gold Butte National Monument. It is a palette of sandstone color. ‘Whitney” is the surname of an original landowner; "Pockets" is due to the pockets of red Aztec sandstone that has been exposed by the erosion of the lower fringes of the Virgin Mountains. This grouping of yellow, tan and rusty red sandstone outcrops exhibit unusual erosion patterns full of cave-like holes and bowls throughout the monoliths. The area is best know for the Whitney Pocket Dam built between 1933 to 1942 by the Civilian Conservation Corp (CCC). A nearby cave, in a Aztec sandstone monolith opposite the dam, was walled in by the CCC. In spite of CCC and cattlemen’s efforts to harvest the scarce water supplies, this region does not favor successful ranching. The summers are unbearably hot and often the winters are quite harsh. The road runs to the Arizona border. Click her for pictures and a description of this trip ... Whitney Pockets and Arizona Road.

Tuesday

Daytrip - Petroglyph Wash - Arizona

For this trip, go about 36 miles south from the dam. From the Dam drive 19 miles on US-93. Turn left onto the Temple Bar Rd (Mojave Country Rd No. 143). Drive 13 miles until just before it makes a sharp right turn. At this point, leave the paved road and proceed straight ahead (north) towards the lake on Bonelli Landing Road (Road No.74). Drive down and look for AR71, the Cohenour Loop Road. Go left at the fork. Drive west on AR71 for 3 miles. Petroglyphs are on both side of the road where it passes through the rocks and cliffs. Click here for pictures and a description of this trip ... Petroglyph Wash - Arizona

Wednesday

Natural Bridge & Spring

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This page last updated on 01/16/2020
(Fig. 01) Picture by Robert Croke
(Fig. 02)
DirectionsFrom Las Vegas, drive south on Highway 95/93 towards Boulder City. Past Railroad Pass turn right onto Highway 95 towards Searchlight and drive south for about 10 miles to Nelson Road (Highway 165). Turn left onto Nelson Road and drive east for about 9.5 miles to the trailhead turnoff. At the trailhead turnoff, either park off the pavement or drive up the fairly rough road for 0.17 miles to the end of the road. There is a circle cleared, park here; this is the trailhead. Sorry, I had problems with my camera. I took pictures of the area, but they didn't get captured.

Description of the Natural Bridge and Hike: The natural bridge (Fig. 01) and spring trail makes for a great winter hike. Natural bridges are rarer than arches. What’s the difference between a natural bridge and a natural arch? Arches are formed by various geological processes, weathering processes but not flowing water. Over time, persistent winds and freeze-thaw action have slowly eroded openings through vertical sandstone blocks. All natural bridges are all formed by flowing water and either spanned a waterway or did so in their past, and hence are a less common feature than an arch.
The hike is a good, but due to the couple of up and down of ridges and the fact that the return is uphill all the way make it a moderately strenuous hike. It is about 2 miles round-trip and requires some rock scrambling, especially at the end near the bridge. The hike is marked by "RED" on the map in Fig. 02. At an elevation of 3,510 feet, it loses about 200 feet in elevation on the way down the wash to the bridge.

01/14/2020 Hike Notes: After leaving the pavement, drive up the fairly rough road for 0.17 miles to where the road ends at a cleared circle. Park here, this is the trailhead. Hike up the first small ridge directly in front of you. From the top of here, head toward the ridgeline on a faint but obvious trail. The trail gently undulates for the first quarter mile. Eventually you drop into a well-defined wash, which will serve as the trail for the rest of the hike. After you drop into the wash, you will go left or downstream. Hiking the the majority of the wash is relatively easy. The further downhill you hike, the more you begin to encounter larger rocks and vegetation closer to the spring (Figs.08& 09). After about one-half mile, you will come to a giant boulder that is about 25 feet tall and 15 feet wide (Fig.10). It seems very out of place and seems to defy gravity and looks like, if you pushed on it, the boulder might fall. In (Fig. 11) Jim and Ron are trying to prevent if from falling.

(Fig. 08)
(Fig. 09)
(Fig. 10)
(Fig. 11)
Notes Continued: Just after the big rock you begin to see signs of water and some more thick vegetation such as healthy and large scrub oak.  The wash gets rockier and the vegetation becomes quite dense as you approach the bridge. Directly before the bridge, you either have to crawl through the heavy brush and drop down about six feet off of some large boulders or slide down between two large boulders that required a drop of again six to seven feet. Neither Ron nor I attempted either of these. Getting down we could have done, but were quite nervous about how to get back up. In the center of (Fig. 12) is the only glimpse I got of the bridge (Its left side). Both Bob and Jim made it and got to the bridge and took some great pictures (Figs. 13 thru 17). Pictures 13 thru 17 were taken by Jim Herring. The bridge that spans over the wash/canyon is about 30 feet across and the opening about 15 to 20 feet high. The last three pictures show ice that we encountered on some boulders and shots of the trail. After we backtracked out of the spring, we drove down highway 165 past the Techatticup Mine site to the Eldorado Wilderness Road to have lunch. This road showed us nothing. We drove about seven miles until we began to see the water of the Lake Mead river (Fig. 21). Because the road ended in just another three miles and we decided to turnaround and return to highway 165. Refer to the yellow shaded road on the map in (Fig. 02)

(Fig. 12)
(Fig. 13)
(Fig. 14)

(Fig. 15)
(Fig. 16)
(Fig. 17)
(Fig. 18)
(Fig. 19)
(Fig. 20)

(Fig. 21) Pictures taken along the Eldorado Wilderness Road

White Owl Canyon Hike

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This page last updated on 01/25/2020
(Fig. 01)
Directions: This hike is located along Lakeshore Drive in Lake Mead National Recreation Area, about 30 minutes southeast of Las Vegas. From the intersection of Highway 93/95 and Lake Mead Parkway, drive east on Lake Mead Parkway over the hills to the park entrance station. Then continue east on what is now Lakeshore Road. You will shortly pass the intersection with Northshore Road. Continue on Lakeshore Road east and south for 3.8 miles to 33 Hole Road. Turn left and drive east on the access road towards the lake and picnic areas. 33 Hole Road leads to three scenic overlooks, each with a different name. Turn left towards Three-Island Overlook and drive into the parking lot at the end of the road. Park here, this is the trailhead.

Description of Area: From the trailhead, the route runs past a few trailhead signs by the west-most picnic table. From here you are presented with a view of the flats looking toward the western most edge of Lake Mead. Directly in front of you, a loosely graveled the trail heads down over the side a of the very steep hill, down to the flats below.  The flats are a now-dry lake bed. Referring to the pictures in (Fig. 02) you can see how the area below the hill was once covered with water from the lake twenty years ago. Today the route continues west through saltcedar thickets following use-trails that lead onto north-facing hillsides. Following the contour around, the route passes a bit of a point and turns southwest into what is known as White Owl Canyon. 25 years ago, the water from the lake nearly reached the mouth of owl canyon. The narrows of the canyon were cut into solid rock by flowing water. The rock here is a type of conglomerate formed from ancient alluvial fan deposits (Fig. 09). When alluvial fan deposits consolidate to become conglomerate rock, geologist call it "fanglomerate" rock, combining the terms "alluvial fan" and "conglomerate."
SIDE NOTE: As of Sunday, January 26, 2020 at 6:00:00 PM the level of Lake Mead is 134.90 Feet. The level is 134.90 feet below full pool of 1,229.00 (MSL - Mean Sea Level: The average level of the ocean's surface, calculated as the arithmetical mean of hourly tide levels taken over an extended period and used as the standard for determining terrestrial and atmospheric elevations and ocean depths.)        Click here to read the full side note titled  20 Year Drought & Water Levels at Lake Mead
(Fig. 02) Made by Bob Croke
(Fig. 03)
(Fig. 04)
(Fig. 05)
(Fig. 06)
(Fig. 07)
Hike Notes Continued:  After continuing on the flats, the route continues west through saltcedar thickets following use-trails that lead onto north-facing hillsides and then turns southwest into White Owl Canyon. Before long, the walls steepen and become deep as the route enters the first narrows area (Fig. 08), which is about 1/4-mile long. This size of this canyon is quite impressive. As we began winding our way through the narrows, we looked for the big splashes of "white wash" high on the rock walls. The white wash is Barn Owl poop. Lower in the canyon, small patches of bird poop reveal the presence of smaller birds, probably Rock Wrens and Say's Phoebes. Beneath the white wash (Fig. 11) produced by the owls, we looked for owl pellets (Fig. 12). These are oblong clumps of bone and fir that were regurgitated by owls. The pellets usually are 2- 3 inches long by about 1-inch in diameter. Pellets are coughed up, not pooped out, so they are relatively clean and safe to pick up and examine. Barn owls eat their prey entire without ripping it apart, so they consume everything, including the indigestible parts. They can't pass the indigestible parts, so they cough them up and spit them out. Often large leg and arm bones are evident on the surface, and skulls and jaws are easy to see. The owls here eat lots of desert woodrats and kangaroo rats. About the only thing of interest was a nest higher on one of the walls. We assumed that it was an owl nest (Fig. 13). Just beyond the last of the white wash on the rock walls, the narrow canyon opens abruptly just below Lakeshore Road. A culvert runs under the road (Figs. 14 & 15), which provides easy access to the other side of the road. On our return, the view in (Fig. 16) is of the flatbed area as you exit the canyon. All in all there wasn't anything really outstanding except for the beautiful narrow canyon. We didn't expect to see an owl. Don't even know if they still any longer inhabit the canyon. Just another local hike off our list of hikes around Las Vegas. Just another beautiful day enjoying hiking, good friends and fellowship.

(Fig. 08)
(Fig. 09)
(Fig. 10)

(Fig. 11) Click to enlarge and view the owl (white) poop 

(Fig. 12)
(Fig. 13) See owls nest
(Fig. 14) View from the other side of Lakeshore drive
(Fig. 15) Culvert under Lakeshore Drive
(Fig.16)


Note: Every attempt is made to provide accurate information, but occasionally depictions are inaccurate by error of mapping, navigation or cataloging. The information on this site is provided without any warranty, express or implied, and is for informational and historical purposes only.


Coyotes - vs Wolves or Foxes

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This page last updated on 02/23/2020
(Fig. 01)
Picture Notes: The pictures in (Figs. 01-03) were taken on 01/29/2020 off Kingman Wash Road and Fortification Hill Road in the Lake Mead National Recreation Area, about 2 miles over the bridge into Arizona. Here is the page for the place where we took these pictures ... Fortification Hill Road. Because I forgot my camera today, my friend Jim Herring, shot all of the pictures shown here. It is difficult to differentiate the difference between Coyotes and Wolves. You decide. In all of my hiking I have only seen coyotes on three occasions. The first time was while driving Bitter Spring Backcountry Byway Road. The last three pictures (Figs. 05-07) were the two coyotes we spotted near Bitter Spring. Here is the page for the place where I took these pictires ... Bitter Spring Backcountry Byway.

(Fig. 02)
DescriptionCoyotes vs wolves and foxes. It may be challenging to spot the difference between a coyote and a wolf or fox because of their similarities at a glance. But, looking closely, one would firstly notice that coyotes are much larger than the foxes. Coyotes are larger than foxes but are smaller than the wolves. Unlike a wolf, a coyote has a bushy, thick tail, which it holds low to the ground. Coyotes hunt primarily in pairs, while wolves hunt in packs. As a point of interest, the animals we observed today were three hunting food together. Based upon the descriptions below, I think these are wild Coyotes. 

Coyotes can weight from 20 to 46 pounds and have a long snout with triangular ears. They are larger than foxes but smaller than the wolves. Coyotes average 24 inches tall at the shoulder and, including the tail are approximately four feet in length. Coyotes in the desert average about 20 pounds, while those found in mountainous areas can average twice that. Females are slightly smaller than males. The coat is predominantly gray, changing to tan along the belly, legs, muzzle and ears. Some guard hairs, as well as the tail are tipped with black. The intensity and amount of coloring varies and individuals are usually lighter in the winter. The legs of a coyote are visibly thinner than those of a wolf. Coyotes can hunt during the day. Wolves generally have gray, black, or white fur and are bigger in size than the coyotes.

In general their habitat range from the low desert valleys to the alpine ridges. Coyotes are found in about any type of habitat where they can find food and a place to hide. They seem to show some preference for brush covered rolling hills and flats. Coyotes have perhaps the most varied habitat of any animal in Nevada. The coyote is an opportunistic feeder. In most areas of Nevada, rabbits, rodents and carrion make up the bulk of the coyote diet. Coyotes in urban areas forage at landfills and raid garbage cans and have been known to take domestic dogs and cats.

(Fig. 03)

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(Fig. 05)
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(Fig. 07)

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Note: Every attempt is made to provide accurate information, but occasionally depictions are inaccurate by error of mapping, navigation or cataloging. The information on this site is provided without any warranty, express or implied, and is for informational and historical purposes only.



Fortification Hill Road

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This page last updated on 02/04/2019

(Fig. 01)
Directions: This road is located in Lake Mead National Recreation Area, about 50 minutes southeast of Las Vegas. From town, drive out towards Hoover Dam, then continue south on Hwy 93 over the bridge into Arizona for about 2 miles to Exit 2, Kingman Wash Road. Exit the highway, turn left, drive under the highway, and continue east and then north on Kingman Wash Road. At about 3.2 miles out, turn right at a pair of restrooms (no road sign) onto Fortification Hill Road. This is the beginning of Fortification Hill Road.

Description of Area: About three miles out you will be faced with what is called the Paint Pots area.  Turning right at the restroom, this intersection, is a less maintained dirt road runs ahead due east for about a mile to the mine itself. This quite rough road ends at an elevation of 2,431 feet, for a total climb from the trailhead of nearly 1,100 feet. 

01/29/2020 Trip Notes: Because we didn't realize that the start of this road was at the restroom, we drove ahead to the edge of Lake Mead. We then turned right and drove what looked like an old road that led into the Paint Pots area. Driving along we were confronted with some beautiful colorful views of the rocks in the Paint Pots (Figs 03 & 04). While driving up this road we came across what I think were three wild coyotes (Fig. 05) that appeared to be going from campsite to campsite foraging for food (Figs. 06 thru 08). For more on coyotes go to ... Coyotes vs Wolves or Foxes.  Coming to a dead end, we eventually turned around and went back to the restroom and found the beginning of Fortification Road. We only drove about a mile up this road and came to a road that turned left and headed to Fortification Hill. This was the trailhead for the trail. We followed ahead for about a quarter of a mile, and seeing nothing interesting we turned around and headed back to the trailhead.
SideNote: This is a moderately difficult, 4-mile round-trip hike that follows a use trail to the summit. The route starts in a wash southeast of Fortification Hill and follows washes and ridges to a basalt headwall, which is passed with a few feet of 3rd class climbing and a steep, rocky gully. From the top of the gully, the relatively flat trail runs west along the southern edge of the mesa for about 0.6 miles to the summit. The route climbs about 1,400 feet, but most of the elevation gain is in the middle-third of the hike. The views from the top of the mesa are spectacular and include much of Lake Mead, Hoover Dam, and all of the surrounding mountains.
Seeing that none of us were interested in a strenuous 4 mile hike we headed back to the outhouse and over to the Kingman Wash Road and drove back to the highway.

(Fig. 02)

(Fig. 03)
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(Fig. 6) Click to Enlarge
(Fig. 07) Click to Enlarge
(Fig. 08) Click to Enlarge


Note: Every attempt is made to provide accurate information, but occasionally depictions are inaccurate by error of mapping, navigation or cataloging. The information on this site is provided without any warranty, express or implied, and is for informational and historical purposes only.

Go Back to the previous page ... Kingman Wash Road & Mine