The trailhead is located about three miles from Lake Las Vegas on Lakeshore Scenic Drive. The route drops from a paved parking area onto ground formerly covered by the waters of Lake Mead, then turns into a narrow caliche canyon that was also underwater at one point. Within that canyon are the remains of rodents and other small animals captured and eaten by the owls who frequent the high ledges within the canyon.
There are some areas of scrambling.
Drive out East Lake Mead Parkway and pass through the Lake Mead NRA fee booth. Bearing around to the right, drive about two miles then turn left onto the old marina road. Again staying to the right, you'll follow the road all the way down to where there used to be a bustling boat landing. Now there is no water to launch any watercraft at all. Only a small river passes by a couple of hundred feet below where you park on the old ramp.
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 hike down below (in a dry Turtle Cove) toward the point at which we had climbed up to the first plateau area. Then you hike 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 hike through silently. At the end of the canyon, hike 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 hike 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, hike out of the canyon and to the Shoreline Trail
near where you began.
This is a fun hike with a lot of variety!
White owls, horned owls, coyotes, and bighorn sheep are often spotted.
Parts of this hike were once under the waters of Lake Mead.