Owl Canyon

Barstow, California

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During the Barstovian Land Mammal age 12–16 million years ago, the Mojave Desert received much more rainfall and resembled the savannas of Africa. Large animals, including mastodons, camels, and dog-bears roamed the grasslands. Their fossils can be found today in the green, brown, and white sedimentary rock around Rainbow Basin. The basin also contains a complex mix of older granite rock and recent volcanic rock, all of which has been bent and twisted by fault action into an exotic badland. Because of its unique paleontological and geological value, the area has been designated a National Natural Landmark and an Area of Critical Environmental Concern. Collecting fossils without a permit is illegal. Bring a flashlight to explore an unusual natural tunnel along the way.

Owl Canyon Professional Review and Guide

"During the Barstovian Land Mammal age 12–16 million years ago, the Mojave Desert received much more rainfall and resembled the savannas of Africa. Large animals, including mastodons, camels, and dog-bears roamed the grasslands. Their fossils can be found today in the green, brown, and white sedimentary rock around Rainbow Basin. The basin also contains a complex mix of older granite rock and recent volcanic rock, all of which has been bent and twisted by fault action into an exotic badland. Because of its unique paleontological and geological value, the area has been designated a National Natural Landmark and an Area of Critical Environmental Concern. Collecting fossils without a permit is illegal. Bring a flashlight to explore an unusual natural tunnel along the way."

Activity Type: Hiking
Nearby City: Barstow
Distance: 4
Elevation Gain: 1,000 feet
Trail Type: Out-and-back
Skill Level: Moderate
Duration: 3 hours
Season: October-April
Accessibility: Dog-friendly

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