header image

[Sign Up Now] to Receive Our FREE Daily SCVTV-SCVNews Digest by E-Mail

Inside
Weather
Santa Clarita CA
Clear
Clear
81°F
 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
August 3
1975 - Henry Mayo Newhall (Memorial) Hospital opens with 100 beds [story]
HMNMH


Commentary by Linda Castro
| Thursday, Sep 28, 2017

A California desert jewel lies about eight miles north of the Barstow in the Calico Peaks Range: Rainbow Basin Natural Area. As the name suggests, the rocks in the area are colorful, ranging from pinks and tans to greens and purples.

However, Rainbow Basin does not look like a basin. It is merely an opening in a mountain wall where geological artistry appears in splashes of color and layered waves of stone. The area holds a breathtaking variety of hills, washes and scenic canyons where water and wind have sculpted layers of sandstone and sediment to expose brilliantly colored formations.

Despite its close proximity to the city of Barstow, the area remains virtually undiscovered. The area does not contain an information center and holds minimal signage. However, it is well worth a visit. Visitors to the area can find scenic opportunities for hiking, rock scrambling, camping, photography, sightseeing and horseback riding.

For those who enjoy hiking or rock scrambling, the Owl Canyon Trail provides excellent opportunities for exploration. The Owl Canyon trailhead is located at the back of Owl Canyon Campground.

Other than the very beginning of the trail, there is no actual trail. Hikers just need to follow the wash into the canyon. For those looking for an easy, short hike, they can hike from the campground for a little less than one mile, where they will reach a six to eight-foot rock wall, at which point they can hike back to the campground. Beyond this point, there are parts of the canyon that are rated as “Class 3” scrambling, so it is recommend that only those with adequate rock scrambling experience go beyond this point.

About one-quarter mile into the canyon, be sure to look for a “cave” on the right (east) side of the canyon, which is actually a tunnel. If you have a flashlight with you, continue to walk through the cave very carefully. The other entrance lets out into a small, narrow canyon.

The Bureau of Land Management, which manages the Rainbow Basin Natural Area, has designated the area as an “area of critical environmental concern” and a California Desert National Conservation Land, due to the nationally significant landscape features and paleontological resources in the area.

The Rainbow Basin area was once a verdant marsh and the home of many prehistoric creatures. Miocene-age horses, camels, mastodons, saber-tooth cats and countless insects once lived in this valley. Their remains are embedded in the canyon walls, buried by sediments over time.

Many of the fossils found in Rainbow Basin are now on display in museums around the country. So many fossils have been discovered here that the geologists have called the geologic period the “Barstovian Stage” (referencing the close proximity to Barstow). Although you might find fossils in the area, it is important to keep in mind that permits are required to remove them. If any are found, please leave them in place and notify the BLM Barstow Field Office at 760-252-6000.

Within this area of critical environmental concern, routes are posted with “OPEN” route markers. The use of passenger vehicles and four-wheel drive vehicles is permitted only on designated and signed open routes.

The Fossil Canyon Loop Road is an interesting route for vehicle touring that provides multi-colored scenic views. This is a narrow, one-way dirt road that winds through narrow gorges and gouges. It is best driven with a high-clearance or four-wheel drive vehicle.

Weather extremes and poisonous snakes are desert hazards common to this area. Rainbow Basin has a flash flood risk, as well. Avoid low-lying areas during storms, and remember that rain upstream can cause flooding even though it is not raining in the immediate area.

To get to Rainbow Basin Natural Area, take old Route 58 to Fort Irwin Road, proceed north, then turn left on Fossil Bed Road and follow the BLM signs. From Main Street in Barstow, go north on First Avenue across the railroad tracks. Turn left at Irwin Road and go 6 miles. Then turn left on Fossil Road for 3 miles to Rainbow Basin Loop Road. Turn right and travel 1 mile to Owl Canyon Road, turn right and travel about 2 miles to Owl Canyon Campground.

 

 

Linda Castro is a nature enthusiast and animal lover. She is the Assistant Policy Director for the California Wilderness Coalition and serves on the board of the SCV-based Community Hiking Club.  Her commentaries relate to California’s deserts.

 

 

 

Comment On This Story
COMMENT POLICY: We welcome comments from individuals and businesses. All comments are moderated. Comments are subject to rejection if they are vulgar, combative, or in poor taste.
REAL NAMES ONLY: All posters must use their real individual or business name. This applies equally to Twitter account holders who use a nickname.

2 Comments

  1. jim says:

    Once upon a time (before George Deukmajian crapped on the California Junior Colleges), you could take an AA in mining and geology at AVJC. If you did take it, you would have learned how to do stratigraphic mapping at Rainbow Basin as part of the curriculum.

    And not just for the fossils, but for an understanding of the geologic and geomorphic processes that created that pocket-sized wonderland.

    Granted, you did need to have an understanding of the local flora and fauna, other wise you might walk up to without recognizing the Mojave Green rattlesnakes that abound in the area. Nasty buggers, with a very nasty attitude. If you stopped in front of them on the road, they would sit there coiled up; if you got out of the vehicle, being pit vipers they would follow your heat signature. And then they would head straight for you with murderous intent.

    I loved that weekend at Rainbow Basin, and only had to dodge the Mojave Greens twice. And I left them and their progeny for the rest of you.

  2. stan kirby says:

    It is nice to see reports around Barstow, the hi desert is really a great place to be.
    There is alot to know or simply to injoy

Leave a Comment


Opinion Section Policy
All opinions and ideas are welcome. Factually inaccurate, libelous, defamatory, profane or hateful statements are not. Your words must be your own. All commentary is subject to editing for legibility. There is no length limit, but the shorter, the better the odds of people reading it. "Local" SCV-related topics are preferred. Send commentary to: LETTERS (at) SCVNEWS.COM. Author's full name, community name, phone number and e-mail address are required. Phone numbers and e-mail addresses are not published except at author's request. Acknowledgment of submission does not guarantee publication.
Read More From...
RECENT COMMENTARY
Tuesday, Aug 3, 2021
As you drive around Santa Clarita, do you ever wonder what work is being done at your neighborhood park? Or when the new Sheriff’s Station will be complete? Maybe you want to go ice skating at The Cube or find out what issues are going before the City Council. There are several ways you can discover what’s going on in your city.
Monday, Aug 2, 2021
Santa Clarita is known throughout the state and the nation as a beautiful, safe community.
Thursday, Jul 15, 2021
A few years ago I was looking through my childhood artwork and projects that I had saved. As I reminisced over the paintings, stories, and sculptures I noticed that every single item was about animals.
Monday, Jul 5, 2021
As you drive around the city of Santa Clarita, you might not focus on the smooth roads, beautifully landscaped medians or upgraded intuitive traffic lights. These systems that are often overlooked help enhance your quality of life and are part of our Capital Improvement Projects.
Thursday, Jul 1, 2021
As we move into the warm summer months, it’s a great time of year for you and your family to take full advantage of the City’s miles of off-street trails, 35 parks, the Trek Bike Park of Santa Clarita, swimming pools and paseos, as well as local hiking venues.
Thursday, Jun 17, 2021
I began working for my local veterinarian when I was in high school and remained at that job until I left for college.

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
The Castaic Education Foundation Welcome Wagon announced it will be touring the Castaic community on Monday, Aug. 4, and Friday, Aug. 6 to visit students and their families as the first day of school closes in.
Castaic Education Foundation Welcome Wagon to Tour Castaic Community, Visit Students
Officials at the Santa Clarita Film Office said they have been “busy” in the last few months, a change from the March-June period from last year in which no productions were allowed to roll their cameras.
Santa Clarita Film Office Reports Over $34M Generated in 2021 Fiscal Year
Public comments from local organizations and residents submitted to the Los Angeles County Citizens Redistricting Commission this summer sent a uniform message to commissioners: Keep Los Angeles’s north county communities together.
SCV Residents, Groups Ask Redistricting Commission to Keep North County Communities Together
During Hispanic Heritage Month this year, Assemblywoman Suzette Valladares, R-Santa Clarita, will recognize constituents of Hispanic descent who have contributed to their community in the 38th Assembly District.
Valladares Opens Nominations for Hispanic Heritage Month Honorees
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health has identified the first case of human West Nile virus infection in L.A. County for the 2021 season.
Public Health Confirms First 2021 Case of West Nile Virus in LA County
On Tuesday, Los Angeles County Public Health officials confirmed 20 new deaths and 2,293 new cases of COVID-19 countywide, with 30,273 total cases in the Santa Clarita Valley.
Tuesday COVID-19 Roundup: 30,273 Total SCV Cases; Public Health to Host Virtual Town Hall on Schools Wednesday
The Los Angeles County Health Officer has issued a Heat Alert for the Santa Clarita Valley beginning Wednesday, Aug. 4.
LA County Health Officer Issues Heat Alert for SCV Beginning Wednesday
The Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation is inviting the public to provide input to help inform future planning and funding to address regional and rural park and recreation needs.
Countywide Effort Encourages Residents to Help Identify Regional, Rural Park Needs
Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital is now offering Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR), a cutting-edge minimally-invasive procedure to replace narrowed aortic valves that fail to properly open.
Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital Acquires TAVR Technology
Santa Clarita City Manager Ken Striplin has been recognized with the 2021 Award for Career Excellence in Memory of Mark E. Keane, a prestigious award given to one honoree each year from nominations of city managers across the country and around the globe.
City Manager Recognized With International Award of Excellence
As you drive around Santa Clarita, do you ever wonder what work is being done at your neighborhood park? Or when the new Sheriff’s Station will be complete? Maybe you want to go ice skating at The Cube or find out what issues are going before the City Council. There are several ways you can discover what’s going on in your city.
City Manager Ken Striplin: Connect With Your City
1975 - Henry Mayo Newhall (Memorial) Hospital opens with 100 beds [story]
HMNMH
Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital reported an additional death on Monday, bringing the total of COVID-19 related deaths to 153, hospital spokesman Patrick Moody said.
Monday COVID-19 Roundup: Henry Mayo Officials Report 153rd Death; Urge Those Eligible to Get Vaccinated
The Santa Clarita Public Library is excited to announce the return of the Summer Book Bag Sale!
Aug. 7-15: Friends of Santa Clarita Library Hosting Summer Book Bag Sale
Rancho Camulos Museum has launched a new visitor experience at the Rancho Camulos National Historic Landmark, "Last Sundays at the Landmark."
Rancho Camulos Launches ‘Last Sundays at the Landmark’
The city of Santa Clarita’s Film Office released the 11 productions currently filming in the Santa Clarita Valley for the week of Monday, Aug. 2 - Sunday, Aug. 8, 2021:
Filming This Week in SCV: ‘NCIS,’ ‘Leviathan,’ ‘MTV Cribs International,’ 8 More Productions
Registration Now Open for River Rally Volunteers
Registration Now Open for River Rally Volunteers
Mission Valley Bancorp announced Monday a net income of $1.6 million, or $0.48 per diluted share, for the second quarter of 2021, compared to net income of $398 thousand, or $0.12 per diluted share, for the second quarter of 2020.
Mission Valley Bank Releases 2Q Earnings
Saugus High School graduate Abbey Weitzeil anchored Team USA to a silver medal in the women’s 4×100 medley relay in her final swim of the Tokyo Olympics on Sunday.
Saugus High Alumna Abbey Weitzeil Anchors Relay Team to Silver
Santa Clarita is known throughout the state and the nation as a beautiful, safe community.
Mayor Miranda’s August Message: Enjoy All that Santa Clarita Is Offering This Summer
The Governing Board of the William S. Hart Union High School District will hold its Regular Meeting Wednesday, Aug. 4, beginning with a closed session at 6:00 p.m., followed immediately with open session at 7:00 p.m.
Hart District Returning to In-Person Meetings; Public May Now Attend
Do you believe in magic? Then join The MAIN, located at 24266 Main Street in Newhall, for “Enchanted: An Evening of Magic” on Friday, Aug. 20, at 8:00 p.m.
Tickets Now Available for ‘Enchanted: An Evening of Magic’ at The MAIN
Majestic Princess returned to Seattle on Sunday, concluding its sailing to Alaska and marking the first successful United States voyage for Princess Cruises following the extended pause in operations.
Princess Cruises Concludes First Successful Voyage Following Operations Pause
Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn announced Saturday morning that she’s planning to introduce a motion requiring all county employees “to get the vaccine or face weekly COVID testing.”
Hahn Announces Plan to Propose Vaccine Mandate for L.A. County Employees
%d bloggers like this: