Exploring Moab's Owl Panel
A fairly easy day hike to an interesting petroglyph panel showcasing a variety of intriguing depictions, including a remarkably detailed carving of an owl and a life-size anthropomorphic figure.
Trailhead elevation 4,150'
Water filterable at Kane Creek
Don't miss the petroglyphs prior to the Owl Panel
Hiking to the Owl Panel
The trailhead is located along Kane Creek Road at coordinates 38.524089, -109.601683. This is the trailhead for both the Hymasa foot trail and the Cliffhanger 4x4 Road. Parking is not permitted at the trailhead, but there are several pull off areas along Kane Creek Road with the closest being 0.1 miles past the trailhead near coordinates 38.523556, -109.602784. Once you're at the trailhead you can either begin hiking the signed Hymasa Trail to the left or proceed down the signed 4x4 road straight ahead. For this article we'll focus on starting along the Hymasa Trail, but it doesn't matter which way you go. The Hymasa Trail eventually runs into the 4x4 road and then continues as one trail from there. From the Hymasa Trailhead, follow the well traveled trail for about 0.2 miles at which point you'll have the view in the photo below to your left.
If you have binoculars, use your camera's zoom, or have really good eyesight you'll be able to see the Owl Panel from here. It's located about halfway along a ledge to the left of the proto-arch. About 0.2 miles after this the Hymasa Trail and Cliffhanger 4x4 Road meet wheres you'll hang a left. Shortly thereafter you'll cross Kane Creek, which even in springtime is usually fairly dry. After passing through a green metal gate you'll come to a junction with the Captain Ahab 4x4 road where you'll hang a right and continue along the Cliffhanger 4x4 Road. At the second turn in the road after the junction you should have the view in the photo below.
At this point you'll want to locate a faint trail leading towards the left side of the rockfall in the center of the photo above. It'll be just past a patch of slickrock. Follow the trail up the rockfall, picking up 100' in elevation before it dead ends at a wide ledge. Once at the ledge, the only way to go is right. Follow the ledge for less than 0.2 miles to reach the Owl Panel, but keep your eyes on the cliff wall as you walk beside it. There are many petroglyphs located along it. One of the first depictions you'll find is the large sheep shown below.
Immediately after this you'll find an interesting series of petroglyphs. To me it looks like people pulling on an animal from both ends, but it's likely a hunt scene.
Between these petroglyphs and the Owl Panel there are a number of depictions along the wall, including concentric circles, what appears to be a shield, and more animal figures. Just prior to reaching the Owl Panel you'll find what looks like a basket with various animals beside it. The photo below shows the owl just around the corner from the basket petroglyph.
The Owl Panel features a life-sized anthropomorphic figure with no arms, several sheep, two interesting bird-like depictions, and the owl, which measures about two feet tall by a foot wide.
The intricacy of the owl's eyes is something to examine up close. How the ancients were able to craft the eyes using the tools that were at their disposal all those centuries ago is astonishing.
Below is a close up of the bird-like figure located below the owl.
Another bird-like depiction that is located beside the left left of the large anthropomorphic figure.
A few animal depictions that are beside the owl.
The panel is best viewed late in the day when the sun isn't casting light directly on the panel. The images in this article were taken early in the morning, so that'll give you an idea of what to expect if you hike in the AM. When you're done exploring simply return the way you came.