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  • Writer's pictureDan Wagner

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.


Owl Panel Moab

Trailhead elevation 4,150'

Water filterable at Kane Creek

Don't miss the petroglyphs prior to the Owl Panel



Hiking to the Owl Panel

Hikers can find the trailhead along Kane Creek Road at coordinates 38.524089, -109.601683, serving both the Hymasa foot trail and the Cliffhanger 4x4 Road. Parking isn't allowed at the trailhead, but there are several pull-off spots along Kane Creek Road. The nearest one is located 0.1 miles past the trailhead at coordinates 38.523556, -109.602784. At the trailhead, you have the option to start hiking the signed Hymasa Trail to the left or proceed down the signed 4x4 road straight ahead. These two paths eventually converge, so it doesn't matter which you choose to start from. If opting for the well-trodden Hymasa Trail, at 0.2 miles you'll reach the viewpoint shown in the photo below.


Moab Owl Panel

Those who carry binoculars or use the zoom on their camera will be able to locate the Owl Panel from the viewpoint, albeit from quite a distance. It's located along a ledge about 50 feet to the left of a proto-arch. About 0.2 miles beyond the viewpoint, where the Hymasa Trail intersects with the Cliffhanger 4x4 Road, hikers will veer left. Shortly after, you'll traverse Kane Creek, typically dry even in springtime. After passing through a green metal gate, you'll encounter a junction with the Captain Ahab 4x4 road. Here, take a right to proceed along the signed Cliffhanger 4x4 Road. Upon reaching the second bend after the junction, you should encounter the view in the photo below.


Owl Panel Moab

From this point, your aim is to locate a faint trail veering towards the left side of the rockfall in front of you. Ascend the rockfall, gaining about 100 feet in elevation until it terminates at a wide ledge. Upon reaching the ledge, turn right and follow it for less than 0.2 miles until reaching the Owl Panel. Along the ledge leading to the Owl Panel, you'll find various clusters of petroglyphs, including one of the more prominent depictions - the large sheep shown below.


Owl Panel Moab

Right after the large sheep, you'll come across a fascinating sequence of petroglyphs. At first glance, it appears to depict individuals pulling on an animal from opposite ends, however, it likely represents a hunting scene.


Owl Panel Moab

Between these petroglyphs and the Owl Panel, you'll encounter several depictions along the wall, including concentric circles, a depiction resembling a shield, and additional animal figures. Just before arriving at the Owl Panel, you'll notice what seems to resemble a basket accompanied by various animal representations beside it. Just beyond this cluster, you'll notice the Owl Panel.


Owl Panel Moab

The Owl Panel showcases a life-sized anthropomorphic figure devoid of arms, alongside several sheep, two intriguing bird-like depictions, and an owl measuring approximately two feet in height by a foot in width.


Owl Panel Moab

The intricacy of the owl's eyes warrants a closer examination. It's truly astonishing how the ancients managed to craft such detailed eyes using the tools available to them centuries ago.


Owl Panel Moab

Below is a close up of the bird-like figure located below the owl.


Owl Panel Moab

Another bird-like depiction that is located beside the left left of the large anthropomorphic figure.


Owl Panel Moab

A few animal depictions that are beside the owl.


Owl Panel Moab

The panel is best viewed late in the day when the sun isn't shining directly on it. The images featured in this article were captured early in the morning, so that'll give you an idea of what to expect if you hike in the AM. Once you've finished exploring, simply retrace your steps back the way you came. Another fascinating petroglyph panel that is well-worth a visit and requires no hiking, is the Birthing Scene Panel, located 0.2 miles from the Owl Panel trailhead.

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