Shepherd Canyon
At one time the road from Darwin to Panamint Valley went through Shepherd's Canyon. This stage-freight road was used in the late 1880's up to 1912 when it was washed out and never rebuilt. The canyon is named for John Shepherd. (Source: Ballarat Facts and Folklore, Hubbard et. al.)

A woman who lived near the mouth of Shepherd Canyon during her early childhood told me the name of the site with the palm trees where she lived was Seventh Heaven and that her family actually did some uranium mining nearby. She said she used to make a little extra money by stuffing shotgun shells with uranium ore! (Click here for area map.)


Shepherd Loop (April 2018)       Quick view of trip pics
  1. Ruins - View of ruins from cutoff trail (between south fork of canyon and main canyon).
  2. Down Canyon View #1 - Looking towards mouth of canyon and across valley towards Telescope Peak.
  3. Down Canyon View #2 - View from cutoff trail looking towards mouth of canyon.
  4. Miner's Lettuce - Claytonia perfoliata of the Purslane Family.
  5. Chia - Salvia Columbariae of the Mint Family.

Shepherd Canyon (September 2017)
Shepherd Extension Mine Site (April 2017)       Quick view of trip pics
  1. Desert Five Spot - Quite a lot of this plant around the mouth of Shepherd Canyon.
  2. Donkey - I heard several donkeys, saw a few, and snapped a picture of one.
  3. Mojave Aster - Exceptional abundance of this attractive flower throughout course of hike.
  4. Blazing Star - Mentzelia nitens of the Loasa Family.
  5. Prince's Plume - Several spots with lots of this plant along hiking route.
  6. Blackbush - Coleogyne ramosissima of the Rose Family. Prevalent above 5000 feet.
  7. Old Mine Site - Remains of mine tunnel at about 5700 feet on south rim of canyon.
  8. Upper Canyon - Looking towards upper Shepherd Canyon. A road is barely visible.
  9. Purple Mat - Nama demissum of the Borage Family.
  10. Monkeyflower - Mimulus bigelovii of the Figwort and/or Lopseed Family.

Shepherd Road Extension (April 2016)       Quick view of trip pics
  1. Indigo Bush - Psorothamnus arborescens of the Pea Family.
  2. Apricot Mallow - Sphaeralcea ambigua of the Mallow Family.
  3. Desert Paintbrush - Castilleja chromosa of Figwort Family.
  4. Desert Donkey - Equus africanus asinus of the Equus Family.
  5. Road Across Canyon - Did not notice donkeys at bottom when taking picture.
  6. Wet Fork of Water - Looking down from very top of wet fork of Water Canyon.
  7. Large Fungus - Looks like a large softball.
  8. White Tidy-Tips - Layia glandulosa of the Sunflower Family.
  9. Another Fork of Water - This is the top of a fork west of the wet fork.
  10. Scale Bud - Anisocoma acaulis of the Sunflower Family.
  11. Desert Collinsia - Collinsia callosa of the Plantain Family.
  12. Dense Vegetation - Thicket on way down side canyon of Shepherd.
  13. Tufted Evening-Primrose - Oenothera caespitosa marginata of the Evening Primrose Family.
  14. Scarlet Milkvetch #1 - Astragalus coccineus of the Pea Family.
  15. Scarlet Milkvetch #2 - Another look at the fuzzy pods of this interesting plant.

Upper Shepherd Canyon (April 2016)       Quick view of trip pics
  1. Desert Star - Lots of this little belly flower the lower canyon.
  2. Ground Cherry - Wild relative of the tomatillo.
  3. Desert Pincushion - One of many species of Chaenactis found in the desert.
  4. Gilia and Bug - Some kind of insect looking down the funnel of this attractive flower.
  5. Chia Flower Ball - Spiny, globe-shaped structure on which chia flowers form.
  6. Notch-Leaf Phacelia - Close look at some phacelia flowers.
  7. Fremont Phacelia - Another species of phacelia.
  8. Donkeys - Two of six donkeys spotted a couple miles up the canyon.
  9. Miner's Lettuce - Growing along donkey trail up above canyon.
  10. Gilia #1 - Lots of gilia growing on slope high above canyon floor.
  11. Gilia #2 - This plant was extremely abundant along much of the route.
  12. Evening Snow - Mixed in with some cryptantha and some gilia.
  13. Scale Bud - Anisocoma acaulis of the Sunflower Family.
  14. Lupine - A few bushes were producing lots of flowers.
  15. Prince's Plume - Stanleya pinnata of the Mustard Family.

Ship Rock Canyon Loop (March 2015)       Quick view of trip pics
  1. Spineflower - Rather interesting member of the Buckwheat Family.
  2. Lilac Sunbonnet - Sparse patches of this plant scattered around in lower Shepherd and Shiprock canyons.
  3. Mojave Sun Cup - Member of the Evening Primrose Family seen here and there throughout hike.
  4. Small Flowered Eucrypta - Also known as Dainty Desert Hideseed.
  5. Desert Prince's Plume #1 - Prevalent in mid to upper portions of both canyons.
  6. Mexican Bladdersage - A few of these bushes were encountered along the course of the hike.
  7. Sand-Wash Groundsel - Also known as Bush Senico, Shrubby Butterweed, and several other names.
  8. Fremont Phacelia - A few of these plants were observed mostly in the mid portions of both canyons.
  9. Desert Prince's Plume #2 - More of this rather attractive plant!
  10. Gilia - Lots of gilia blowing around in the wind in both canyons.
  11. Bottle-Washer - Another member of the Evening Primrose Famiy scattered around in both canyons.
  12. Whispering Bells - Lots of this plant observed in both canyons.
  13. Desert Rock-Pea - Member of the Pea Family commonly found in desert washes.
  14. Shaggyfruit Pepperweed - Small member of the Mustard Family.
  15. Mojave Aster - Reliable producer of flowers even in dry years!
  16. Brittlebush - Another reliable flower producer widespread throughout the area.
  17. Desert Mallow - Yet another highly reliable flower producer that is common throughout the region.
  18. Button Brittlebush - Member of the Sunflower Family bearing only disk flowers and no ray flowers.
  19. Threadstem Gilia - Only observed in wash below Shepherd Canyon.
  20. Desert Fivespot - Several of these were spotted in lower portions of both canyons.

Shepherd Canyon (February 2015)
  1. Quail - Suspicious bird slightly alarmed by presence of intruder.
  2. Yucca - Group of yucca at 5000 feet in unnamed side canyon.
  3. Saddle - Saddle between another unnamed side canyon and side canyon leading down to Kooper King Cabin.
  4. Unnamed Canyon - Looking down on unnamed canyon north of Shepherd Canyon.
  5. Mineshaft - Timber and rusted metal at top of shallow mineshaft.

Shepherd Canyon (December 2014)
  1. Donkey Skull - Located in first side canyon to the west.
  2. Donkey Trail - Donkey trail clearly visible from a distance.
  3. Ephedra - Some plants at about 4200 feet.
  4. Green Rabbitbush - Notice mistletoe berries growing on plant.
  5. Yucca - A few scraggly yuccas at about 4000 feet.

Shepherd Canyon (April 2013)       Quick view of trip pics
  1. Fin and Donkeys - Fin rock with two donkeys standing in the middle.
  2. Seventh Heaven - Looking up towards Seventh Heaven homestead site.
  3. Donkey - Donkey on slope above Shepherd Canyon.
  4. Lower Shepherd - Looking down on lower portion of Shepherd Canyon.
  5. Panamint Valley - Looking north across valley from ridge above Shepherd Canyon.
  6. Onyx Mine - Looking down on Onyx Mine area near mouth of Shepherd.
  7. Shadowy Hills - Looking north at afternoon shadows on east side of Argus Range.
  8. Desert Paintbrush #1 - Nice specimen found at elevation 4400 feet.
  9. Desert Paintbrush #2 - Close look at flower of this attractive plant.
  10. Prince's Plume - Close look at flowers of this interesting plant.
  11. Senico - Pretty yellow flowers of this member of the Sunflower Family.
  12. Two Donkeys - A couple donkeys hanging out in unnamed canyon southeast of Shepherd.
  13. Cottontop Cactus - Some nice cotton growing on top of this specimen.
  14. Battleship Rock - Large rock formation in middle of wash in canyon southwest of Shepherd.
  15. Creosote Flower - This was the most prevalent plant actually producing flowers observed on this hike.

Shepherd Canyon (April 2011)       Quick view of trip pics
  1. Desert Star - Small flowers growing near mouth of canyon.
  2. Desert Paintbrush - Another common flower found throughout region.
  3. Larkspur - Extreme wind made it difficult to take pictures of many plants.
  4. Milkvetch - Many milkvetch plants scattered throughout canyon.
  5. Tidy-Tips - Lots of these up around 5000 feet.
  6. Argus Ridgeline - Looking across Shepherd Canyon from south rim at 5000 feet.
  7. Panamint Valley - Looking down Shepherd Canyon and across Panamint Valley to northeast.
  8. Telescope - Looking across Panamint Valley from south rim of Shepherd Canyon with rock cress flailing around in the wind.
  9. Coreopsis and Pincushion - Lots of these throughout upper side canyon.
  10. More Milkvetch - Another milkvetch plant further up the canyon.
  11. Burrow - Freshly dug burrow about twelve inches in diameter.
  12. Monkeyflower - Scattered around through entire hike from 3000 feet to 5000 feet.
  13. Miner's Lettuce - Most of the miner's lettuce encourtered had been nibbled by animals, but some was protected by rocks.
  14. Purple Mat - Lots of this in lower portions of canyon and side canyon.
  15. Rattlesnake Weed - Also known as whitemargin spurge.
  16. Desert Five-Spot - Fair amount of this flower near the mouth of the canyon.
  17. Lupine - Clumps of lupine found throughout much of the canyon.
  18. Military Sign - Warning not to continue further up the canyon.
  19. Prickly Poppy - Close look at the flower of this plant.
  20. Bushy Cryptantha #1 - Clumps growing from rocky canyon wall.
  21. Bushy Cryptantha #2 - Close look at foliage of this plant.
  22. Donkey - Donkey climbing out of canyon to avoid my company!
  23. Desert Sage - Several nice specimens above 4000 feet.
  24. Lesser Mohavea #1 - Only a couple colonies of this plant encountered.
  25. Lesser Mohavea #2 - Group of plants from larger colony.
  26. Evening Primrose - Clumps of this plant scattered around from 3900 feet and up.
  27. Evening Primrose - Healthy plant perched on a rock.
  28. Nile Spring - Small water puddle partially surrounded by vegetation.
  29. Ruins - One of the stone structures near Nile Spring.
  30. Horny Toad - Friendly reptile encountered near mouth of canyon.

Shepherd Canyon (September 2009)       Quick view of trip pics
  1. Route Map - Loop hike starting and ending at mouth of Shepherd Canyon.
  2. Donkey #1 - Lone donkey a short ways into canyon.
  3. Donkey #2 - Same donkey a little further up the canyon.
  4. Side Canyon Tree - Single tree in side canyon to southeast.
  5. Lichen - Close up of some lichen growing on rock.
  6. Panamint Valley - PV from 4300' near top of side canyon.
  7. Shell #1 - Artillery shell near top of side canyon.
  8. Shell #2 - Bottom of shell with markings.
  9. Brittlebush - There was a fairly large amount of this plant in bloom.
  10. Narrows - Narrow portion of canyon emptying into Panamint Valley.
  11. Raw Meat - Forty second video synopsis of hike set to a very short song!

Shepherd Canyon (September 2008)       Quick view of trip pics
  1. Onyx Mine - Looking north from mouth of canyon toward old onyx mine.
  2. Claim and Hole - Claim and hole at mouth of small canyon just east of Shepherd Canyon.
  3. Seventh Heaven - Looking toward Seventh Heaven camp from mouth of Shepherd.
  4. Yucca - Yucca at 4400' to the east of Shepherd Canyon.
  5. Mojave Aster - Dried up Mojave Aster plant.
  6. Aster and Yucca - Dried up Mojave Aster and a young Yucca.
  7. Junction Area - Looking south to end of road from Water Canyon.
  8. Rock Structure - Small rock structure near mouth of Shepherd Canyon.
  9. Tub and Trough #1 - Spring near mouth of Shepherd Canyon.
  10. Tub and Trough #2 - There is water in the trough. I scared off a group of donkeys as I walked up to the spring.
  11. Shepherd Tree #1 - A small tree in side canyon about a mile up Shepherd Canyon.
  12. Shepherd Tree #2 - The side canyon takes off to the southeast from the main canyon.
  13. Shepherd Tree #3 - View looking down side canyon.
  14. Buckwheat #1 - Buckwheat plant in bloom.
  15. Buckwheat #2 - The flowers are very small and my camera has limited macro capabilities!!!
  16. Russian Thistle - There were lots of Russian Thistle (aka, Tumbleweed) plants growing at seep area near end of road from Water Canyon.
  17. End of Road - Section of the last part of the road traveling north out of Water Canyon.

Seventh Heaven (October 2007)       Quick view of trip pics
  1. Canyon View - Looking up side canyon just east of Seventh Heaven.
  2. Seventh Heaven - Looking down from upper spring.
  3. Palms #1 - Large palm tree at upper spring.
  4. Upper Spring - Broad view of upper spring.
  5. Lower Spring - Looking down on lower spring.
  6. Trailer #1 - View of trailer at lower spring.
  7. Trailer #2 - Another view of trailer.
  8. Wall by Trailer - Little patio area by trailer.
  9. Mattress in Trailer - Mattress left in trailer.
  10. Under Tree - Large tree near trailer.
  11. Trailer and Palm - Another view of trailer and palm tree.

Shepherd Canyon (September 2006)       Quick view of trip pics
  1. Spring to South - This spring or seep is to the south, below the mouth of Shepherd Canyon.
  2. Donkey - I saw this donkey a few times around the mouth to the canyon.
  3. Road Remnants - There are remnants of the road that show up here and there in the lower part of the canyon.
  4. Ruins #1 - This is one of three remains of stone cabins located less than a mile into the canyon.
  5. Ruins #2 - Another one of the stone cabins.
  6. Lower Spring - About two hundred yards up the canyon from the is the lower spring.
  7. Behind Spring - Behind the lower spring is this water catching thing. Flexible black pipe is strung all the way from below the canyon mouth to this spring. There are no more remnants of any kind of road found above this spring.
  8. Mine Tunnel - This collapsed mine is shown on the topographic map of the area. I was a little disappointed that so little was left of the tunnel.
  9. Mine View - A view of the mine location from across the canyon.
  10. Ore - Some ore found in front of the collapsed tunnel.
  11. Canyon View - View looking down canyon.
  12. Upper Spring #1 - The upper spring is less than a mile up from the mine tunnel.
  13. Upper Spring #2 - Another view of the upper spring.
  14. Military Sign - This military sign was actually legible (unlike many in the area) and you should not hike any further up the canyon than its location.
  15. Trailer and Palm - This trailer is in a side canyon to the north, just below the mouth of Shepherd Canyon.
  16. Trailer - Another view of the trailer and the palm tree. There's another spring with more palm trees further up the gully.
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