Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge

Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge

Quick Facts

Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge


(775) 372-5435

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Things To Do


Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge is located in southern Nevada 90 miles northwest of Las Vegas. Encompassing over 23,000 acres of spring-fed wetlands, Ash Meadows is a desert wetland ecosystem providing habitat for at least 26 species of plants and animals that don't exist anywhere else in the world! Thirteen species are endangered or threatened and most depend on the isolated springs and wetlands found here. This concentration of native species is considered to be the greatest of any local area in the United States. Ash Meadows refuge is a unit of the Desert Refuge Complex. Activities available to the public include hunting, wildlife observation, environmental education and, photography.

The refuge is open daily from sunrise to sunset. Please contact the refuge headquarters for current information on visitor center hours.

Map of Ash Meadows NWR

Latitude, Longitude: 36.423599, -116.330575



  • Bird Watching

    Over 239 different species of birds have been recorded on the refuge. Migration periods are best for greatest diversity and numbers. Spring migration usually occurs during April and May, and fall migration from mid-August through September. During the winter, marshes and reservoirs support the largest variety of water birds. Mesquite and ash tree groves at Refuge Headquarters and Point of Rocks harbor resident and migratory birds year-round, including typical Southwestern species such as crissal thrasher, verdin, phainopepla, and Lucy's warbler. A refuge bird list is available at the headquarters and online.

  • Auto/Motorcycle

    All motorized vehicles and drivers must be properly licensed and are restricted to designated roads. All roads on the refuge are unpaved. During wet fall and winter months, roads may be flooded. Some roads are unimproved and impassable for passenger cars. Please contact the refuge headquarters for current access information.

  • Hiking

    Year-round hiking is permitted along designated refuge roads and trails. Refuge boardwalks provide an up-close view of the springs, fish, and plants of Ash Meadows without disturbing the fragile habitat.

  • Hunting

    Seasonal hunting is permitted in designated areas subject to all applicable state, federal and refuge regulations. Please refer to the hunting flyer (available at headquarters or online) or contact the refuge headquarters for more information. Only species listed on the flyer may be hunted. Currently, hunters are allowed to take boats on the two reservoirs during hunting season, no gas engines allowed; only electric trolling motors.

  • Picnicking

    Picnic facilities are available at refuge headquarters and Point of Rocks.

  • Wildlife Watching

    Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge is a haven for wildlife, especially rare fish, plants, snails, and insects, many of which are found nowhere else on earth. Water bubbles up from underground into clear spring pools as silvery blue and grayish green pupfish dart between swaying strands of algae. Pebbled streams gurgle from small hillside springs, sheltering tiny beetles and snails. The water is warm, the air moist, in contrast to the surrounding Mojave Desert.

    Watch for coyotes, blacktail jackrabbits, desert cottontails, and white-tailed antelope squirrel. Desert bighorn sheep are occasionally observed at Point of Rocks and Devil's Hole.

    Reptiles and amphibians are most visible during the spring and fall. Five amphibians and 20 reptiles are known to occur on the refuge. Toads are most visible right after spring and summer rains, when they become very active feeding and breeding. Woodhouse toads are the most common species observed on the refuge. Look for large chuckwalla lizards on the rocky slopes near Devil's Hole and Point of Rocks during the early spring. Snakes are also seen more often during the spring and early fall and become more nocturnal during the heat of mid-summer. Coachwhip and gopher snakes are two of the more common snakes seen at Ash Meadows.


Wetlands, springs, and springbrook channels are scattered throughout the refuge. Sandy dunes, rising up to 50 feet above the landscape, appear in the central portions of the refuge. Mesquite and ash groves flourish near wetlands and stream channels. Saltbush dominates large portions of the refuge in dry areas adjacent to wetlands. Creosote (shrub) habitat occurs in the drier elevated areas along the east and southeastern portions of the refuge



The refuge is located approximately 90 miles west of Las Vegas and 30 miles west of Pahrump, Nevada. Travel to the refuge from Pahrump on Bell Vista Road approximately 20 miles, turning north at the refuge sign. From Las Vegas, take Highway 95 North to Nevada Highway 373, go south approximately 16 miles and turn east on Spring Meadows Road.

Phone Numbers


(775) 372-5435