If the desert landscape of Las Vegas piques your interest, set aside a full day to travel to the Ash Meadows Wildlife Refuge and get an authentic immersion into native Mojave Desert life. It takes little more than hour by car from Las Vegas to reach this oasis of water, marshes and wildlife.
More than 23,000 acres are protected here, though visitors are mainly kept to the developed areas near the park’s centre. Sparkling green streams and ponds add some magic to the desolate, dry landscape thanks to a series of natural springs. Ash Meadows is teeming with birds, fish, reptiles and a handful of animals, 24 of which are found nowhere else on earth.
Wooden boardwalks provide comfortable access to the main viewing area at Crystal Spring, where interpretive signs fill you in on the details. Rangers are occasionally present, but this park offers no amenities so come prepared with enough food and water for the day. While there isn’t a tremendous amount of recreation available here, the photography and wildlife viewing is superb.