Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge

Las Vegas + Southern Nevada, Nevada

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Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge


  • Ash Meadows is in an isolated location far off the beaten path in Southern Nevada.- Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge
  • Informational sign on the road into the refuge.- Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge
  • Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge visitor center.- Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge
  • The visitor center contains exhibits, a film on the history of the refuge, and helpful rangers.- Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge
  • On the boardwalk to Crystal Spring.- Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge
  • Crystal Spring.- Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge
  • Boardwalks over the sensitive and often saturated ground.- Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge
  • Rogers Spring.- Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge
  • Boardwalks are a feature at several of the trails.- Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge
  • Longstreet Spring.- Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge
Overview + Weather
Free of large crowds. Beautiful springs.
Much of the refuge is shadeless and can get HOT!
Las Vegas + Southern Nevada, NV
Pets allowed: 
Yes, with restrictions
Parking Pass: 
Not Required
Preferable Season(s):
Winter, Spring, Fall
Current Local Weather:
Adventure Description

Adventure Description

Pro Contributor

Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge is the largest remaining oasis in the Mojave Desert. Situated near the California and Nevada border southeast of Death Valley, its isolated location in the center of the arid and sometimes brutal heat of the desert ensures that relatively few travelers actually make it to the refuge. This refuge is an anomaly of the desert landscape in that it sits atop a geologic fault that forces water running through an underground aquifer to the surface. This water, having traveled underground for thousands of years, surfaces through about 50 seeps and springs throughout the refuge. About 10,000 gallons surface per minute, creating a wetlands environment that is home to dozens of unique species found nowhere else on the planet - the largest concentration of endemic species in the United States.

In the late 1970s, the refuge was nearly leveled and drained to make way for a development projected to be on par with the size of Las Vegas, which led development opponents to campaign to protect the endemic species. These species include the Devils Hole Pupfish, which live exclusively in the Devils Hole Spring. Protections to the pupfish and other native species eventually led to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to purchase surrounding land and creating the refuge. 

Today it remains possible to visit many of the springs, the larger of which flow out in picturesque emerald hues, as well as walk along lush streams in the otherwise parched Mojave. Many of the springs can be seen by walking along ADA-compliant wooden boardwalks situated above the fragile and sometimes-saturated ground. 

A centrally-located visitor center contains maps, exhibits, a film, and helpful rangers eager to provide maps and information and answer any questions.

When visiting, keep in mind that the area can hit extremely hot temperatures and that there is little shade throughout the refuge. Springs and creeks are protected, and no swimming or wading is allowed anywhere in the refuge outside of two reservoirs, though swimming in these reservoirs is also not advised due to the presence of mites that some people may be allergic to.

Aside from the large concentration of native species, over two dozen species of mammals, including desert bighorn sheep, along with more than 300 species of flowers and shrubs and a wide diversity of migratory birds can be seen in the refuge.

The refuge is open daily from sunrise to sunset. Many roads are unpaved and may become flooded and impassable following wet weather. Check the Ash Meadows website for updated conditions and information.

Updates, Tips + Comments

Updates, Tips + Comments

Field Guide

Field Guide

Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(2 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(11 within a 30 mile radius)

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