Hike-in Required
No
Open Year-round
Yes
ADA accessible
Yes
Guided tours
No
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

Desert National Wildlife Refuge encompasses over 1.5 million acres (more than 2,300 sq mi) of the southern Nevada desert, making it the largest national wildlife refuge in the continental United States. The refuge contains six different mountain ranges rising to over 10,000 feet in elevation and makes up one of the largest intact blocks of desert bighorn sheep habitat in the southwest. The primary gateway for visitors wanting to step into the refuge is the Corn Creek Field Station and Desert National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center, located about 30 miles north of downtown Las Vegas.

The visitor center contains interpretive displays, a looping informational film, a desk staffed with knowledgable rangers, and a gift shop. Open hours at the visitor center are currently Thursday through Sunday from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. Several easy to moderate walking and hiking trails begin immediately behind the visitor center and can be accessed at anytime. These are the Jackrabbit Loop, Bighorn Loop with Whispering Ben Trail spur, Coyote Loop, and Birdsong Loop.

Established in 1936, the wildlife refuge covers land of historical use and significance to the Nuwuvi (Southern Paiute) people, and petroglyphs from this culture dot areas of the refuge. The lower elevations are made up of arid desert environments, with the Corn Creek and visitor center area built around a series of springs bringing rare water to the landscape, forming an oasis. At the higher elevations, pinyon, juniper, and bristlecone pine grow. Wildflowers and over 320 species of bird are other features of the refuge.

Several roads head into the backcountry of the refuge, however, all of these roads are primitive and require high-clearance, four-wheel-drive vehicles. Pets are permitted on the wildlife refuge but must be leashed at all times. Additional information can be found at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Winter
Spring
Fall

Congestion

Low

Parking Pass

Not Required

Pros

Easy hiking trails. Family friendly.

Cons

Can get extremely hot.

Pets allowed

Allowed with Restrictions

Features

ADA accessible
Historically significant
Wildlife
Big vistas
Flushing toilets
Family friendly
Picnic tables
Wildflowers
Bird watching
Covered picnic areas
Potable water

Location

Field Guide

Nearby Adventures

Desert National Wildlife Refuge
Desert National Wildlife Refuge
Desert National Wildlife Refuge

Nearby Lodging + Camping

Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area

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