Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge
Ash Meadows Overview
The Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge is located about 2 hours northwest of Las Vegas. Due to the heat of Las Vegas summers, spring and fall are ideal times to visit Ash Meadows. Not only is it more comfortable for visitors but also for the wildlife who will normally take shelter from the summer days and only make their appearances during the evening. An added bonus of visiting in the spring and fall is to see the gorgeous desert foliage in bloom and the fall foliage.
Ash Meadows Visitor Center
The Ash Meadows visitor center offers visitors interactive exhibits, regular viewings of the Ash Meadows movie (approximately 19 minutes long and VERY informative), a bookstore, and a picnic area. There is no fee to enter the Refuge.
With direct access to the Crystal Springs Boardwalk, the visitor center is a great place to begin your wildlife adventure at Ash Meadows.
The refuge is open from sunrise to sunset with parts of the refuge being closed to entry. Ash Meadows visitor center operating hours:
- Monday: 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM
- Tuesday: 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM
- Wednesday: 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM
- Thursday: 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM
- Friday: 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM
- Saturday: 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM
- Sunday: 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM
Ash Meadows Visitor Center Address – 610 Spring Meadows Road – Amargosa, NV 89020 and their phone number is (775) 372-5435.
There is limited covered parking at the visitor center so it is advised you get there early (especially during the warmer months).
Be sure to take your own drinks, snacks, lunch, etc. as the visitor center has limited options they offer for sale.
How to Get to Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge
There are two options to get from the Las Vegas area to Ash Meadows. Be sure to check the Ash Meadows website as the route through Pahrump has been known to be closed.
The best way drive to Ash Meadows from Las Vegas is to drive north on Highway 95 for about 90 miles to Highway 373 at Amargosa Valley. Turn left onto Highway 373 and drive south towards Death Valley Junction for 14.5 miles to Spring Meadows Road. Watch for Wildlife Refuge signs along the highway. Turn left onto Spring Meadows Road and drive east towards the refuge with the turnoff about 2 miles before the California-Nevada border.
90 miles – Las Vegas, NV
48 miles – Death Valley National Park’s Furnace Cree Visitor Center
40 miles – Beatty, NV
40 miles – Shoshone, California
55 miles – Tecopa, California
Ash Meadows Wildlife and Endangered Species
The wetlands at Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge in the desert support the greatest local-area concentration of endemic species in the US, with 24 species of endemic plants and animals.
There are 13 threatened or endangered species on the refuge, including 4 endangered fish and 1 endangered plant.
Crystal Springs Boardwalk at Ash Meadows
Crystal Springs 0.9 mile roundtrip boardwalk will lead you to a beautiful Caribbean-blue spring pool. This spring produces 2,800 gallons of water a minute, is approximately 15 feet deep, and the water stays a consistent 87°F.
Boardwalk amenities are benches, a viewing area complete with scopes, and colorful informational panels along the way.
Crystal Reservoir at Ash Meadows
The 70-acre Crystal Reservoir is an interesting place to stop for a visit. The water is incredibly blue and makes you feel you are in the tropics… well, almost.
The reservoir is home to wading birds and waterfowl (see pics below). It’s a great place to bring a blanket and enjoy lunch while watching the wildlife.
Click here to learn more and view photos of Crystal Reservoir at Ash Meadows.
Devils Hole at Ash Meadows
Since 1952, Devils Hole is part of and managed by the Death Valley National Park although it is located within the refuge boundaries. The area is fenced and closed to public entry. Behind the fence, one would find a water-filled cavern that is home to the smallest and rarest pupfish in the world, the Devil’s Hole pupfish. The water maintains a temperature of 93°F all year round.
Longstreet Spring and Cabin at Ash Meadows
Longstreet Spring and Cabin is a short walk from the parking area, approximately 0.2 miles round-trip. This boardwalk leads to an old stone cabin built by a gunslinger, Jack Longstreet, a mysterious man of the wild west. Built into a mound above an underground spring the cabin is cooler than outside temps and was used for food storage by Longstreet. The spring pool near this cabin is sometimes called the boiling spring because fine white sand bellows up from the depths and gives it a ‘boiling’ appearance.
Click here to read more about the Longstreet Spring and Cabin and to view additional photos.
Point of Rocks Boardwalk at Ash Meadows
Point of Rocks boardwalk is approximately 0.5 miles roundtrip and winds through groves of mesquite trees. Within the crystal blue waters, you will find pupfish. Click here to read more about Point of Rocks Boardwalk at Ash Meadows.