Photo: Ron Mader, Visitor Center (Some rights reserved)
Las Vegas is part of a vast and varied network of parks and protected areas ranging from city parks to wildlife refuges.
One of the gems is 30 miles to the northwest. Desert National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) includes more than 1.5 million acres of the Mojave Desert in southern Nevada and is the largest National Wildlife Refuge in the lower 48 states.
The refuge opened May 20, 1936.
The Visitor Center (Thursday-Sunday, 8am-430pm) has interactive exhibits, a bookstore, and a classroom with a 17-minute film. Outside the building are trash and recycling, restrooms and water fountains. There are benches around the back of the building and located around the trails.
As for eating, you’re welcome to bring a picnic and enjoy at the picnic tables behind the visitor center. The bookstore offers trail mix and granola bars available for purchase, but if you’re looking for an actual meal to buy the closest place is the Paiute reservation, off the Snow Mountain exit (around 10 miles south of the Visitor Center.)
The visitor center and trails offer insights into the Indigenous Paiute culture.
Desert NWR is considered to be one of the finest birding sites in southern Nevada, with over 320 species seen on the refuge. Please see the center’s bird list for a complete listing.
The Visitor Center has been awarded Platinum-level LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Certification. Parking is available in a carport shaded by solar panels. Classy!
30 miles northwest of Las Vegas
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FYI – Visitors center opened February 22, 2014.
Desert National Wildlife Refuge