Desert National Wildlife Refuge

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The Desert National Wildlife Refuge is located about 30 miles north and northwest of downtown Las Vegas. It was established in part to promote a habitat for the Desert Bighorn Sheep, (Ovis canadensis nelsonii - locally).

For the human visitor this area covers, roughly speaking, the mountains just north of the Las Vegas Valley. It is a less developed area than Mount Charleston, Lee's Canyon or Mountains Springs Summit. This means that there are significantly fewer people going out there - to date. That is part of the appeal, a little more roughing it and fewer people.

The Desert National Wildlife Refuge has a basic facility near the entrance to the park which include a bathroom which is useable. The area around the station is referred to as Corn Creek. It has been occupied since prehistoric times because there is a relatively large spring in the area.

Located near the station, this spring was no doubt an attraction early 20th century travelers on route to Tonopah and Northern Nevada.

The roads are gravel topped an can be quite dusty. It is recommended that you do not use the family car to explore this place. A four wheel drive is not necessary however.

What the Wildlife refuge offers is unspoiled Great Basin and Mojave Desert vistas. This place preserves what the desert was really like before it was changed in Las Vegas.

On the right is an early 20th century building which, it is said, was used as a way station of some kind.

For those interested in hiking, there is a lot of territory available. Interestingly, I have been here several times throughout the years and have never once seen any sheep. But there are caves, springs, the remains of corrals from who knows which century, 20th, 19th? When hiking through the mountains, huge fossil beds can be seen. The one shown here was part of a huge rock face that was all fossilized coral and fossilized undersea life forms. This was found a about 4,500 feet ASL.


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