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Shoshone Birding: Aqua Trail
Birding Around Las Vegas, Outside the Las Vegas Valley
Aqua Birding Trail
 Shoshone Aqua Birding Trail
Starting the Aqua Trail from the Blue Trail (view E)

Description

Shoshone is a small town with a bit of water and green amid a very arid piece of desert. This isn't a birding destination, but it is a nice place for traveling birders to stop for the night and do some evening and morning birding.

There are five birding trails in town. The Aqua Trail connects the far end of the Blue Trail loop (in the south) with the far side of the Red Trail loop (in the north). The Aqua Trail runs along the east side of the Amargosa River (the far side from town), so birders can walk a loop by, for example, starting on the Blue Trail, walking north on the Aqua Trail, coming back on the Red Trail, and walking back through town to the starting point.

Link to trail map south-half and trail map north-half

Aqua Birding Trail
Blue Trail at Aqua Trail (view S)

Watch Out

Other than the standard warnings about hiking in the desert, ...this hike is pretty safe when the weather is cool. If the weather is hot, this area can be unbelievably hot, so bring some water. Most of the trail is cross-country (that is, no real trail), so the footing can be uneven, making sensible shoes a good idea.

While hiking, please respect the land and the other people out there, and please try to Leave No Trace of your passage. This trail is short, so just bring what you need of the 10 Essentials.

Aqua Birding Trail
Start of the Aqua Trail (view E)

Getting to the Trailhead

Because the Aqua Trail connects to two other trails and can be walked in either direction, there are two trailheads: the Blue Trailhead and the Red Trailhead.

The Blue Trail Trailhead is located in downtown Shoshone, between the Visitor Center and Crowbar Cafe. The Red Trail Trailhead is located at the north end of Shoshone opposite the campground.

Aqua Birding TrailTrail map sign at the junction (view E)

The Aqua Trail

The Aqua Trail can be walked in either direction (north or south), but it probably makes most sense for birders to walk south to north, thus putting the sun at their back and making it easier to spot birds flitting among the mesquite trees.

From the Blue Trail Trailhead (Table 1, Waypoint Blue-01), follow the Blue Trail east to the far side of the main loop and the junction with the Aqua Trail (Wpt. Blue-06).

Turning left and jumping across the "river," the trail runs southeast over low ridges to a large spring pool (Wpt. Aqua-01) full of water. Continuing through the trees towards the hills to the east, the trail runs out to the edge of the mudhills (beyond the mesquite thickets) and a trail marker (Wpt. Aqua-02). Here, the trail turns 90-degrees to the left and starts heading north.

 Shoshone Aqua Birding Trail
Trail markers and a clipboard (view SE)

The trail continues north running up along the Amargosa River for about 1/2-miles. In general, there is no trail, but birders can see a string of trail markers indicating the direction. Some markers are on highpoints and can be seen from a distance, but hikers need not tag each marker.

Near the north end of the Aqua Trail, the trail runs up over a low mud ridge, gaining some 10 or so vertical feet. Atop the low ridge, birders can walk a few yards west to the edge of the bluff, which provides a nice overlook (Aqua-03) where birders can see out across the top of the mesquite. The view includes buildings in Shoshone town, giving hikers some sense of orientation.

From the overlook, the trail continues north for a few minutes to another trail marker (Aqua-04). Here, the trail again turns 90 degrees to the left and heads west into a salt grass meadow (Wpt. Aqua-05) that can be damp. The trail then continues west to a junction with the Red Trail (Wpt. Red-05). Turning left, the Red Trail returns to the Red Trail Trailhead (Wpt. Red-01).

 Shoshone Aqua Birding Trail
Aqua trail marker (view SE)
Aqua Birding Trail
Approaching the spring pool (view E)
 Shoshone Aqua Birding Trail
Approaching the spring pool (view S)
Aqua Birding Trail
Aqua trail marker under mesquite trees (view E)
Aqua Birding Trail
Long view towards trail marker that marks the turn north (view E)
Aqua Birding Trail
Trail marker that marks the turn north (view N)
Aqua Birding Trail
Aqua Trail (view N)
Aqua Birding Trail
Aqua Trail (view NW)
Aqua Birding Trail
Aqua Trail (view N)
Aqua Birding Trail
Aqua Trail (view N)
Aqua Birding Trail
Aqua Trail (view N)
Aqua Birding Trail
Aqua Trail (view N)
Aqua Birding Trail
Along the Aqua Trail (view W)
Aqua Birding Trail
Approaching low mud ridge (view N)
Aqua Birding Trail
Atop low mud ridge (view SW towards town)
Aqua Birding Trail
Atop low mud ridge (view N)
Aqua Birding Trail
Wet area along Aqua Trail (view NW)
Aqua Birding Trail
Trail turns 90-degrees left (view W)
Aqua Birding Trail
Damp meadow (view W)
Aqua Birding Trail
Shallow pond in wet area (view N)
Aqua Birding Trail
Aqua Trail (view W)
Aqua Birding Trail
Approaching junction with Red Trail (view W)
Aqua Birding Trail
Junction with Red Trail (view SW)
Aqua Birding Trail
Trail map sign at the junction (view E)

North End of Aqua Trail (views starting from Red Trail)

 Shoshone Aqua Birding Trail
Aqua Trail at the Red Trail (view S from Red Trail)
 Shoshone Aqua Birding Trail
Sign at start of the Aqua Trail
 Shoshone Aqua Birding Trail
Aqua Trail runs east across saltgrass meadow (view E)
 Shoshone Aqua Birding Trail
Aqua Trail continues east to far side of the valley (view E)

Table 1. Hiking Coordinates and Distances based on GPS data (NAD27; UTM Zone 11S). Download Hiking GPS Waypoints (*.gpx) file.

Wpt. Location UTM Easting UTM Northing Elevation (ft) Point-to-Point Distance (mi) Cumulative Distance (mi) Verified
Blue-06 Trail Junction 566250 3981349 1,604 0.00 0.00 GPS
Aqua-01 Spring Pool 566302 3981347 1,596 0.04 0.04 GPS
Aqua-02 Trail Turns North 566375 3981350 1,566 0.05 0.10 GPS
Aqua-03 Overlook 566198 3981961 1,595 0.42 0.52 GPS
Aqua-04 Trail Turns East 566161 3982019 1,583 0.06 0.58 GPS
Aqua-05 Meadow 566096 3982001 1,604 0.06 0.64 GPS
Red-05 Junction with Aqua Trail 566027 3981999 1,608 0.05 0.69 GPS

Happy birding! All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate.
copyright; Last updated 140516

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