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Birding Around Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area
Birding Around Las Vegas
Birding Around Red Rock Canyon

Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, is a U.S. Bureau of Land Management area located on the western edge of the Las Vegas Valley (map). In addition to other lands, the conservation area includes the spectacular red and white sandstone cliffs that can be seen from town. The cliffs lie up against the Spring Mountains, and as the name implies, there are many springs. The better birding is associated with springs, but there are no especially hot birding spots. Most of the springs are surrounded by dry Mojave Desert Scrub vegetation, so they bring in desert species seeking water and insects associated with the riparian vegetation. While the birding at Red Rocks rarely is spectacular, the scenery certainly is, and the place is worth a visit even with low expectations for birds. Except for weekends when it is too crowded, the Willow Springs Picnic Area usually has good birding.

For More Information and details of getting to Red Rocks, fees, hours, and other information, see the Red Rock Canyon Overview Page.

Note that while the Red Rocks National Conservation Area is a very large place, locals refer to the Scenic Loop area as "Red Rocks." When locals say they are going to Red Rocks, they are usually going to the Scenic Loop Drive area.

Link to wheeler camp spring Link to spring mt state park Link to calico basin link to willow springs Cottonwood Valley Springs link to white rock spring map

Willow Springs Picnic Area. Located in a deep canyon, the spring supports cottonwood trees and a variety of birds. A nearby trail leads to willow thickets at another spring. Walk the trails and bird the canyon, keeping an eye out for bighorn sheep and petroglyphs.

Calico Basin. Red Spring and several smaller springs emerge from the base of red and white sandstone cliffs, supporting ash trees, shrub live oak, and a meadow. The Red Spring Boardwalk provides easy access to the spring and meadow.

Cottonwood Valley Springs. Four small springs on desert flats provide water for vegetation, birds, and other wildlife. Requires driving on dirt roads and short hikes (or longer hikes from the pavement).

Spring Mountain Ranch State Park. This historic homestead has lawns, pastures, cottonwood trees, springs, and a pond. The different habitats attract a wide variety of birds.

Wheeler Camp Spring. This Audubon area preserves springs with cottonwood trees, willows, and mesquite thickets along a wash. Water attracts birds and other wildlife.

White Rock Spring. A few minutes from the end of the road, this spring draws in bird, bighorn sheep, and other desert wildlife.

Happy birding! All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate.
© 2014 Jim Boone; Last updated 140313

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