birdandhike.com logo
Home | Birds | Birding | Urban Las Vegas
Birding Around Clark County Wetlands Park
Nature Preserve Section
Birding Around Las Vegas, Urban Las Vegas Valley

Clark County Wetlands Park
 
Clark County Wetlands Park
Vern's Pond in SE corner of the Preserve

Description

The Wetlands Park Nature Preserve is a work in progress that shows great promise for urban birding. In time, the birding could rival Corn Creek on the Desert National Wildlife Range, but for now, birding at the Wetlands Park isn't the best. This isn't to say that there are no birds or that it isn't a nice place to walk; it just isn't very good for birding. The ponds and creeks attract birds and dragonflies, but the vegetation (cattail, common reed, and bulrush) is so overgrown in many places that it can block views of the water. The staff is trying to manage the overgrown vegetation, so there should be a few places to see the ponds. The staff is actively planting native species the area and trying to reestablish semi-native conditions.

Link to Wetlands Park Nature Preserve map.

Clark County Wetlands Park
Accessible trail lined by shrubs and willows

That said, the Wetlands Park is a nice place to go for a quiet walk and watch a few birds and dragonflies. It is located out on the edge of town, so if you mostly look north or east, you can almost forget that you are in Las Vegas. There is little shade, so walking in the morning or evening probably is best, although a few tall Saltcedar "trees" and covered picnic tables provide relief from the sun. Over time, the planted Fremont's cottonwood and willows will grow into nice shade trees and warbler magnets.

Some published maps of the Wetland Park are artist's renditions of concepts rather than reality, and this can cause confusion as people try to find the places marked on the maps. The Nature Center is a good source of current information.

Clark County Wetlands Park
Boardwalk over West Middle Pond

In the main Wetlands Preserve area (the nature preserve area), there are about 2.5 miles of paved (concrete) trails, and probably about that much more in unpaved trails. A paved 1.8-mile loop trail runs around the perimeter of the Preserve. Again, a good walk, but not the best birding. For birds, it is better to shortcut the perimeter trail using the paved trail that winds around the lower pond (Vern's Pond) near the main entrance and then visiting the new boardwalk areas on the west side of the preserve.

The paved trails are suitable for wheelchair access, but stop at the Nature Center to check on current conditions (sometimes they wash out during floods). The paved trails are nice for birding because they are quiet (no crunch of gravel under your feet makes it is easier to hear the birds).

Clark County Wetlands Park
Some trails are paved...

A number of gravel and dirt trails wind through the main Preserve area, and another runs south to the Duck Creek area. In the Preserve, these trails generally follow creeks or connect to the ponds.

Location

First off, discard any map that shows a Nature Center on Broadbent Road. Don't look for a Nature Center on Broadbent Road because it isn't there. The Nature Center is located at the far east end of Tropicana.

Link street to map.

Wetlands Park Nature Preserve
...and some trails are dirt

From downtown, drive south on Highway 93-95 to Tropicana. Exit the highway, turn left onto Tropicana, and drive east. Cross Boulder Highway and continue east until Tropicana bends to the right in a broad, 45-degree turn to the right (south). At the curve, Tropicana becomes Broadbent Blvd. On the outside of the curve, Tropicana continues east, but the name changes to Wetlands Park Lane. Watch for a small sign for the Preserve at the intersection. Drive east on Wetlands Park Lane (Tropicana), bending to the left at the end, and into the parking area.

Trails start at the Nature Center and lead north and east into the wetlands area.

Clark County Wetlands Park
Access to Duck Creek during construction (view SE)

Another nearby place to bird is the Duck Creek Trail area. To get to Duck Creek, drive back out to Tropicana and turn left onto Broadbent. Drive southeast on Broadbent to just past the cinder block wall on the east (left) side of the road (few hundred yards). The Duck Creek parking lot is marked by a wooden fence and a "Wetlands Park, Duck Creek Trail" sign. Park here; this is the trailhead (Site 0711). For information on this site, see the description of Duck Creek Trail.

Note that the Duck Creek Trailhead is closed for construction. For now, hike into the Duck Creek area from the Nature Center.

Clark County Wetlands Park
Grand views to the south over Duck Creek

Hours

The Wetlands Park Nature Preserve is open dawn to dusk, 7 days per week. The Nature Center is supposed to be open from 9 AM to 3 PM, and they lock the gate at 6 PM. If you want to stay until dusk, park outside the gate and walk into the Preserve.

Fees

Free admission.

Common Reed (Phragmites australis)
Hard to see through dense thickets of common reed

Specialties

I've birded here several times, and it is still hard to say what to expect. There is water and brush, and it is on the edge of the desert, so there is a mix of wetland birds (Mallard Duck, American Coot, Common Moorhen, Pied-billed Grebe, Great Blue Heron, Black Phoebe) and desert birds (Black-throated Sparrow, Abert's Towhee, Verdin, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, thrashers, House Finch, Gambel's Quail, Mourning Dove). The sky is wide open in many areas with good views to the southeast over the Las Vegas Wash, potentially providing views of soaring birds (Red-tailed Hawk, Northern Harrier, Turkey Vulture, Northern Rough-winged Swallow) hunting over the shrub thickets and marsh. Listen for rails calling from the reeds, and Gambel's Quail call from the shrubs. During migration, lots of things might show up (e.g., Yellow Warbler).

Link to scanned copy of Wetlands Park Bird List.

Clark County Wetlands Park
Watch for fancy dragonflies and other wildlife

Keep an eye out for other species too. The Las Vegas Wash area is only place around Las Vegas to find raccoons and beaver. Also watch for Desert Cottontail, Black-tailed Jackrabbits, and Round-tailed Ground Squirrel. In the wash, look for spiny softshell turtles. In the ponds, look for Red-eared Sliders, crayfish, tropical aquarium fish, and some pan-fish too (e.g., bluegill and largemouth bass).

For More Information

Visit the Wetlands Park Nature Preserve website. Dogs and bicycles are not permitted in the Nature Preserve.

Clark County Wetlands Park
Tropicana-Broadbent-Wetland Park intersection
Clark County Wetlands Park
Road sign at intersection
Clark County Wetlands Park
Street sign at intersection
Clark County Wetlands Park
End of Wetlands Park Lane, turn left into Wetlands parking area
Clark County Wetlands Park
Gated entrance to public parking
Clark County Wetlands Park
Wetlands Park sign
Clark County Wetlands Park
Entrance pavilion
Clark County Wetlands Park
New Nature Center
Clark County Wetlands Park
New, very large, parking area
Clark County Wetlands Park
Wetlands Park Nature Preserve
Shade structure
wetlands park
Shade and trees on the north side of Vern's Pond
Wetlands Park Nature Preserve
Boardwalk over West Middle Pond
Wetlands Park Nature Preserve
Boardwalk over West Middle Pond
Clark County Wetlands Park
Trails in NE section of Wetlands Park
Clark County Wetlands Park
Birders on trail in NE section of Wetlands Park
Wetlands Park Nature Preserve
Las Vegas Wash on the east side of the Preserve (view N)
Clark County Wetlands Park
Las Vegas Wash
Clark County Wetlands Park
Bridge over Las Vegas Wash (view E)
Clark County Wetlands Park
Channelized section of Las Vegas Wash (view S from bridge)
Clark County Wetlands Park
Vern's Pond monument
Clark County Wetlands Park
Vern's Pond
Clark County Wetlands Park
Vern's Pond
Clark County Wetlands Park
Vern's Pond
Clark County Wetlands Park
Vern's Pond
Clark County Wetlands Park
Vern's Pond in 2002
Clark County Wetlands Park
Trail and trail markers
Clark County Wetlands Park
Trail and trail marker
Clark County Wetlands Park
Bird blind in NE section of Wetlands Park
Clark County Wetlands Park
View over Upper Pond from bird blind (it's a bit overgrown)
Clark County Wetlands Park
Boardwalk on West Middle Pond
Clark County Wetlands Park
West Middle Pond
Clark County Wetlands Park
Outflow from West Middle Pond
Clark County Wetlands Park
Clark County Wetlands Park
Clark County Wetlands Park Visitor Center
Clark County Wetlands Park
Clark County Wetlands Park Visitor Center
Clark County Wetlands Park Clark County Wetlands Park
Clark County Wetlands Park
Clark County Wetlands Park Visitor Center
Clark County Wetlands
Las Vegas Wash (view N towards bridge)
Wetlands Park Nature Preserve
Original Visitor Center, now gone
more to come ...

 
Table 1. Highway Coordinates (NAD27; UTM Zone 11S). Download Highway GPS Waypoints (*.gpx) file.

Site # Location Latitude (°N) Longitude (°W) UTM Easting UTM Northing Elevation (feet) Verified
0633 Wetlands Park 36.1013 115.0221 678046 3996797 1,606 Yes
0711 Duck Creek Trailhead 36.09357 115.02321 677968 3995935 1,603 Yes

 
Thanks for coming to visit!
© 2014 Jim Boone; Last updated 140209

Birding Around Las Vegas Southern Nevada Birds Guide Service Copyright, Conditions, Disclaimer Home

 

Google Ads