Crystal Springs, Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge, Amargosa Valley, Mojave Desert, Nevada

Visiting Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge in Nevada

Visiting Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge in Nevada was originally published in 2024

On my most recent to my parents (who live in Pahrump, Nevada now), we made a pit stop by the Ash Meadows Wildlife Refuge on our way to Death Valley National Park to go see the Badwater Basin filled with water.

Ash Meadows is nestled in the Amargosa Desert (don’t miss a visit to the nearby Amargosa Dune while you’re near) which comprises a region of the larger Mojave Desert.

Located just a 15-minute drive from Death Valley Junction and 20 minutes from the I95, Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge is easily accessible. 

If you’re en route to Death Valley via the Furnace Creek Entrance, you’ll pass by Ash Meadows Wildlife Refuge, making it a convenient stop for an hour or more. Plus, the best part is that there’s no entrance fee.

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How to Get to Ash Meadows

From Las Vegas

  • Take I-15 N towards Los Angeles.
  • Merge onto US-95 N via Exit 42A towards Reno.
  • Continue on US-95 N for approximately 75 miles.
  • Turn left onto NV-373 N towards Amargosa Valley/Death Valley Junction.
  • Continue on NV-373 N for about 25 miles.
  • Turn left onto CA-127 N and continue for about 2 miles.
  • Ash Meadows will be on your right.

From Death Valley (East)

  • Take CA-190 W towards Death Valley Junction.
  • Merge onto CA-127 S towards Baker.
  • Continue on CA-127 S for about 7 miles.
  • Ash Meadows will be on your left.

From Pahrump (West)

  • Take NV-160 E towards Las Vegas.
  • Merge onto NV-372 E towards Amargosa Valley/Death Valley Junction.
  • Continue on NV-372 E for approximately 60 miles.
  • Turn right onto CA-127 S towards Baker.
  • Continue on CA-127 S for about 7 miles.
  • Ash Meadows will be on your left.

Where to Stay Near Ash Meadows

While there aren’t any accommodations on offer at Ash Meadows Wildlife Refuge, there are a couple of hotels within about a 10 mile radius of the park.

The closest being the Longstreet Inn & Casino and the Amargosa Opera House & Hotel.

Best Time to Visit Ash Meadows

The best time to visit in terms of temperature is from October-April when temperatures are more tolerable. If visiting in the summer plan for extreme heat of 100 degrees Fahrenheit or more. 

Things to do at Ash Meadows

Visitor Center

Likely your first stop will be for the Ash Meadows Visitor Center.

At the visitors center, you will find exhibits and a video showcasing Ash Meadows. 

Additionally, you can access the Crystal Springs Boardwalk from the visitors center.

Crystal Springs Boardwalk

The Crystal Springs Boardwalk is about a mile walk in total and brings you to the Crystal Spring, the main highlight of Ash Meadows Wildlife Refuge.

Crystal Springs lives up to its name with its clear turquoise waters. The springs are impressive- producing 2,800 gallons of water per minute.

In winter the wetlands around Crystal Springs can be flooded owing to the high volume of water and cooler temperatures staving off quick evaporation.

A surprising 26 endemic species call Crystal Springs home, with these endemics relying on it as a water source as the area only accrues about 3 inches of rainfall each year.

There’s little to no shade on the boardwalk, so make sure to apply sunscreen before taking off and carrying a bottle of water with you. 

Kings Spring & Point of Rocks Boardwalk

The Kings Spring & Point of Rocks Boardwalk is a 0.5 mile walk that brings you to another spring where you can view local pupfish.

Longstreet Spring & Cabin Boardwalk

The Longstreet Spring & Cabin Boardwalk is a short walk that spans only 0.2 miles and leads to an old stone cabin, that was constructed by a gunslinger and once used for food storage. 

The spring in this area appears to boil due to sand being pushed to the surface.

Devil’s Hole

The Devil’s Hole is a water-filled cavern housing the rarest and smallest pupfish globally, the Devil’s Hole Pupfish. 

The temperature of the water inside the Devil’s Hole remains a consistent 93 degrees Fahrenheit year-round.

Crystal Loop Road and Horseshoe Marsh

Horseshoe Marsh is located along Crystal Loop Road and is worth a stop to try and spot endemics in the area. 

Have Any Questions About Visiting Ash Meadows?

Ask in the comments below.

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