Seasons of Wildlife

Desert Bighorn Sheep courtesy of Bristlecone Media

The best time for viewing wildlife is spring and fall.  Just like people, animals like the moderate temperatures. (Photo courtesy of Jonah Matthewson)       

  • Spring

    Yellow-headed Blackbird

    In late March the weather warms up and splashes of color begin to appear across the desert landscape. Ash Meadows is one of the few locations in the desert that has flowers blooming throughout the year and not just in the spring. Although we can't compete with the flower display in Death Valley after an unusually wet winter, our flowers are beautiful and unique.  


    In the spring the birds begin to migrate to the north.  The refuge becomes host for these weary travelers and for the birders who flock to see them.  


    Lizards become more active and easily noticed as they scurry along the boardwalks.  The pupfish males, especially in Kings Pool, become even more blue which helps attract a mate.     

  • Summer

    Crystal Boardwalk in Spring

    It is lush and green in the summer but remember: It's HOT!  Be prepared.  Temperatures are over 100° (F) and beginning mid-day the animals and people seek shade.  The coolest time of the day is early mornings and don't be fooled thinking it cools off toward evening.  The hottest time of the day is 4:00 - 5:00 p.m.

  • Fall

    Ash Trees

    Fall colors in the desert?  It's true.  When fall arrives the ash trees can put on a spectacular display of orange and gold especially around Crystal Reservoir.  This is a good time to visit the refuge because the weather is nice, the refuge is still green and there are lots of birds.  Fall is migration time again and our feathered friends fly south for the winter.  Wildlife abounds too and you may even see desert bighorn sheep.

  • Winter

    Crystal Spring

    During the winter months the refuge can appear to be a desolate place.  The trees are bare, the grasses are brown and most of the animals are still in their winter sleep.  But winter is an opportunity to see a different side of the refuge.  The pupfish still frolick in brilliant caribbean blue waters and on cold winter mornings the steam rising from the warm springs gives the refuge a mystical feel.