About the Refuge

Song Bird on Dead Limb

"One touch of nature makes the whole world kin."

-William Shakespeare

Few landscapes are as contrasting as Pahranagat National Wildlife Refuge’s (NWR) lush wetlands and the surrounding Mojave Desert.  Nourished by life-giving waters of Crystal and Ash Springs, Pahranagat National Wildlife Refuge offers wetland and riparian habitats for thousands of migratory birds, numerous birds of prey, deer, reptiles, small mammals, and rare fish. 

In 1963, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recognized the value of the Pahranagat Valley and designated 3,916 acres of lakes, marshes, meadows, and desert uplands as Pahranagat NWR.  Later land acquisitions expanded the refuge to its present size of 5,382 acres.
Pahranagat NWR is located on the Pacific Flyway, a major north-south migratory route along the western coast of the United States. Hundreds of birds stop here to rest and refuel during their long journeys. In the spring and fall, the migration of hundreds of unique bird species makes Pahranagat a birdwatcher's paradise. Many bird species also breed and overwinter here.
Pahranagat NWR’s recreational opportunities will bring visitors into close proximity with wildlife.  There have been 264 bird species recorded on the refuge, which is over half of all birds recorded in the state of Nevada! Photography of these birds at the Upper Lake or Middle Marsh is a favorite activity of regular visitors.  Pahranagat features approximately 7 miles of hiking trails which cross through five different habitat types, giving visitors the opportunity to see meadows, marshes, lakes, streams and desert within a single afternoon visit. Hunting and fishing are allowed during prescribed seasons, and for those interested in experiencing this desert oasis at night, free camping is available on designated campsites at the Upper Lake. 
We invite you to visit the refuge and experience the wonder of its incredibly diverse wildlife. The refuge is open every day. The visitor center, constructed in 2015, observes different hours of operation based on the season. From September through May the visitor center is open Thursday-Monday 9:00 am to 4:30 pm. From Memorial Day through Labor Day the center is open Friday, Saturday, and Sunday 9:00 am to 4:30 pm. The visitor center features interactive exhibits, a short refuge film, informational brochures, and a small gift shop where you can buy souvenirs of your time at the refuge.