Facility Rules and Policies

There are lots of fun, interesting and educational activities that you can do on the refuge. Please check with refuge management before participating in an activity that could harm the environment, yourself, other people, wildlife or habitats. We want all of our visitors to enjoy the refuge. Please help us protect this area and its unique wildlife by adhering to the following rules and regulations.

Yuma Rail Migration study

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issues permits under various wildlife laws and treaties.  Permits enable the public and scientific communities to engage in legitimate wildlife-related activities that would otherwise be prohibited by law. 

Permits ensure that activities are carried out in a manner that safeguards wildlife.  Additionally, some permits promote conservation efforts by authorizing scientific research, generating data, or allowing wildlife management and rehabilitation activities to go forward.

Contact refuge office for more information 775-372-5435

Vehicular Travel
Ash Meadows main road

Only registered and insured passenger vehicles are allowed on the refuge. Passenger vehicle is defined as a "motor vehicle that is designed, constructed or adapted for the principal purpose of transporting passengers," but excludes off-highway vehicles. All off-highway vehicles (OHVs), are prohibited because of impacts to the land and natural and cultural resources. OHVs are defined as "a motor vehicle that is designed primarily for off-highway and all-terrain use." This definition includes, but is not limited to, side-by-sides, quads, dune buggies, four-wheelers.

Motorcycles must be registered, insured, and have rear view mirrors.

For nearby locations where OHV use is permitted, please visit the Nevada Off-Highway Vehicles Program

Please protect wildlife habitat - stay on designated roads and follow posted speed limits.


Bicycles are allowed on designated public access roads. Riding bicycles off road or on boardwalks is prohibited.


Drones are prohibited on the refuge. Launching or landing aircraft, including drones, or disturbing of wildlife by aircraft is prohibited.  50 CFR 27.34/27.61


Dogs must be on a six foot leashat all times, except when used in association with legal hunting in designated areas.  Dogs are allowed on boardwalks; owners must clean up after their pets. 

Do not leave pets in vehicles, especially from April through October when daytime temperatures can be high

Even the best behaving pet can unintentionally scare or harm the wildlife, or be harmed by the wildlife. Please keep your pet leashed at all times and remember to clean up after them.   

There is no animal dumping permitted on the refuge. If you have a cat, goldfish, or any other pet you can no longer take care of, please find a new home for it away from the refuge. Domesticated animals are ill-adapted to survive on their own, can carry diseases fatal to their wild relatives, and may eat the native species that live here. If you need help finding a new home for your pet, please check the Don't Let It Loose website.


Leave No Trace Principle number 5. Dispose of trash properly is always appropriate when visiting the refuge. Reduce your impact to the refuge, wildlife, and other visitors by using provided trash cans to dispose of all trash. When visiting with your dog always bag their poop and place in a trash can. If no trash can is handy. Pack all trash out with you.  

Hunting, Fishing and Firearms

Hunting is permitted in designated areas and is subject to all applicable state, federal and refuge specific regulations. Hunting Rules and Regulations.

Firearms are not permitted inside the Visitor Center.

Fishing is strictly prohibited on the refuge.


Hikersare required to stay on designated boardwalks. Be aware of your surroundings especially during the spring, summer and fall when venomous rattlesnakes, including sidewinders, are still active. Do not disturb, injure or kill them.  


Swimming is prohibited outside of Crystal Reservoir. Swimmers should be aware that the water level has been lowered to reduce dam safety hazards, creating muddy and sometimes unappealing swimming conditions. Swimmer's itch has also been a common problem in Crystal Reservoir. 


Only non-motorized boatsor boats with electric motors are permitted on the refuge and only on Crystal and Peterson Reservoirs.  Watercraft must be in compliance with all applicable state and federal rules.  Help protect your boat and Nevada's waters by thoroughly cleaning your boat prior to entering any body of water and checking for aquatic hitchhikers, such as the quagga mussel.  


Artifacts and Fossils

Enjoy the petroglyphs, pictographs, fossils, and archeological sites throughout the refuge, but take only pictures. Strive to visit just like an archaeologist. Don’t touch or remove any artifacts - it not only prevents future visitors from being able to enjoy them, but is also a violation of federal law.

If you have questions about historic sites or artifacts, or you are interested in becoming a site steward, please contact the Nevada State Historic Preservation Office.