Laws and Regulations


  • Only street legal vehicles are permitted – no ATVs, UTVs, or dirt bikes. Please protect wildlife habitat - stay on designated public access roads and park only in designated areas. 
  • High-clearance vehicles are needed for travel on Alamo Road. Four-wheel drive is recommended. Make sure your vehicle is ready for the trip - check your tires, fuel, fluids, and battery. The most common problem people experience in the backcountry is a flat tire – a spare, and the means to change it, are a must!  


  • Bikes are restricted to open roadways and designated bike-friendly trails. Please see trail map for bike-friendly paths. 

Horseback riding: 

  • Horseback riding is not allowed anywhere on the refuge. Horseback riding is permitted at Desert National Wildlife Refuge, located roughly an hour and a half from Pahranagat. 


  • Pets are welcome but must be leashed at all times.  

  • All pet waste must be packed out. Pet waste bags are provided at the campgrounds and the visitor center. 

  • The lakes and marshes are home to rare and endangered species. Pets may not swim or wade in the water. 

  • Animal dumping is prohibited 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 often ill-adapted to survive on their own, can carry diseases fatal to their wild relatives, and may eat the native species that live here.   


  • Camping is only permitted at designated campsites. Backcountry camping is not permitted. 

  • Fifteen primitive campsites are available along the Upper Pahranagat Lake. The sites are available throughout the year on a first-come, first-serve basis. We do not normally take reservations, but we may reserve a site for a youth group doing a service project for us as part of their stay. If you'd like to schedule a service project, contact the visitor services specialist at 775-725-3417 ext. 101 

  • Visitors are permitted to stay for a maximum of fourteen days within a 31-day period.  

  • Quiet hours are from 10 pm – 7 am.  

  • There is no water provided at the campgrounds - please bring all the water you will need 

  • All garbage (including food waste) must be packed out.  

  • All campsites have a BBQ pit and picnic table. Most sites also have a fire pit. If your campsite does not have a fire pit, ground fires are prohibited. Construction of fire rings is also prohibited. 


  • Non-motorized boats or boats with electric motors are permitted on Upper Lake from February 1st through September 30th.  

  • Non-motorized boats or boats with electric motors are permitted on Middle Marsh and Lower Lake during waterfowl hunt season for waterfowl hunting purposes only. 

  • The use of boats, rubber rafts, or other flotation devices are not permitted on North Marsh at any time.  

  • Watercraft must be in compliance with all applicable state and federal rules. 

  • Trailer launching is not permitted. As a way to prevent the spread of invasive species invasive species
    An invasive species is any plant or animal that has spread or been introduced into a new area where they are, or could, cause harm to the environment, economy, or human, animal, or plant health. Their unwelcome presence can destroy ecosystems and cost millions of dollars.

    Learn more about invasive species
    , only car-top watercrafts are permitted.  

  • State law requires a wearable Personal Flotation Device on board for each person. All boat passengers under 12 years old must wear a life jacket while in a boat this is underway.  


  • Swimming is not permitted anywhere on the refuge.   


  • Fishing is permitted year-round in designated areas of the refuge, subject to all applicable State, Federal, and Refuge regulations.  

  • North Marsh is closed to fishing October 1st to February 1st.  

  • State fishing regulations are required for individuals ages 12 and older. For more information contact or call 702-486-5127.  

Hunting and Firearms: 

  • Hunting is permitted on designated days in designated areas of the refuge, subject to all applicable state and federal regulations. See hunting tab for more information. 

  • When participating in a legal hunting activity, firearms are permitted but must be unloaded and encased or dismantled while being transported by a vehicle or boat. Loaded is defined as having rounds in the chamber or magazine.  

  • Hunters may only possess approved non-toxic shot. Lead shot is prohibited. 

  • From October 1 through February 1, hunters are restricted to no more than 25 shotshells. 

  • Temporary blinds are permitted. However, all decoys, portable blinds, and other personal blinds must be removed from the refuge daily and temporary blinds must be dismantled at the close of each day. 

  • Target shooting is prohibited.  

  • Firearms are not allowed in the visitor center. 

Artifacts and Fossils: 

  • Enjoy the petroglyphs, pictographs, fossils, and archeological sites throughout the refuge, but take only pictures. 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 


  • Launching, landing or disturbing of wildlife by aircraft (drones) is prohibited.  

Restricted Access Area: 

  • The north marsh is permanently closed to all public use.  

  • Black Canyon is currently closed to all public use.  

  • Entry of all kinds is prohibited in both areas. Other refuge areas may be closed as needed for habitat rehabilitation or wildlife monitoring activities. Check the visitor center for up-to-date closure information. 


The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issues permits under various wildlife law and treaties at a number of offices throughout the country.  Permits enable the public to engage in legitimate wildlife-related activities that would otherwise be prohibited by law.  Service permit programs ensure that such 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 activates to go forward. 

Permits are handled by permitting programs in International Affairs (Management Authority), Endangered Species, Law Enforcement, and Migratory Birds. 

Visit the National Wildlife Refuge System website for Special Use Permits. 

For more detailed information, go to How to Obtain a Permit, FAQs/Facts, or Application Forms.