Top Places To Birdwatch in Nevada – Free & Paid Birding Destinations

December 17, 2021 // 22 minute read // 1 Shares

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Most people think about Las Vegas while thinking about Nevada, but they forget about all of the huge vast landscapes in this gorgeous state. In fact, there’s so much beautiful land that the Battle Born State is actually filled with some amazing top birding locations. And since it’s the most arid state, most people fail to realize that it’s filled with marshes, forests, lakes, and mountains.

The northern part of Nevada is the home to Great Basin National Park. It’s truly a stunning place and it’s definitely home to some of your favorite bird species, yet it’s one of the least visited national parks in the United States. This means you’ll have this incredible park practically all to yourselves if you decide to pay a visit with family members and friends.

Today, I’m also going to tell you about some of my favorite bird watching clubs that I’ve discovered in the great state of Nevada. This encompasses local clubs and local chapters of the National Audubon Society.

If you aren’t a member of a birdwatching club or conservation society at this point, you are really missing out my friend. You get to connect with other like-minded individuals for birdwatching trips, field trips, monthly meetings, and preservation and conservation activities to help improve and maintain natural habitats for your favorite avian friends.

Continue reading to discover the best free and paid birding destinations and a few of the top bird watching clubs in the Silver State to increase your enjoyment of the birding experience. And, if you are visiting any of Nevada’s neighboring states, click the following links for similar birding guides: Oregon, Idaho, Utah, Arizona, and California.

Bird Watching Destinations in Nevada: Free Destinations

Whether you live in Nevada or plan on visiting in the near future for a fun-filled holiday, you’re in luck because there are some truly astonishing free bird watching destinations to check out in this incredible state. Today, I’d like to fill you in on the top free birding destinations and share some specific knowledge and insight about the parks, whether or not they have hiking trails, the popular birds found in the area, and much more.

To find out more about these wonderful free locations for whenever you plan to be in Nevada next, please look over the information shared below.

Desert National Wildlife Refuge – Free Entrance

Did you know that the Desert NWR is actually the largest wildlife refuge outside of Alaska? This amazing place encompasses 1.6 million acres of land, so there’s definitely lots of room for exploring while viewing your favorite birds and other creatures in the wild.

Even better, it’s just 25 miles away from the Las Vegas strip in the Northwest. So, you can set up a trip to Vegas with family and friends and also take time out of your busy schedule to visit the National Wildlife Refuge to get an up close and personal view at some of your all-time favorite birds.

Location:

16001 Corn Creek Rd.
Las Vegas, NV 89124

Phone: 702-879-6110
GPS: 36.4379° N, 115.3588° W

Hours Of Operation:

The Desert National Wildlife Refuge is open every day from dusk till dawn. They also have a visitor center on the property that has specific hours that I’ll tell you about next.

Corn Creek Visitor Center

  • Open Thursday through Monday from 8 AM to 4 PM
  • Closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays
  • Anna’s Hummingbird
  • Gambel’s Quail
  • Ash-Throated Flycatcher
  • Black Phoebe
  • Lesser Nighthawk
  • Lucy’s Warbler
  • Black-Tailed Gnatcatcher
  • Crissal Thrasher
  • Hooded Oriole
  • Greater Roadrunner
  • Le Conte’s Thrasher
  • Sagebrush Sparrow

Hiking Trails:

There are many great hiking trails that range from easy, moderate, and hard difficulty located in the Desert National Wildlife Refuge. In fact, there are nine trails in total that I’m going to tell you about today. These incredibly important trails are home to some of the most beautiful birds and rare species in the world, so this is definitely a great place to visit as a birdwatcher and nature lover.

The names of the trails and other important info include:

  • Mormon Well Road – moderate difficulty, 45.1 miles, multi-day hikes to complete
  • Hayford Peak – hard difficulty, 14.6 miles, eight hours and 50 minutes to complete
  • Gass Peak Via North Decatur Blvd. – hard difficulty, 14.6 miles, nine hours and five minutes to complete
  • Mormon Well – easy difficulty, 0.6 miles, 20 minutes to complete
  • Long Canyon – hard difficulty, 8.3 miles, four hours and 25 minutes to complete
  • Corn Creek Nature Trail – easy difficulty, 2.2 miles, 55 minutes to complete
  • Sawmill Canyon Trail to Sawmill Spring – hard difficulty, 10.4 miles, five hours and 55 minutes to complete
  • Hidden Forest Trail – moderate difficulty, 10.2 miles, five and a half hours to complete
  • Gass Peak Trail – hard difficulty, 6.1 miles, three hours and 55 minutes to complete

Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve – Free Bird Watching and Hiking

Located right near the Las Vegas airport, Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve is an excellent place to visit because it has the highest number of bird species out of just about every birding location in the state of Nevada. It’s a former wastewater treatment facility that they turned into a bird viewing preserve, and it’s made up of 140 acres of land and nine ponds including many accessible walking paths. Discover waterfowl, waterbirds, shorebirds, and more in this wonderful location.

Location:

350 East Galleria Dr.
Henderson, NV 89011

Phone: 702-267-4180
Email: [email protected]
GPS: 36.0752° N, 115.0023° W

Hours Of Operation:

The hours of operation change throughout the year. A list of all of the various hours during specific months are as follows:

  • March, April, and May – 6 AM to 2 PM
  • June, July, and August – 6 AM to Noon
  • September, October, and November – 6 AM to 2 PM
  • December, January, and February – 7 AM to 2 PM
  • Greater Roadrunner
  • Cinnamon Teal
  • Neotropic Cormorant
  • Black Skimmer
  • Western Grebe
  • American Avocet
  • Ruddy Duck
  • Common Gallinule
  • Long-Tailed Duck
  • Costa’s Hummingbird
  • Albert’s Towhee
  • Black-Chinned Hummingbird

Hiking Trails:

One of my favorite things about Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve is that it encompasses a lot of great land for hiking. If you love to spend time walking around and looking at birds in their natural habitat, then you’re definitely going to enjoy this nature preserve and delightful birding area.

The names of my five favorite hiking trails in the Henderson region include:

  • Lake Las Vegas Overlook – this hiking trail is a favorite of mine because it isn’t too long but it isn’t so easy that I’ll be finished in five minutes. It’s a moderately difficult trail and the total length is 3.4 miles long. Since I can walk at a relatively quick pace, I’d say that I’d have no trouble finishing this trail in an hour and 45 minutes. And if you walk at an average pace you should have no trouble finishing it in that timeframe too.
  • Las Vegas Lake Wetlands South Trail – this is another trail that everyone will really enjoy and appreciate. Large portions of the trail are well-maintained, but other areas are a little bit more difficult, which is the reason why I rated this trail with a moderate difficulty level. That and the length because it’s 6.2 miles long. I believe that a person walking at an average pace can finish this trail in two hours and 35 minutes.
  • Henderson Bird Sanctuary Trail – this is another really good trail but in this particular case, it’s actually easier to navigate and walk along because the trail is expertly maintained and kept in great shape. It’s also 3.2 miles long, which means it’s an average size trail but it isn’t too long or too difficult. A person walking at a typical speed can finish this trail in an hour and 35 minutes.
  • Coyote Trail – I always like to mention a relatively easy trail to walk on just in case some of the people planning to visit the area aren’t big hikers. If this is the case for you, then you’ll definitely appreciate Coyote Trail because the path is easy to walk along and navigate and the total length of the trail is only one and a half miles. You can easily finish this trail in 45 minutes walking at a moderate pace.
  • Lake Las Vegas Equestrian Trail – for our final trail, I also wanted to share something beautiful with you because the scenery along the water is absolutely stunning and it’s a great trail to ride along if you’re on horseback. The total length of this easy to navigate trail is only 4 miles long. On foot, it should take the average person walking at a normal pace roughly one hour and 50 minutes to complete from beginning to end.

Great Basin National Park – No Entrance Fee

Found right near the border of Utah, Great Basin National Park is a beautiful discovery located in eastern Nevada. This remote location is also one of the national parks that receives the least visitors throughout the year, yet the people who love exploring the mountains and Lehman Caves absolutely adore this exciting birding location. While visiting here, you’ll discover all different types of birdlife in the mountains and the types of birds will change as the elevation rises.

Location:

100 Great Basin National Park
Baker, NV 89311
Phone: 775-234-7331 – phone lines open Monday through Friday from 8 AM to 4 PM

GPS: 38.9300° N, 114.2634° W

Hours Of Operation:

The park grounds are open all year long for visitors who enjoy camping, hiking, stargazing, and birdwatching.

Lehman Caves Visitor Center

  • Open seven days a week from 8 AM to 4 PM
  • Closed on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day
  • Juniper Titmouse
  • Western Scrub-Jay
  • Common Poorwill
  • Pine Siskin
  • Black Rosy-Finch
  • Williamson’s Sapsucker
  • American Three-Toed Woodpecker
  • Cordilleran Flycatcher
  • Mounting Chickadee
  • Townsend’s Solitaire
  • Pinyon Jay
  • Black-Chinned Hummingbird

Hiking Trails:

All told, there are 26 exhilarating trails located in Great Basin National Park. You’ll literally have to spend weeks up in the mountains if you want to hike the entirety of these trails, which you may plan to do over the course of many months or years. To help get you started, I’d like to share the important details about 5 of my favorite trails in the area.

To learn the names of these trails and other critical info, please keep reading:

  • Bristlecone Pine Glacier Trail – this is a moderately difficult trail, so please be prepared to have to walk through somewhat difficult terrain, but it isn’t impossible. The total length of the trail is 4.5 miles, which a person walking at an average speed can finish in 2 ½ hours.
  • Alpine Lakes Trail – this trail is one of the shorter options that I wanted to put on this list. It’s also a very easy trail and it’s well maintained and the scenery absolutely looks incredible, so you’re going to love it up here in the mountains. The total length of this trail is 2.7 miles. The average person should have no trouble completing this trail in an hour and 25 minutes.
  • Stella Lake Trail – the scenery is always beautiful walking around the lake, which is why I wanted to tell you about this moderately difficult trail surrounding Stella Lake. It’s far from easy but it isn’t particularly hard either, so I rated it with a moderate difficulty. The complete length of the trail from beginning to end is 2.1 miles, which a person walking at an average speed can finish in an hour and 10 minutes.
  • Baker Lake-Johnson Lake Loop – remember how I said I love the beauty and scenery of Lakes? Well, this particular trail is going to take you through Baker Lake and Johnson Lake in a loop. It’s a hard trail to say the least because there’s lots of forest and rocky ground in the area so it’s definitely on the difficult side. Plus, it’s a relatively long trail since the total length is 12.9 miles. Yup, it’s going to take you around eight hours and 10 minutes to complete the whole looping trail.
  • Sky Islands Forest Trail – and this is the absolute easiest trail that I’m going to tell you about today because it takes you across a very short and very clear paved path. The entire trail is only 0.3 miles, which an average person can finish in 10 minutes without much difficulty.

Stillwater National Wildlife Refuge – Free Entry, No Pass or Permit Required

Stillwater NWR is located in Western Nevada in an area called the Lahontan Basin, in an area that is designated as important wetlands. The beautiful thing about visiting this part of the state of Nevada is that it’s home to a plethora of wonderful marshes and lakes and more than 10,000 shorebirds and waterfowl can be found in the region throughout the year. Birders love coming here because it’s rich with birdlife and it’s such a wonderful opportunity to have a rewarding experience while burning with friends and family.

Location:

Stillwater Road
Fallon, NV 89406

Complex Headquarters
1020 River Pkwy., #305
Fallon, NV 89406

Phone: 775-423-5128
GPS: 39.5193° N, 118.5187° W

Hours Of Operation:

The National Wildlife Refuge is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and 365 days a year if you’re looking to enter into the park. The administrative office is only open on Monday through Friday from 8 AM to 4:30 PM.

  • Double-Crested Cormorant
  • Rough-Legged Hawk
  • American Avocet
  • Wilson’s Phalarope
  • Red-Necked Phalarope
  • Bald Eagle
  • Peregrine Falcon
  • American White Pelican
  • Black-Necked Stilt
  • Cinnamon Teal
  • Northern Shovel or
  • White-Faced Ibis

Hiking Trails:

Although I know for a fact that there are many hiking trails in the area, I’m having a difficult time discovering the names of these trails and other important details like how long they are and how long it will take to complete the trail if you walk along it in its entirety. But I want you to be certain that you can visit the area and go hiking and bird watching while you’re here. You’ll just have to follow the trails in the NWR and pay close attention to the signs.

Pahranagat National Wildlife Refuge – Free Admission

If you’re looking to find yourself in close proximity to wildlife including many wonderful birds, then you’ll definitely appreciate visiting this amazing national wildlife refuge. It’s filled with thousands of waterfowl, plenty of birds during spring and fall migrations, and the area is noisy, filled with honking commotion, and loaded with so many amazing birds that you love the experience. Hiking, hunting, and fishing are also permitted along with free camping available at the Upper Lake.

Location:

HQ Entrance Road
Alamo, NV 89001

Phone: 775-725-3417
GPS: 37.2471° N, 115.1089° W

Hours Of Operation:

The park itself is open 24 hours a day and it even remains open on holidays. The headquarters has different hours. It’s open seven days a week from 9 AM to 4:30 PM and it’s closed on typical federal holidays including Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day.

  • Yellow-Headed Blackbird
  • Virginia Rail
  • Clark’s Grebe
  • American White Pelican
  • American Avocet
  • Bullock’s Oriole
  • Greater Roadrunner
  • Vermillion Flycatcher
  • Peregrine Falcon
  • Lesser Nighthawk
  • Gambel’s Quail
  • Marsh Wren

Hiking Trails:

Since there’s so much beautiful land in this wonderful and amazing region, I find it hard to believe that there is only one hiking trail in the area. Honestly, there is definitely going to be more than one trail, but I can only find the name and other pertinent details about this specific trail, so that’s all I can really share with you today. But don’t worry because when you visit the NWR you’ll find out about all of the other trails in the area as well because they definitely exist.

The name of this trail and even more important details include:

  • Upper Pahranagat Lake Loop – there are so many good things to like about this particular trail that makes it a stunning opportunity for everyone. For starters, this is an easy trail so you don’t have to worry about facing this massively difficult challenge if you aren’t up for it. This trail is designed for everyone. It’s somewhat long at 4.8 miles in total distance, but nobody ever said you had to walk the entirety of the trail. Just walk the portion of the trail that provides the best birding experience and nothing more. If you do decide to go for broke and take on the whole trail from beginning to end, it’s going to take roughly 2 hours and five minutes to complete walking at an average pace.

Birding In Nevada: Paid Destinations

Floyd Lamb Park – Park Pass Required, Vehicle Entrance Fee

Floyd Lamb Park is truly one of the most attractive and stunning hideaways in all of Las Vegas. This beautiful place is home to 680 acres of a gorgeous park filled with lush vegetation, beautiful views of the lake, mountain ranges in the distance, and loads of birds and other wildlife for you to enjoy and appreciate. Do yourself a huge favor and make it a point to visit this stunning place the next time you’re in Las Vegas or if you plan to visit in the near future.

Location:

9200 Tule Springs Rd.
Las Vegas, NV 89131

Phone: 702-229-8100
GPS: 36.3228° N, 115.2680° W

Hours Of Operation:

At the time of this writing, Floyd Lamb Park isn’t currently sharing their spring and summer hours. But as of right now their Winter hours are as follows: from October to March the park is open every day from 8 AM to 5 PM.

  • Pied-Billed Grebe
  • Cooper’s Hawk
  • Costa’s Hummingbird
  • Black Phoebe
  • Yellow Warbler
  • Bullock’s Oriole
  • Black-Crowned Night-Heron
  • Ruddy Duck
  • Double-Crested Cormorant
  • Ladder-Backed Woodpecker
  • Burrowing Owl
  • Greater Roadrunner

Hiking Trails:

Similar to the previous park that I recently covered, the Floyd Lamb Park landscape only has one named hiking trail that I can tell you about today. I also want to mention that the area has lots of mountain bike trails spread throughout, so if you love or just simply enjoy mountain biking, then you’d definitely want to visit this park because there are plenty of opportunities for you to spend time riding your bike in nature.

With that said, the hiking trail and other important information include:

  • Floyd Lamb Tule Springs Park Trail – as I mentioned, this is the only hiking trail with the name that I can tell you about, although there are definitely going to be other hiking trails that you can enjoy and experience while visiting Floyd Lamb Park. This particular trail is very easy and it takes you right near the lake, which definitely makes for some really pretty scenery to enjoy as you walk through the park. The trail itself is 0.9 miles long from one end to the other, so it shouldn’t take much more than a half an hour to finish in its entirety if you walk at an average pace.

Nevada Birdwatching Clubs

Living in Nevada provides excellent opportunities for joyful bird watching experiences with family members and friends. It also provides the opportunity to connect with other like-minded individuals who are members of local bird watching clubs and NAS chapters within the community. The National Audubon Society particularly plays a big role in effectively promoting environmentally friendliness, maintaining birdwatching habitats, and so much more.

After I took a look around on the Internet, I realized that there were a number of different NAS chapters and likely a few local bird watching clubs that may or may not be active right now because it’s the holiday season. I also learned that these groups like to meet up regularly and go on field trips, bird walks, have group meetings, take care of local birding habitats and the environment, and so much more. 

I highly recommend becoming a member of one of these organizations if you’re looking to branch out and make new friends in the Silver State. Check out the following organizations and consider becoming a member if you’re interested.

Lahontan Audubon Society

This wonderful organization has a mission that they have been successfully implementing for many years dating all the way back to December 1963 when the group was originally founded. Their goal is to improve existing habitats and preserve birds and other wildlife. They also intend to restore historical habitats while educating the public about birds, wildlife, the environment, and much more.

This nonprofit organization serves Northwest Nevada and focuses on building a membership of conservation-minded families and individuals. This group consists of a wide array of dedicated birders who enjoy viewing birds outside in their backyard or while going on hikes, educational adventures, and much more.

Contact Info:

Lahontan Audubon Society
PO Box 2304
Reno, NV 89505-2304

Email: [email protected]

Past and Future Events

  • Silver Saddle Ranch Field Trip – this exciting birding adventure took place on November 11 and the group was led by Jeff Bleam. The group had the opportunity to walk along the trails that follow the Carson River. They saw many Canada Geese, Juncos, Sparrows, Mountain Chickadees, Downy Woodpecker’s, Flickers, and more. It was a fun time for all in attendance.
  • Davis Creek Field Trip – this field trip took place on October 29, 2021 and the group was once again led by Jeff Bleam and it was hosted at Davis Creek regional park. During this field trip, participants had the opportunity to enjoy the warm morning sun as they hiked along the hiking paths. They saw Red-Breasted Nuthatches, Mountain Chickadees, Cassin’s Finches, Pygmies, White-Headed Woodpeckers, and many more amazing birds.

Membership Fees:

To join the LAS chapter of the National Audubon Society, you must simply visit this page and follow the on-screen instructions. Or if you prefer, you can always print out the form, fill it out, and mail it into the following address:

Lahontan Audubon Society
Attn: Membership
PO Box 2304
Reno, NV 89505

The cost to become a member is:

  • Student/Senior – $15
  • Individual/Family – $20

As mentioned, an annual membership only costs $20 per year. It’s more than worth it to become a member of this prestigious organization of other like-minded birders who regularly enjoy fun filled field trips every month.

Red Rock Audubon

As a chapter of the National Audubon Society, the Red Rock Audubon is a well-known and respected part of the community in southern Nevada. This organization first formed in 1976, but they’ve been an active member of the community ever since.

This group is dedicated to conservation and they’ve spent many years maintaining and providing habitats for birds and other wildlife. Besides their great conservation efforts, they hold regular meetings to the general public, workshops, educational events, and plenty of wonderful birding field trips for members and non-members alike.

Contact Info:
Red Rock Audubon Society
PO Box 96691
Las Vegas, NV 89193

Email: [email protected]

Past and Future Events:

  • Death Valley National Park Christmas Bird Count – every year, the Red Rock Audubon Society chapter of the NAS gets involved with the Christmas bird count held in Death Valley National Park. This is an all-day event on December 16, 2021 and it’s definitely important and a good cause. For more information please contact: Carol Fields, Biological Science Technician, Death Valley National Park, PO Box 579, Death Valley, CA 92328,760-786-3252, email: [email protected].
  • Ash Meadows Christmas Bird Count – this event is happening on December 17, 2021 and it’s an all-day event. It takes place at the Ash Meadows NWR. To get involved, you can register for the event by clicking here and following the on-screen instructions.

Membership Fees:

becoming a member of the Red Rock Audubon Society is one of the easiest things in the world to do. It’s $20 to join this local chapter for one year and to continue with your membership, you’ll need to renew it every year. They also accept donations as well.

You can sign up online by following the instructions on this page here. Or you can fill out the membership form and mail it into the following address with a check made payable to Red Rock Audubon Society.

Mailing Address
Red Rock Audubon Society
Attention: Membership
PO Box 66691
Las Vegas, NV 89193

Birding In Nevada Final Thoughts

Hopefully, you have had the chance to explore some of these great Nevada birdwatching destinations and resources. And, if you know of a fantastic place that needs to be included in this guide, feel free to contact us! We want to make sure that our guides are as helpful as possible for our readers!

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