Pahranagat National Wildlife Refuge

Fish and Wildlife Service, Nevada.


The Nuwuvi (Southern Paiute and Chemehuevi) oral history and the geologic record indicate that thousands of years ago Nevada was much cooler and wetter than it is today. Many valleys contained lakes which dried up as the climate warmed, leaving white mineral deposits on valley and canyon walls. Today, Pahranagat National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) contains several lakes and marshes, similar to those which once occurred throughout many parts of southern Nevada. In the Paiute language, Pahranagat can mean “feet sticking in water,” an apt name for this wetland oasis straddling the Mojave and Great Basin Deserts. Few landscapes are as contrasting as Pahranagat National Wildlife Refuges lush wetlands and the surrounding desert landscape.  Nourished by life-giving waters of Crystal and Ash Springs, Pahranagat NWR offers wetland and riparian habitats for thousands of migratory birds, numerous birds of prey, deer, reptiles, small mammals, and rare fish.  

Visitors from near and far find sanctuary among the crystal pools and springs as they learn about the Refuge's unique plant and animal communities. Local people take pride in the Refuge, and visitors tell their families and friends about this brilliant desert gem. Educators recognize the Refuge as an exceptional regional resource for environmental education and observation of wildlife and the habitats upon which they depend. Volunteers take great personal satisfaction from applying their interests and abilities to the conservation and interpretation of a unique, natural Mojave Desert community for the enjoyment of present and future generations of Americans. 

Pahranagat NWR is one of more than 560 refuges in the National Wildlife Refuge System, a network of lands set aside specifically for wildlife. Managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the System is a living heritage, conserving wildlife and habitat for people today and generations to come. 

Nearby Activities


From Las Vegas Nevada: Travel north on I-15 for 26 miles.  Take exit 64 for US-93 (Great Basin Hwy).  Continue north for 64 miles.  

From Great Basin National Park in Nevada:  Take US-50 west for 30 miles.  Turn left onto US-93 south for 169 miles.  Pass through the towns of Pioche, Caliente, and Alamo. 

From Saint George Utah: Travel south on I-15 for 68 miles.  Take exit 91.  Turn left onto Glendale Blvd for 0.5 miles.  Turn right onto Hwy 168 and continue for 24 miles. Turn right onto US-93 and travel north for 33 miles. 

Additional Information

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