Looking for a spot close to home where you can relax and watch wildlife? Here are some places to appreciate nature that you don’t need to leave Nevada for (and remember, don’t feed the animals).
Hemenway Valley Park: Popular grazing spot for bighorn sheep
Hemenway Valley Park is a 10-acre park in Boulder City with a playground, horseshoe pits, picnic shelters and two tennis courts. For animal lovers, there’s green grass to sit on while watching desert bighorn sheep graze and lie around. You can also see Lake Mead located only five miles from the park. (Remember: don’t feed the sheep!)
Address: 401 Ville Drive, Boulder City
Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve: Home to thousands of migratory waterfowl
Located on the third-largest body of water in Southern Nevada, the Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve is a free spot to view over 270 species of birds.
The 140-acre preserve features nine ponds with a ¾-mile path accessible by wheelchair. Guided walking and mobile tours are available.
Located at the city of Henderson’s Wastewater Reclamation Facility, the preserve was officially dedicated by the city in 1998. The spot first became popular for birders in 1967 when the National Audubon Society began taking count of the number of types of birds there.
Address: 350 E. Galleria Drive, Henderson
Clark County Wetlands Park: Where Vegas’ water returns to nature
The 210-acre preserve features three miles of paved ADA accessible trails to view over 70 species of mammals, amphibians and reptiles and 310 species of birds.
Coyotes and cottontail rabbits can sometimes be seen during visitor hours. Spiny soft-shelled turtles can be seen during summer months in ponds and streams in the park. Birds of prey like red-tailed hawks can also be seen flying over the park, according to the Clark County Nevada website.
The preserve, which includes the Las Vegas Wash, is sustained by the discharge of treated wastewater from the Valley’s reclamation facilities.
Address: 7050 Wetlands Park Lane, Las Vegas
Cornerstone Park: A great place to run (away from geese)
A popular spot for geese, Cornerstone Park has a 31-acre lake and a large grass area for watching large flocks of geese that roam the park.
Marshes by the lake attract other waterfowl, including mallards and other ducks.
The city of Henderson is currently developing a second phase of the park’s development with a dog park and a trail that connects the park to Stephanie Street as proposed amenities.
Address: 1600 Wigwam Parkway, Henderson
Floyd Lamb Park at Tule Springs: A desert oasis with a view of the mountains
The 680-acre park has four ponds stocked with fish, including bluegill, crappie, carp and largemouth bass. Peacocks, ducks and geese can also be seen roaming park grounds.
Visitors can also view the Sheep and Spring Mountain ranges around the park.
For those interested in prehistoric animals, the Tule Springs Fossil Beds nearby contains fossilized remains of mammoth, horses, giant sloths, bison and camels from 200,000 to 3,000 years ago.
Address: 9200 Tule Springs Road, Las Vegas
Valley of Fire State Park: Home to red rocks and jackrabbits
Desert bighorn sheep have been spotted in the park along with lizards, jackrabbits and antelope ground squirrels. Other animals like coyotes, bobcats and badgers reside in the park, but they are almost never spotted as nocturnal animals.
When real animals aren’t around, visitors can check out the popular rock formation Elephant Rock and use their imagination.
Address: 29450 Valley of Fire Highway, Overton
Historic Railroad Trail at Lake Mead: A dog-friendly hike with bats
This 7.5- mile hike not only provides views of the Boulder Basin area of Lake Mead, but during twilight hours provides a spot to watch bats.
The trail was originally constructed to move large pieces for Hoover Dam during the 1930s. To move these large pieces, large tunnels through the mountainside were construction. Today, Mexican free-tail bats live in the 300-foot long tunnels from May to October.
The bats generally don’t fly low enough to disturb hikers, so you’ll have to look at the top of the tunnel to see them. You might catch a glimpse at a bighorn sheep or lizard along the trail or below it, too.
Address: Parking for the trail available at the Lake Mead Visitor Center.
10 Lakeshore Road, Boulder City