While I was visiting Death Valley, I was told at the Amargosa Opera House & Hotel where I was staying that I had to go and visit Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge.
It is a 15 minute drive from Death Valley Junction where I was staying and 20 minutes from the I95. If you are heading to Death Valley by the entrance at Furnace Creek then you will pass Ash Meadows, so it’s worth having a stop for an hour or longer. What else is great is that it does not cost to enter.
There is a visitor centre there with exhibits and a video you can watch on Ash Meadows and from the visitors centre you can also access the Crystal Springs Boardwalk which is what I did.
I was there at the end of September and temperatures were still in the high 30’s so despite the walk only being a mile you still need to carry water with you and put sun cream on too.
The crystal springs are beautiful and where I saw the most wildlife, it also produces 2,800 gallons of water a minute. The wetlands when I was there were pretty dry as it was the end of summer but in the winter the area can become very flooded.
Ash Meadows was established in June 1984 and is managed by the US Fish and Wildlife Service. It is 23,000 acres of spring fed wetlands and has 26 endemic species. With only 3 inches of rain a year it is reliant on the water from the springs.
There are also 2 other boardwalks that you are able to visit, Kings Spring & Point of Rocks Boardwalk and Longstreet Spring & Cabin Boardwalk, they are 0.5 miles and 0.2 miles, so nice easy walks. I also visited Horseshoe Marsh as I drove around the Crystal Loop road. There are a few roads to drive along to see various parts of the park. Despite the distances not being large it can take a while as the roads are all gravel tracks.
It is a great little park to visit, probably the best time to visit is in spring and autumn rather than summer as especially in spring there will be more plants to see. During summer the animals tend to keep away or hidden during the day due to the heat. The best time to visit in summer is in the morning as the hottest part of the day here is actually late afternoon!!
Have you ever visited Ash Meadows or visited the area? Let me know.
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