An oasis near Vegas perfect for RV boondocking

An oasis near Vegas perfect for RV boondocking

 

By Bob Difley

The Desert National Wildlife Refuge is not somewhere you go to stay in a full hook-up RV resort or to visit Nevada’s famed casinos.

More likely you’ll be slathering on sun block and scanning the horizon for a bit of shade. But the oasis at the refuge headquarters at Corn Springs is a welcome splash of green grass, green trees, and shade surrounded on all sides by desert scrub and creosote.

corn-springsAn amazing number of migratory and song birds visit this refuge to take advantage of the copious water flow from the year round spring, plentiful food supplies, and a safe nesting habitat. Observation is best in early morning and late afternoon during the most active feeding times for both birds and wildlife.

As many as 50 species of birds have been counted here in a single morning, flitting about in the large oak trees, cottonwood, willow, and fruit trees planted by earlier residents that flourish around the spring.

In the back country of this huge 2,200 square mile refuge — the largest in the lower 48 states — live the greatest number of bighorn sheep outside of Alaska, as well as mountain lions, eagles, coyotes, and kit foxes. You wouldn’t notice the refuge unless you traveled the four miles of dirt road to the visitor center, one of the BLM’s few, which has maps, bird lists, restrooms, and a wonderful nature trail leading around the ponds fed by the spring.

Boondocking with views of looming Mt. Charleston is permitted on the open land surrounding the visitor center.

For the adventurous, the Mormon Well Road, suitable for four-wheel drive or high clearance two-wheel drive vehicles, starts from Highway 95 and terminates on Highway 93 near State Route 168. Typical travel time from Las Vegas is about four hours total.

Take I-95 north from Las Vegas 22 miles to the Desert National Wildlife Refuge sign and turn right four miles to the visitor center.

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6 thoughts on “An oasis near Vegas perfect for RV boondocking

  1. Bob Difley

    George – Correct if you’re traveling the Mormon Rd. from Northeast to Southwest. However my article was about traveling to the Corn Springs Visitor Center over a road suitable for any vehicle, then accessing the Mormon Road (high-clearance or 4WD) near the visitor center and continuing to the Northeast and Highway 95 as the terminus.

  2. George

    I checked this further and I believe the highway you want is U.S. Route 95. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U.S._Route_95_in_Nevada

  3. George

    I-95! Maybe it should read I-15?

    1. Bob Difley

      Hi George – To clarify, the Mormon Well route begins at Highway 95 Northwest of Las Vegas on Corn springs Road, which you follow for 4 miles to the Corn springs visitor center. Just beyond the visitor center, turn right on Alamo Road and left on Mormon well Road which terminates at Highway 93 just south of State Route 168. The part beyond the visitor center requires high-clearance or 4WD. You can see it on Google maps: https://goo.gl/M0HzId

  4. Walt

    So this would be boondocking for a camper with a four-wheel drive truck or van and not someone in a motorhome, I take it? Or is there a way in for such vehicles?

    1. Bob

      Hi Walt – You can drive in with a motorhome, I did it with a car in tow. The camping area around the visitor center and the entry road are dirt but not prohibitive for non-4-WD vehicles. However, when you go beyond the visitor center the road is not as well maintained and gets rougher and you likely would need 4WD or at least a high-clearance vehicle to explore much further. But to the visitor center, if you don’t mind getting your rig dusty, it’s worth the effort.

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