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“Stark Beauty”

Las Vegas National Wildlife Refuge
Reviewed 9 October 2013

This wildlife refuge is for bird watchers and not for those who prefer to get out an mosey around. Most of the bird watching is done from your car or from one of the overlooks. The NWR surrounds MacAllister Lake which is actually owned by the State of New Mexico and it has been opened in the past to camping and fishing (it is not as of this writing and hasn't been for at least two years). People still occasionally disperse camp near the entrance to the lake but I do not know if this is legal or not.

Here is an insider's tip. The first overlook after the NWR HQ features a telescope (free) that people normally use to watch birds. However, this telescope can be used to watch the moonrise or other celestial events. I even hooked my camera up to it one evening to take pictures of the nighttime sky. Very cool. Sometimes they lock the gate on the short road to the overlook at night but it is often open. In any event this is a great place to get away from the city and enjoy the night skies without an extended drive.

If you want to take the scenic drive you need a permit from the ranger station. Sadly, this route is not open for hiking, car only. Back when the lake actually had water in it I would sometimes come out and hike around the lake and listen to the birds cry to each other. Not any more.

Thank NorthernNMCritic
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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26 - 30 of 37 reviews

Reviewed 30 August 2013

I enjoyed this park. The difference between national parks and national wildlife refuges is the amount of people who visit (few at the NWR). There was no water in the lakes, however the area received over 5 inches of rain in July so hopefully they have some water now. There was a short, about a mile long, hike that took you into a canyon and above where there are some old homesteader ruins. I liked the hike so much I returned a second time. No one else on the trail, very quiet and peaceful. Wildlife spotted: a collared lizard and a rattlesnake. I went during the week so both times the visitor center was open. The staff was very friendly and helpful.

Thank 13SS
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 July 2013

The refuge sits on the flyway just east of the Rocky Mountains, and harbors a huge variety of waterfowl and eagles during migration. When there isn't a drought. Check the Friends website for events: www.flvnwr.org

1  Thank JoRita83
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 April 2013

We went on a weekend when the visitor center was not open, so can't say anything about that. I assume it will be open sometime in May. All lakes are bone dry. Little wildlife. A few birds, but hardly worth the trip.

Thank Bev_in_SantaFe
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 31 March 2013

There is no water there anymore. It's bone dry from the drought. After hiking for an hour, we saw 4 meadowlarks and 4 Say's phoebes, which you can see in any desert. There was no other life, beyond the insects they were eating.

Too bad the feds who run this NWR can't see their way clear to warn the public that "there is no there, there" before they take the long car trip out just to see it. I wish we had seen the one trip review here that mentioned the problem before we wasted our day on it.

1  Thank Chaya7777
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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