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“Tries hard and benefits from the flyways” 3 of 5 bubbles
Review of Las Vegas National Wildlife Refuge

Las Vegas National Wildlife Refuge
Las Vegas, New Mexico, United States
Level Contributor
148 reviews
43 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 80 helpful votes
“Tries hard and benefits from the flyways”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 13 December 2013

While there is not much in the way of improvements here, this refuge is outstanding for being a spot where you can see an extraordinary range of bird species in just a short visit. Since Las Vegas is on a principal north-south flyway, this refuge just outside of town is a great place to go birding. There is a very good visitor center with knowledgeable staff and hands-on activities for the younger set. It's wide-open country, with a few timber viewing platforms at turn-outs on the road. Twice a year you can drive into the back country along the service roads and see ponds with birds you can't view from the usual spots. No picnic or camping facilities, and the fishing lake has dried up (though recent rains may have started to restore it).

Visited May 2013
Helpful?
Thank Randy B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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35 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Lyme, New Hampshire
Level Contributor
5 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“When There's Water, There Are Birds”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 31 October 2013

It had rained recently so all the ponds had water in them. Thus we were treated to about 30 sandhill cranes busy feeding, plus plenty of hawks and other birds. We appreciated the free telescopes at the overlook, making it easier to spot the cranes. Visitor center was closed but we took the short Gallinas Nature Trail where we saw a cool ringneck snake (harmless) as well as a large (also harmless) gopher snake. Trail starts on flat prairie with some old ruins from the 1920s, then descends into a small canyon with some permanent seeps that attract wildlife. No crowds at all in spite of this being a Sunday. Great for a few hours respite from the world of humans.

Visited October 2013
Helpful?
Thank The_Park_Explorer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Santa Fe
Level Contributor
78 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 184 helpful votes
“Stark Beauty”
4 of 5 bubbles 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.

Visited August 2013
Helpful?
Thank NorthernNMCritic
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Somonauk, Illinois
Level Contributor
119 reviews
28 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 65 helpful votes
“Nice, short hike.”
5 of 5 bubbles 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.

Visited July 2013
Helpful?
Thank 13SS
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Las Vegas, New Mexico
Level Contributor
23 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“LVNWR”
5 of 5 bubbles 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

Visited June 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank JoRita83
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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