Las Vegas Northwest Birding Trail
This day trip maximizes the differences in habitat types, and therefore maximizes the diversity of bird species that can be seen. Visit a desert oasis on the Desert National Wildlife Range, mountains at Mt. Charleston, and desert canyons at Red Rocks. Pack a lunch or eat at a lodge in the mountains.
From downtown, start by driving north on Highway 95 towards Reno. Drive for about 30 minutes to Corn Creek. This is the single best birding site in the Las Vegas area for desert species and migrants. Plan to spend 2 hours here.
From Corn Creek, head for the mountains. Drive back to Highway 95 and turn right (north). Drive north to the turnoff for the Las Vegas ski area (Highway 156). Turn left (west) and drive to the end of the road high in Lee Canyon. Bird the high-elevation zone here and visit the big meadow on the way down. Drive back down Highway 156 for a couple of miles to Highway 158. Turn right (south) on Highway 158 and drive across the face of the mountains to Highway 157 in Kyle Canyon. Turn right (west) on Highway 157 and drive to the end of the pavement in Kyle Canyon. Eat lunch on the porch at the lodge, then bird the picnic area by the lodge and the Mary Jane Falls trailhead areas. Including lunch, plan to spend 4 hours on the mountain.
From Kyle Canyon, drive down Highway 157 to Highway 95. Turn right (south) towards Las Vegas. Drive back into town and exit the freeway onto the Summerlin Parkway (it only goes west from here). Drive west on Summerlin Parkway until it ends at the Highway 215 Beltway. Turn left (south) onto the Beltway and drive for a couple of minutes to Charleston Blvd. Exit the Beltway onto Charleston Blvd. and turn right (west) towards Red Rocks. Drive out Charleston for about 10 minutes to the Red Rocks Scenic Loop Road (entrance fee required). Drive the one-way Scenic Loop to Willow Springs. Plan to spend 2 hours birding the trees in the picnic area and walking up the dirt road beyond the end of the pavement. If time is too short to drive up to Willow Springs, stop and bird the Calico Basin area.
From there, finish the one-way loop road and return to Charleston Blvd. If you have time for more birding, turn right and drive down to Wheeler Camp Spring. Finish the day by continuing south to Highway 160, turn left (east) onto Highway 160, and take it back to town. Otherwise, turn left on Charleston Blvd. and retrace your route back down the Summerlin Parkway to Highway 95 and back to town.