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Miller's Rest Area, Western Nevada Desert
Birding Around Las Vegas, Favorite Places Far Away
Millers Rest Area
Millers Rest Area
Millers Rest Area (view W)

Overview

Miller's Rest Area, also referred to as Millers Rest Area, is one of the most amazing birding sites in all of Nevada, but it is disguised as an ordinary roadside rest area, and most people don't recognize its value. Many places have been described as islands of green vegetation in a sea of dry desert scrub, but Millers defines what that really means. The rest area is in the bottom of a broad, flat valley sparsely covered by miles of saltbush in every direction. The valley is surrounded by mountains, but they are so far away as to be unnoticed from the rest area. The rest area has many trees and a lawn that is heavily irrigated every night. For migrant birds trying to fly across this inhospitable land, Millers must shine like a beacon of hope on a dark and stormy night.

Link to Map.

Millers Rest Area lawn.
The lawn (view N)

Description

Millers is a typical roadside rest area with flush toilets, shaded picnic tables, drinking water, trees, and a small lawn area. The highway entrance and exit are at the same point, so the road through the rest area makes a loop. When you first drive in, you arrive at the rest rooms, lawn area, and the tallest of the trees. To exit the area, you drive around a loop with picnic tables and trees, but no lawn, inside the loop. Off the far (west) end of the loop, a gravel spur road leads a few yards to a parking area for overnight campers. There are a few more trees and some irrigated shrubs around the perimeter of the camping area. The restroom area is lighted at night, which makes it a good place to watch bats and nighthawks. Commercial trucks park across the highway, so the area is relatively quiet. There is a gravel dog area; dogs are not allowed on the lawn area.

Millers Rest Area trees and picnic tables.
Shade trees and covered picnic tables (view W)

A remarkable variety and density of unusual resident, migrant, and accidental bird species are regularly seen here during the spring and fall migrations. At other times of year, you might see a House Sparrow or two; but it is always worth the time to stop and check. Bird the tall trees and the lawn, plus the trees, water faucets, fence posts, telephone poles, and open skies around the rest area. Be sure to check the shrubs around the restrooms for skulkers.

Location

Millers Rest Area is located on Highway 95, about 3 hours north of Las Vegas. From Las Vegas, drive north on Highway 95 to Tonopah. From the intersection of Highway 6 and Highway 95 in downtown Tonopah, drive north on Highway 95 for another 13.3 miles. The rest area is on the north (right) side of the highway and is well signed; you can see it from miles away (GPS coordinates: 38.14049ºN, 117.45333ºW; 4,817 ft).

Hours

Always open. The restrooms are always open.

Fees

None; even the camping area is free.

Millers Rest Area
Camp area; not much, but it is free (view W)

Specialties

This is a good place to bird during migration -- it seems that everything shows up here including waterbirds (herons and kingfishers), raptors (falcons, accipiters, harriers, buteos), Mexican species (Hepatic Tanager), Eastern species (Hooded Warbler, Least Flycatcher, Ovenbird), shorebirds (peeps of various types), montane species (Mountain Chickadee), non-native species (House Sparrow, European Starling, Eurasian Collared Dove), migrants (Yellow-breasted Chat, Lincoln Sparrow, Rufus Hummingbird, MacGillivray's Warbler), and even a few desert species (Western Kingbird, Say's Phoebe, Sage Thrasher, Black-throated Sparrow, House Finch).

Millers Rest Area Millers Rest Area
Millers Rest Area Millers Rest Area
Millers Rest Area Millers Rest Area
Millers Rest Area
Camp area (view E)
Millers Rest Area
Covered picnic tables and shade trees (view E)
Miller's Rest Area
Miller's Rest Area in winter
Miller's Rest Area
Parking lot beggars
Miller's Rest Area
Miller's Rest Area in winter
Miller's Rest Area
Miller's Rest Area in winter
Miller's Rest Area
Miller's Rest Area in winter
Miller's Rest Area
Miller's Rest Area in winter
Miller's Rest Area
Miller's Rest Area in winter
Miller's Rest Area
Miller's Rest Area in winter
Miller's Rest Area
Miller's Rest Area in winter
Rock Pigeon
Cold Rock Doves Miller's Rest Area in winter

Trip Notes

September 7, 2003

We were up at sunrise and greeted by a typically pleasant, cool, and sunny desert morning. We started birding early, but things were quiet with only a few warblers in the trees. About an hour of so later, while we were fixing breakfast, the birds started to arrive or became active. About then, Jack and Greg showed up, and we'all birded for a couple of hours. The birding was good, but not great, although we did see a Least Flycatcher, which was a good eastern bird to see. We left 1030 hours and headed for home.

Birds of the day: Say's Phoebe, European Starling, Brewer's Blackbird, Yellow Warbler, Brown-headed Cowbird, Belted Kingfisher, Lincoln sparrow, Sage Thrasher, Western Kingbird, Chipping Sparrow, Savannah Sparrow, Gray and Hammond's flycatcher, Northern Harrier, Common Raven, Barn Swallow, Common Yellowthroat, Warbling Vireo, Least Flycatcher, Rufus Hummingbird, MacGillivray's Warbler, Mountain chickadee, House Finch, Lazuli Bunting, Orange-crowned Warbler.

Many visits, but no trip notes ...

December 2, 2011

Very cold night with low temperatures in the 20s and a good, stiff wind. I birded the area briefly, but the most common birds were Rock Pigeons that seemed to associate vehicles with food, European Starlings, and Horned Larks. There might have been other birds around, but I was too cold to search them out.

Happy birding! All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate.
copyright; Last updated 111213

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