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Birding Around Fairbanks Spring
Birding Around Las Vegas, Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge
Fairbanks Spring
Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge, Fairbanks Spring
Gate and footpath to Fairbanks Spring (view SE)

Description

Fairbanks Spring is located at the base of low hills at the northern edge of the Refuge. From a large springpool surrounded by arrowweed bushes, water flows south into a stream and then into a broad marshy area. Screwbean mesquite trees grow near the spring and along the outflow stream. Farther down the stream, a number of cottonwood trees, ash trees, and mesquite trees provide habitat for perching birds. The surrounding area is dry, sparsely vegetated Mojave Desert Scrub with creosote bush and white bursage.

Fairbanks Spring
Fairbanks Springpool (view NW)

Location

Fairbanks Spring is located on the Ash Meadows National Wildlife, about 2 hours northwest of Las Vegas and about 5 air-miles north of the Visitor Center.

Fairbanks Spring is accessible from the south (the main refuge area) by foot (1.5 mile hike, one way) or from the north via Imvite Road (30-second walk). Either way, from Las Vegas, drive out to the Ash Meadows Visitor Center (Table 1, Site 1588).

To visit Fairbanks Spring on foot from the Visitor Center, drive west on Spring Meadows Road for 0.3 miles to Longstreet Road. Angle right onto Longstreet Road and drive north (actually northwest here) on the well-graded road for about 4.6 miles to Rogers Spring (Site 1297). Park here, then walk past the gate and continue 1.5 miles up the closed Longstreet Road to Fairbanks Marsh and then to Fairbanks Spring.

Fairbanks Spring
Fairbanks Springpool (view W)

To get to the springpool, follow the outflow stream up through the marsh (can be wet and muddy) or continue walking north on the road to a gate at the refuge boundary and finally a T-intersection with Imvite Road (Site 0979). Turn right onto Imvite Road and continue east for 50-60 yards to a sign and parking area on the right (south) side of the road (Site 1305). Walk through a narrow gate (gap in the fence) and continue southeast for less than 1 minute to the spring pool (Site 0696).

Fairbanks Spring
Outflow stream (view SE)

To drive all the way to Fairbanks Spring, from the Visitor Center, drive west on Spring Meadows Road, exit the Wildlife Refuge, and drive out to Highway 373 (Site 0690). Turn right and drive north 0.9 miles to Imvite Road (Site 1304). Turn right onto the graded-dirt Imvite Road and drive east, then northeast, for 5.4 miles to Longstreet Road (Site 0979). Consider walking south on Longstreet Road to Fairbanks Marsh, or continue east another 60 yards to a sign and parking area on the right (south) side of the road (Site 1305). Park here. Walk through a narrow gate (gap in the fence) and continue southeast for less than 1 minute to the spring pool (Site 0696).

Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge, Fairbanks Spring
Pupfish and crawdad in Fairbanks Spring

Hours

The refuge is day-use only: open sunrise to sunset.

Fees

None.

Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge, Fairbanks Spring
Fairbanks marsh (view NE)

Specialties

Fairbanks Spring is a good place to see desert species when they come in for water. Check the trees and shrubs for House Finches, White-crowned and Chipping sparrows, Yellow-rumped and other warblers, Chukar, Gambel's Quail, and Mourning Doves. Watch the marsh for Red-winged blackbirds and Marsh Wrens.

Fairbanks Spring is also good for finding migrants, but the species mix depends on the season, and during migration it depends on just who is moving through at the time. Review the refuge bird list for some ideas on what to expect during the time of year when you will be visiting.
Fairbanks Spring
Fairbanks Spring parking along Imvite Road (view SE)
Fairbanks Spring
Monument at Fairbanks Spring parking
Fairbanks Spring
Footpath to the spring pool
Fairbanks Spring
Signs near edge of the spring pool
Fairbanks Spring
Fairbanks Spring
Fairbanks Spring
Fairbanks Spring
Fairbanks Spring Fairbanks Spring
Fairbanks Spring Fairbanks Spring
Fairbanks Spring
Fairbanks Spring behind tall shrubs
Fairbanks Spring
Along the outflow stream
Fairbanks Spring
Fairbanks Marsh
Fairbanks Spring
Fairbanks Spring behind tall shrubs
Fairbanks Spring
Surveying for dragonflies using a USFWS permit
Fairbanks Spring
Surveying for dragonflies along outflow stream using a USFWS permit
Fairbanks Spring
Fairbanks Spring during winter
Fairbanks Spring
Fairbanks Spring during winter
Fairbanks Spring
Fairbanks Spring during winter
more to come ...
Fairbanks Spring
Start of trail (closed road) from Rogers Spring to Fairbanks Spring
Fairbanks Spring
Information sign at Rogers Spring parking

Table 1. GPS Coordinates for Highway Locations (NAD27; UTM Zone 11S). Download Highway GPS Waypoints (*.gpx) file.

Site Location UTM Easting UTM Northing Latitude (N) Longitude (W) Elevation (ft) Verified
0446 Spring Meadows Rd at HQ Rd 559916 4031085 36.42491 116.33162 2,152 Yes
0592 Fairbanks Marsh 559032 4037954 36.48689 116.34096 2,251 Yes
0690 Hwy 373 at Spring Meadows Rd 551890 4032103 36.43456 116.42109 2,198 Yes
0691 Ash Meadows NWR HQ 560156 4030607 36.42059 116.32899 2,190 Yes
0696 Fairbanks Spring 559009 4038355 36.49051 116.34119 2,243 Yes
0979 Longstreet Rd at Imvite Rd 558909 4038372 36.49067 116.34231 2,262 Yes
1297 Longstreet Rd at Rogers Parking 560462 4037120 36.47928 116.32507 2,287 Yes
1304 Hwy 373 at Imvite Road 551892 4033595 36.44801 116.42096 2,238 GPS
1305 Imvite Rd at Fairbanks Parking 558955 4038380 36.49073 116.34179 2,287 Yes
1588 Ash Meadows Visitor Center 560329 4030901 36.42323 116.32703 2,188 Yes

Happy birding! All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate.
copyright; Last updated 150709

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