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Birding Around the China Ranch Date Farm
Birding Around Las Vegas, Outside the Las Vegas Valley
China Ranch
China RanchChina Ranch sign and historical information

Description

China Ranch Date Farm is, in fact, a working date farm. A spring-fed stream supports the date orchard, plus acres of mesquite thickets and cottonwood trees. The trees and water bring in lots of interesting birds, and the land owners graciously invite birders to wander the grounds, spot some good birds, enjoy the stark scenery, and of course, relax in the cool shade while eating a date shake or some fresh-baked date bread.

China Ranch is a spot of green amid an astoundingly arid piece of desert. This isn't a birding destination, but rather a place to stop along the highway and see a few birds before driving on to somewhere else. I like to bird China Ranch for a few minutes on the way to or from Death Valley.

Link to area map.

China Ranch
A birder spotting something interesting

Location

China Ranch is located about 1.5 hours west of Las Vegas. The easiest way to get there from Las Vegas is to drive out of the Las Vegas valley on Highway 160 to Old Spanish Trail Highway and then to Tecopa where signs direct visitors to the date farm. For details, see Getting to China Ranch.

Hours

Day-use only.

Fees

None, but show your appreciation for access to the ranch property by, at the least, buying a date shake.

China Ranch
Mixed date and fruit trees in the orchard

Hiking Trails

Several hiking trails start by the Gift Shop. Good birding trails are the Creek Trail, a short stroll along the creek, and the Slot Canyon Trail, a long trail that runs down to and along the Amargosa River. The other trails might be interesting, but not so much for birdwatching.

Specialties

This is an area to look for resident, migrant, and breeding birds. Keep an eye out for resident species such as Gambel's Quail, Cooper's Hawk, Ladder-backed Woodpecker, Greater Roadrunner, Common Raven, Say's Phoebe, Verdin, Phainopepla, House Finch, and Anna's Hummingbird. During the breeding season, watch for Bell's Vireo, Blue Grosbeak, Lucy's Warbler, Orchard Oriole, and Brown-crested Flycatcher.

Link to eBird site checklist.

China Ranch
China Ranch Gift Shop and Bakery
China Ranch
Historic vehicle and buildings
China Ranch
Yes!
china ranch
New and old date orchards
China Ranch
Information sign along Creek Trail
China Ranch
Birder on the Creek Trail
China Ranch
Looking for fish, frogs, snails, and ...
China Ranch
oh my, what is that in the water?
China Ranch
Somebody has a sense of humor
China Ranch
Female Yellow-backed Spiny Lizard on a cottonwood tree
China Ranch
Orchard
China Ranch
Orchard
China Ranch
Date orchard
China Ranch
Mixed cottonwood, willow, and mesquite trees
China Ranch
Bullock's Oriole
China Ranch
Fruit and other trees
China Ranch
Amargosa River trailhead
China Ranch
Detail of the trailhead sign
China Ranch
Gate on Amargosa River trail
China Ranch
Dense thicket of mesquite
China Ranch
Amargosa River trail
China Ranch
Male Phainopepla in a honey mesquite tree
China Ranch
Alternate start to the Amargosa River trail
China Ranch
Trail through dense mesquite thicket
China Ranch
Waterfall along the trail
china ranch
Lucy's Warbler in a honey mesquite tree
China Ranch
Mesa Trail sign
China Ranch
Mesa trail climbing onto the mesa top
China Ranch
New date orchard along the access road
China Ranch
Up-canyon: closed to the public, but lots of bird habitat

Happy birding! All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate.
copyright; Last updated 140324

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