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Birding Around Willow Springs
Birding Around Las Vegas, Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area
Birding Around Willow Springs
willow spring
Willow Spring provides water for wildlife (view S)


The Willow Springs Picnic Area and Lost Creek Trail are located about 200 1/4-mile apart in a deep canyon surrounded by red and white sandstone cliffs. The picnic area is located adjacent to a spring with large Fremont's cottonwood trees, and the Lost Creek Trail leads to a willow thicket, waterfall, and creek flowing from a side canyon. Bird the entire canyon: walk the trails that lead from the Lost Creek parking area to the waterfall, then walk up the trail to the picnic area, and finally walk farther up the dirt road into the canyon. Return to the parking area by walking back down the road. Be sure to watch for petroglyphs and other signs of early human use of the area.

Link to Map.

willow springs
Canyon above Willow Spring in winter (view N)


Willow Springs is located in the Red Rocks National Conservation Area on the west side of the Las Vegas Valley, about 40 minutes from downtown.

From town, drive out to Red Rocks. From West Charleston Blvd at Scenic Loop Road (Table 1, Site 0519), turn right and drive north for 0.2 miles to the entrance station (Site 0855). Pay the fee, then drive around the one-way Scenic Loop Road to Willow Springs Road (Site 0526), which is at Mile Marker 7.5 (0.5 miles past Mile Marker 7). Turn right onto Willow Spring Road and drive north for 0.6 miles to Willow Springs Picnic Area at the end of the pavement (Site 0181).

bighorn sheep
Keep an eye out for bighorn sheep


Generally sunrise to sunset, but the exact hours depend on the season. Hours are posted on several signs


Admission is $7 per vehicle (various annual passes accepted).

red spotted toads
Be careful around our home!


During migration, you can find a variety of species here. During summer, this is a good site for desert warblers, flycatchers, and sparrows. Other species include Gambel's Quail, Chukar, White-throated Swift, Broad-tailed Hummingbird, Spotted Towhee, Ladder-backed Woodpecker, Red-naped Sapsucker, Western Scrub-jay, Juniper Titmouse, Violet-green Swallow, and Bushtit.

Walk up the dirt road above the Willow Springs parking area. The canyon is good for finding desert sparrows, Spotted Towhee, Juniper Titmouse, Bushtit, and Gambel's Quail. The best part for birding ends where the road gets steep, so that is a good place to turn back.


In the picnic area, don't overlook the obvious. Chukar, Gray Fox, and White-tailed Antelope Squirrels are common.

Lost Creek
Lost Creek boardwalk and willow thicket (view west).

The Lost Creek Trail runs across the wash, past a big willow thicket with a spring, and then up to a waterfall at the back of the canyon. The willow thicket is good for warblers and hummingbirds in season.

Willow Springs

Recently, land managers fenced off the spring, hoping to revegetate and rehabilitate the area around the spring and the spring outflow. While it is unfortunate that we can no longer walk in and check on tadpoles and snails in the spring pool, keeping people and their trash, charcoal, dogs, and other junk out of the water is a good thing.

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

Site # Location Latitude (°N) Longitude (°W) UTM Easting UTM Northing Elevation (ft) Verified
0519 Charleston Blvd at Scenic Loop Rd entrance 36.1318 115.4206 642120 3999525 3,681 Yes
0855 Scenic Loop Rd at Entrance Station 36.1325 115.4228 641918 3999598 3,682 Yes
0526 Scenic Loop Rd at Willow Spring Rd 36.1561 115.4891 635906 4002118 4,441 Yes
0181 Willow Spring Picnic Area 36.1610 115.4980 635106 4002654 4,575 Yes

Happy birding! All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate.
copyright; Last updated 140406

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