Thursday, April 27, 2017

A Week in Pahrump, NV

Wine Ridge RV Resort was a great place to spend a week in Pahrump, NV. Located on the east edge of town with wide open desert views to snow touched Mt Charleston, this RV resort has two pickleball courts, two swimming pools and a hot tub and a winery with an award winning restaurant on site.

There are only four wineries in Nevada and two of them happen to be in Pahrump. We enjoyed free wine tasting at Pahrump Valley Winery (attached to the RV park) as well as the weekly wine dinner catered at the RV resort ($15 includes three glasses of wine and full dinner with dessert). We also had a delicious, free wine tasting at Sanders Family Winery located a few miles away.

Our Montana is in the second row, second site from the end (#821).
Very clean park with reasonable site separation and each row is slightly tiered giving the impression of more separation.

We had an almost unobstructed view of a couple of miles of creosote covered desert
between us and the mountains and Mt Charleston with just a touch of snow left.

Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge lies about 30 miles NW of Pahrump and about the same distance from Death Valley. What a wonderful surprise it was to find crystal clear springs in the middle of miles and miles of dry desert. This refuge is such a unique environment it has been listed as a Wetland of International Importance. The name comes from the Ash trees once abundant, now returning.

The water table is close to the surface in this area and geologic faults allow it to flow to the surface creating springs in the most unlikely places. Native Americans made good use of the abundant water for centuries before settlers arrived looking to mine or farm the land.

By the 1970's the springs and channels had been diverted for human use and big development plans were in place to build homes bringing thousands of people to the water. Thanks to the discovery of at least 26 endemic species here (which are endangered), the state of Nevada purchased the land from the developers and started the long slow process of returning the land to a natural state. 23,000 acres were declared a National Wildlife Refuge in 1984.

Beautiful metal work is scattered throughout the refuge.
There is an excellent visitor center with a very good movie describing the history of the refuge.

Spring at Point of Rocks viewing area.
Spring fed pools on the refuge hold four types of fish, plus other microscopic species
that have adapted over time to live here and no where else on the planet.

Boardwalks protect the recovering habitat.

Further into the refuge we stopped at Crystal Reservoir. This bright turquoise body of water was too large to capture the entire image. We walked the length of the dam for the incredible long distance views.

Far ahead of us on the dam we could see a large bird picking at something.

This hawk was eating a merganzer. I'll spare you the photo of the remains...

We stopped at the visitor center (only a couple of years old) and enjoyed the very informative 20 minute video, then walked the boardwalk along another beautiful spring and stream.

Another few miles drive brought us to Longstreet Spring and Cabin. An infamous prospector, gunman and horse breeder, Jack Longstreet settled in Ash Meadows from 1894 - 1899.

Longstreet's cabin built with the local limestone.

Longstreet's spring about 50 feet from his home.
Grasses have been trimmed as part of the restoration of the wetlands.

Endangered Ash Meadows Amargosa pupfish.

We took a drive up Wheeler Pass road into the mountains behind our RV park.

Desert Plume flanks the road, joshua trees live here!

What do we spy in the road ahead?

Rattler crossing!

One of many large washes draining the mountains.

The wash deepened dramatically downstream!

Climbing out of the wash we were treated to masses of blue sage among the joshua trees.

Pale pink cholla!

We really enjoyed our stay at Wine Ridge RV Resort. Great group of folks playing pickleball daily, really nice pool and hot tub with a view of the mountains. The grounds are very clean, including the laundry room. Very quiet location, plus good Verizon and AT&T. We'd stay here again.

Onward, to Beatty, NV!


  1. I actually know where Pahrump is! and have visited the Pahrump Valley Winery. You're a SoCal Gal and skipped the wine review? We were passing thru and missed your fun hike. If you like the dry wines the Pahrump Valley has a decent meritage that's pretty good :) I enjoy following your adventures!

    1. We liked a few of the wines at each of the wineries! Such a surprise to find in Nevada.

      Pahrump was an interesting area, especially if you like offroading in a side by side or a Jeep.

  2. Pahrump as a town isn't too exciting, but we also enjoyed Ash Meadows, and a drive and hike up Wheeler Pass Rd. Did you see any of the wild horses up there?

    1. We never saw any of the wild horses or burros until we were driving out of town with the RV!

      Yeah, the town was nothing special but the area had a good desert vibe to it!

  3. Wine Ridge sounds wonderful. Too bad I am allergic to wine and John doesn't drink it or we would definitely stay here if in the area. Glad you enjoyed your stay:) Ash Meadows looks like a wonderful place. The color of the spring water is so beautiful. How cool that you got a photo of the pupfish!! I have yet to see one. Safe travels!

    1. It's a shame there weren't any developed trails in Pahrump, lots of folks go offroading there though. And one can simply walk across the desert on BLM land.

  4. You guys stay south too long... watch your step!!!!

    1. No kidding! Every time I woke up in the night I thought of snakes!

  5. What a beautiful post! The reservoir and streams are beautiful! So glad Nevada had the good sense to purchase this land!

  6. I would never have imagined wineries in Pahrump -- or pristine turquoise colored springs! How in the world did you guys discover this place? The refuge looks beautiful.

    1. I know! Crazy huh? And we didn't even see any of the wild horses or burros!

  7. I should stop being amazed at interesting and beautiful spots in unexpected places! Love those turquoise springs and the sage and the deep canyon trail. Bill is so jealous that you've seen another snake. They managed to avoid us while we were in the desert this time :-( Looking forward to seeing what else you discover in Nevada!

  8. You found a pretty oasis in the middle of the desert! Yhe wineries sound great!

  9. We have been to Pahrump and did some wine tasting, but did not know the area you discovered is beautiful!

  10. Great turquoise water. Wine and dinner for $15, throw in some pickleball and you have a good place for a while.