The heart of the Clark County Wetlands Park is the 210-acre Nature Preserve. With three distinct habitats and miles of paved and unpaved trails, visitors can escape both the city and the desert and become immersed in an oasis of tall trees and babbling streams. Over three miles of paved ADA accessible trails wind through cottonwood groves and mesquite bosques, and are crisscrossed by many more miles of unpaved trails that offer visitors a chance to explore and discover nature only a few miles from the hustle of the Las Vegas Strip.
The Nature Preserve is a special area that is intended to protect habitat for wildlife. No dogs, bikes, or picnics are allowed in the Nature Preserve. Picnicking in the Nature Preserve is only allowed at the Picnic Café in the Nature Center. Picnic facilities are also available at park trailheads.
Popular Sights in the Nature Preserve
Upper Diversion Weir Bridge: A must-see location in the Park, the Upper Diversion Weir Bridge, AKA "Big Bridge" spanning the Las Vegas Wash puts visitors face to face with the Valley’s urban river. The bridge sits atop the Upper Diversion Weir, the first of 20 weirs along the Wash that slow down the flow of the water, prevent erosion, and help to improve water quality. An average of 180 million gallons of water passes through here every day, mostly originating from Water Treatment facilities located along the Wash.
Boardwalk Pond: One of the best spots to see wildlife in the park, the Boardwalk Pond is a special place that allows visitors to bask in the beauty of water in the desert. Turtles, fish, and birds are often seen in the pond, but remember to never feed wildlife in the Park. It’s not only against the law, it is unhealthy for the animals and promotes unsafe habits around people. They get all the food they need from nature.
Cottonwood Grove: Under a canopy of tall Freemont cottonwood trees, visitors can discover the quiet serenity of nature. In the spring, the grove transforms as cottony seeds blow all around resembling falling snow. In autumn, the trees are awash in yellow and gold as the leaves change color. Look for nests big and small in the trees all year round!
North Pond Wildlife Blind: Not far from the Big Weir Bridge, the North Pond features a wildlife blind overlooking another pond where visitors may catch a view of birds like great blue herons and egrets. Look around the area for signs of beavers too!
Vern’s Pond & Island: Named for Vern Bostick who was among the first to promote the creation of Wetlands Park. Seeing the potential for conservation, restoration, and recreation in the Las Vegas Wash, Bostick spent many countless hours studying, documenting, and advocating for what is today Wetlands Park. The pond and island that are his namesakes are great places to explore and look for wildlife. A shade structure and several benches on the island offer the chance to sit back, reflect, and revel in the beauty of nature.