Ash Meadows Picnic


An Impromptu Picnic Led Us to a Super Nature Spot!

A Love Your Parks Tour Family Picnic Story assigned by Ruth Milstein, author of the Gourmand award-winning cookbook, “Cooking with Love: Ventures into the New Israeli Cuisine.”

It was in the middle of spring and we were driving south on Highway 95 from Yerington, Nevada to Yuma, Arizona. Leaving before dawn, we decided we would find a park or someplace nice to have a picnic brunch along the way. Afterall, our cooler bag had leftover pizza from Dini’s Lucky Club and cookies and brownies from The Bakery Gallery, and as usual, a chilled bottle of bubbly. 

It was an interesting drive past Walker Lake and through the historic mining towns of Goldfield and Beatty. We even saw bighorn sheep, wild horses and burros along the way.

The perfect halfway spot for a break turned out to be Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge, just outside Death Valley National Park in Amargosa Valley, Nevada. We had no idea that this impromptu picnic would introduce us to an area with the highest concentration of endemic species in the country! Along with being home to the mysterious Devils Hole that’s over 500 feet deep, the Refuge is also the largest remaining oasis in the Mojave Desert and recognized internationally as an important wetland. There’s a Visitor Center, boardwalks to stroll along, picnic spots, and plenty of bird watching opportunities.

Once in the refuge, we followed Point of Rocks Road to the picnic area, and then strolled the boardwalk to the turquoise blue Kings Spring (pictured). The spring was alive with pupfish, dragonflies and a little bat that was out hunting for bugs. Talk about a true desert oasis! We enjoyed our picnic in shade of a ramada while watching the birds, and taking in the views of wildflowers swaying in the gentle breeze. Of course, we need to return to explore the hiking trails and other marshes and springs, and to see Devils Hole. Maybe we’ll get lucky and spot the big horn sheep!

For more about Ash Meadows Wildlife Refuge call (775) 372-5435 or visit

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Ruth Milstein Yerington Inn


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