Spring Mountain Ranch
Spring Mountain Ranch State Park is located within the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, just below the Wilson Range’s rainbow-colored cliffs. In the mid-1830s, a campsite was established along the wash that runs through the Ranch, the spring-fed creek and grassy meadows formed an oasis for travelers using the alternate route of the Spanish Trail through Cottonwood Valley. The use of the site by pack and wagon trains continued until their replacement by the railroad in 1905. In 1944, the ranch was leased to Chet Lauck who built a large reservoir and named it “Lake Harriet” after his wife, it is now home to Pahrump poolfish.
Because of the higher elevation, Spring Mountain Ranch offers a diverse opportunity for plant study. Four plant communities are represented: Desert Scrub, Black brush, Pinon-Juniper, and Riparian. Plants typical of the desert as well as woodland can be seen, and with adequate rainfall the spring brings a burst of wildflowers. Common species sighted are desert marigold, globe mallow, brittlebush, Joshua Tree, Mohave Yucca, and indigo bush.
Animal life is diverse but nocturnal, so many species go unseen. Typical desert animals include a variety of lizards and snakes, antelope, ground squirrels, jackrabbits, cottontail rabbits, kit foxes, and coyotes. Higher elevation species include rock squirrel, badger, mule deer, and bighorn sheep.