Located in the Centennial Valley and bounded on the south by the dramatic Centennial Mountains, Red Rock Lakes has been called the nation’s most scenic refuge. Visitors should bring along a spare tire and plenty of insect repellent; the gravel roads are notorious for eating tires, and the 13,000 acres of wetlands ensure plenty of mosquitoes on hand to bite you. Roads traverse the sagebrush grasslands, wet meadows, and marshes; canoeing is another terrific way to explore.
One of the largest breeding populations of Trumpeter Swans, estimated at 100 to 300, resides here. The area is also noted for its raptors: Swainson’s and Ferruginous Hawks, Golden Eagles, and a few Peregrine Falcons. In addition to 258 recorded bird species, visitors are likely to encounter Pronghorn, marmots, and ground squirrels; Red Foxes, American Badgers, Short- and Long-tailed Weasels, and Moose are also present but harder to find. Wildflowers such as Sticky Geraniums, shooting stars, and lupines are abundant in midsummer. Two small campgrounds with 11 sites are located on the refuge.
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