When it comes to the changing seasons, there’s no doubt in my mind that Fall is the greatest of the seasons. Between cooler temperatures, the changing colors of leaves, an excuse for continuous plaid apparel, and pumpkin spice everything, how can any other season compare?
While my first go-to place for the fall is always the mountains, we decided to switch things up a bit and instead, visit a state park that is even closer to the city. Located within the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, Spring Mountain Ranch is nestled beneath the cliffs of the Wilson Range and is a 520-acre oasis complete with running springs, a diverse range of ecosystems and a former working ranch, which now serves as a visitor center and small museum.
One of the perks about Spring Mountain Ranch is its proximity to where we live. Unlike our routine to beat the crowds when we go to Mount Charleston, to beat the crowds here allows for an extra hour of additional sleep -- something that is always well appreciated when the weekend rolls around.
This park has five short trails ranging up to 1.4 miles. One of the things that I love the most about this park is that just 15-miles away from the city, this park always transports me back to Northern Nevada vibes with the rural red barn ranch, cooler temperatures (the park is generally 10 to 15 degrees cooler than in the city,) grassy fields and even a tiny cluster of cows.
This past weekend we decided to visit the park in hopes of catching a glimpse of some changing colors of Autumn. While half the trails lead toward the cliffs and explore the desert landscape, two loop trails wind through the only natural ash grove in Southern Nevada. And what a picturesque place it is.
This was our first visit to the ash grove in the fall. We’ve seen the park covered in snow in the winter, under bright sun beams in the spring and summer months, and now in the colorful setting of Autumn, and it did not disappoint.
We decided to enjoy the North and South Ash Grove Loop trails and while the ash grove itself hadn’t quite started shifting into full yellows just yet, the field of yerba mansa plants was a sign that at this park, the fall colors start from the ground up. Between the vibrant reds and oranges of the plants along the ground and the overwhelming pleasant fragrance this section of the trail encompassed the complete sensation of fall.
We wrapped things up by taking one last jaunt around the ranch’s property for a few more looks and to check in on the revitalization projects taking place. After capturing a number of photos and videos we made our way back to the car and began the drive back into the city. This was definitely not a bad of way to start the day.