Blue Diamond, Nevada ~ Wild Burros!

Blue Diamond, Nevada ~ Wild Burros!

Nevada wild burros can be seen year round in Red Rock Canyon.  This canyon runs along the western side of the Las Vegas Valley in the Spring Mountains.  Many local residents and tourists really get a kick out of seeing these wild animals, both figuratively and literally.  Burros do not have a reputation for kicking like a mule for no reason at all!  Those who are wise do keep clear of a burro’s hind quarters.  Folks that know the nature of burros also do not let them get too close, because burros have a habit of biting into anything that vaguely resembles something to eat.  They have been known to chomp on a shiny wrist watch, eat persons hat and rip shirt collars clean off!  

Now that the wild burro disclaimer is out in the open, just one more thing needs to be mentioned.  By law, it is illegal to feed wild burros, wild horses or wild animals of any kind.  This is because the wild animals will become dependent on humans instead of fending for themselves in the wild.  

Locating wild burros is fairly easy to do in Red Rock Canyon.  When the afternoon heat of the blazing sun is bearing down, burros like to hang around under shade trees.  The only place to find shade trees in this part of the desert is to look where civilization exists.  One of the best places in Red Rock canyon to spot wild burros happens to be the historic little town of Blue Diamond, where there are plenty of shade trees and green grass!  

Blue Diamond used to be named Cottonwood Springs and right next door is the historic Bonnie Springs Ranch.  The mountain springs in this area were a necessity for sustaining life long before the age of the pioneers began.  Because of the abundance of fresh water springs in places like Red Rock Canyon, this range was named the Spring Mountains.

Where there is water in the desert there is life and progress soon follows.  The Old Spanish Trail runs right through Red Rock Canyon where the natural springs can be found.  The Paiute Natives in the area had been growing crops with the spring water for many centuries before the Spanish explorers arrived.  The Paiute continued to grow crops in this fertile desert area even till long after European pioneers and ranchers settled in.  Water does have a way of keeping peace in the desert when everybody is thirsty. 

As time went on, ranchers and gypsum miners settled in Cottonwood Springs and the local population grew.  A major land deal took place that facilitated the mining of “Blue Diamond” rated gypsum in the local area.  The “Blue Diamond” rating is the highest mark of gypsum quality of them all. To make a long story short, the gypsum mining company housed its workers in Cottonwood Springs and eventually identified the town by its current name, which is Blue Diamond, in honor of the fine gypsum deposit across the road. 

The reason that this bit of history is worth mentioning, is because many newcomers to Las Vegas assume that Blue Diamond was named after an imaginary diamond gem stone mine that must be worth billions of dollars.  When they head up to Blue Diamond to see glistening piles of blue color diamonds, disappointment sets in pretty quick.  This is because all that one sees in Blue Diamond is a pleasant cozy little quiet town and a whole bunch of wild burros.  

Blue Diamond most definitely is wild burro headquarters!  The burros stand around and make their presence known with loud “Hee Haw” jackass noise all day long.  In springtime, the little baby burros actually go to the local children’s playground in Blue Diamond Park.  This scene can be compared to parents bringing their children to the park on a sunny day, but in this case, it is mama and papa burros escorting their young foals to place where water flows and green grass grows. The burros frolicking in the park like kids at play is a captivating sight to see! Better still, some of the baby burros already will know how to work the public drinking fountains!

Blue Diamond is still a pretty little town from an age gone by and the docile wild burros choose to call this place home.  For a visitor, there is not much to do in this mining camp town, because there are no bars or restaurants. There is just a combination general store and sheriff office by the park. When visiting Blue Diamond, the thing to do is grab a cool drink at the mercantile, say hello to the locals, then stroll about in the public areas that are ruled by the wild burros. That may not sound like much, but it is an entertaining thing to do!

After spending 20 minutes sipping on a soda at the general store in Blue Diamond while watching the burros, it is difficult to remember that Las Vegas exists, even though this big city is only a few miles downhill.  Blue Diamond is literally next door to Vegas, but this cozy little town is like being worlds away from the hustle and bustle of the big city! The wild burros are quite a Blue Diamond attraction and when baby burros are in tow, it is a captivating sight to see! 


Author: wildwestdestinations

I worked as a chef in remote resorts and National Parks, which provided the time to explore western travel destinations. I have a BA Degree in Culinary Management with high honors and currently I am working on a Masters Degree in Adult Education. My food and travel blog writing began as a means to generate income during college and now photo journalism has become my lifestyle.

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