Red Rock Canyon, Nevada ~ Wild Burros & Wildflowers!

Red Rock Canyon, Nevada ~ Wild Burros & Wildflowers!

Nevada wild burros can be seen all over Red Rock Canyon during the spring season. On a sunny afternoon they usually seek shade near canyon walls or under big trees.  Since there are only a few big trees in the residential areas of Red Rock Canyon, wild burro spotting is fairly easy to accomplish in this place!

Some of the old cattle ranchers from the 1800’s planted mesquite trees to provide a little bit of shade for their herds.  Mesquite trees are often planted around gravel parking lots as a border plant.  Wild burros like to gather in the shade of these trees over by the parking areas at the Bonnie Springs Ranch.  Looking for shade trees is how I actually found the pack of wild burros in the photos for this article!

African Burros were first brought to Nevada by the Spanish explorers. Later when the gold rush of the 1800s began, the Nevada silver and gold miners imported burros by the hundreds.  By the time the gold mines all played out in the early 1900s, there was no more need for these working animals. The burros were then cut loose and set free to live in the wild.  The African heritage of the burros made it easy for them to adapt to the desert terrain of the American Southwest. A burro can go for several days without water, so they do quite well in the desert regions of Nevada.

It is importatnt to remember that wild burros truly are wild animals, even though they look tame.  Feeding wild burros or wild horses can result in a steep fine.  Petting burros or getting too close to them is not really a good idea either.  Wild burros will bite into any bright shiny object or anything that resembles food, so getting too close can result in shirt collars and ear rings being torn clean off!  A burro can also kick hard enough to send a person into next Tuesday, so the old expression “kicks like a mule” does hold water. 

Wild burros seem to be able to stand and stare into the distance forever.  They do notice when someone who is viewing them is distracted and they do use the opportunity to sneak up real quiet like.  I was changing camera lenses while sitting in my car when a wild burro snuck up and started rubbing its head on the rear view mirror. The burro then went into a blank stare that seemed to last forever and the animal refused to move. I was held hostage by the stubborn burro till it decided to meander over to its next victim in the gravel parking lot!

When a burro approaches while sitting in a car, it is best to roll the window up before the burro has a chance to stick his head into the cabin.  Once they get their head in the window, a person can consider themselves stuck until the burro decides to move on and that can take quite some time.  Anything that interests the wild burro inside the car will be bitten into and munched on.  Cameras, bags of chips, the car head rest, a shirt collar and earrings are prime items of interest.  Once a burro bites into something, it does not let go anytime soon, so it is best to avoid the situation altogether.

The springtime wildflower bloom season is a good time of year for doing some wild burro photography.  The burros have field day munching on the new green growth and they come out into the open most of the day.  In late spring and early summer, burro foals can be seen with burro mares.  The fuzzy furry baby burros are really cute looking critters to see!  

Red Rock Canyon is easy to find.  Red Rock Canyon is located on the west side of Las Vegas and it can be accessed from Blue Diamond Road or Charleston Boulevard. Spring is a great time of year to visit this scenic canyon, because the desert wildflowers will be in bloom.  Horseback rentals and hiking is highly recommended in Red Rock Canyon while the cool springtime weather is still here.  Be sure to bring a good camera, but remember to keep the camera out of the reach of the nosey wild burros, because they will try to eat anything that is not nailed down! 


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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