Tommy J. DeBardeleben

Neely Water Ranch

Fast Flight Facts

Target Species:  Wintering ducks and migrating songbirds

Elevation: 1230'

Habitat:  Recharge basins surrounded by riparian habitat

Overall Birding Rating: 2

Difficulty: 1 (Easy)

Birding Type: Simple Walk, Walking and Scanning

Facilities:  Parking

Fees/Ownership:  None/Town of Gilbert

Closest Town or City/How far from Phoenix:  Gilbert /16.8 miles southeast of Phoenix

Getting there:  Best scanned from a fire station parking lot just off Cooper Road

Overview:  The Neely Water Ranch is an excellent habitat area just west of Gilbert Water Ranch.  Other than a few lookout spots, this spot is unfortunately closed to the public and the birding is extremely limited.  This ranch has many basins with surrounding riparian habitat plantings similar to that of Gilbert Water Ranch.  This spot has taller surrounding trees than Gilbert Water Ranch, consisting of many cottonwoods and willows, which would make the birding interesting.  The main overlook of this wildlife sanctuary provides closer views of three of the ponds.  If these ponds have water, this spot will be worth a stop on the birder's map.  Waterfowl will be present in good numbers with water in the ponds, perhaps with an occasional surprise or two.  The main overlook's viewing area also provides interpretive information about riparian habitat and it's wildlife, which is interesting reading.  Walking along the north bordering outskirts of the Neely Ranch passes by good habitat just behind the fences were good birding opportunities may present themselves also.  This north border is part of a long walking path throughout Gilbert. 

Birding Tip:  Birding here is simple.  A scope is recommended.  Other than the main overlook and viewing area, try walking around the area and scan the habitat that is closer to the fence.   

Directions:  There are two freeway access points to reaching the Neely Water Ranch.  One is from the Loop 101 (Price Freeway), at the Elliot Road exit.  Take Elliot Road east for 5 miles to Cooper Road.  Turn north on Cooper for a short distance to the Gilbert Fire Station on the east side of Cooper Road.  The ranch is accessed from this fire station.  A second freeway route: from the US 60 (Superstition Freeway), take the Stapley/Cooper Road exit.  Head south for 2.1 miles where Stapley Drive turns into Cooper Road.  After heading south past Guadalupe Road, the Neely Water Ranch overlook is accessed from the Gilbert Fire Station on the east side of Cooper Road.  Turn into the fire station and park.  From there, walk along the path and up to the overlook area of the basins.  Three of the ponds can be viewed well from this platform.  From the ranch, Elliot Road is the next big street, bordering this area shortly to the south.  Neely Water Ranch is also close to Gilbert Water Ranch, only four miles west.  Use Guadalupe Road if going to these two locations. 


Neely Water Ranch Maps

Neely Water Ranch eBird Data


Scenes and Sights from Neely Water Ranch:


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