Escape the heat and ditch the bright lights of Las Vegas and hike to the summit of Mt. Charleston. Less than an hour drive from Sin City it provides desert dwellers and visitors alike with a dramatic change of scenery and a taste of high-altitude hiking. With a total round trip hike of 16 miles and elevation gain of 4500’ this strenuous hike along some impressive ridges is not for the faint of heart.
An early start is recommended as this hike will take you an entire day to complete. There is no permit needed for parking or the hike itself. Plenty of parking is available at the trailhead.
From the Trail Canyon trail head, climb steeply out of Kyle Canyon for two miles. From here there will be a well marked junction where you will veer left onto the North Loop Trail which will take you the rest of way to the summit.
The next half mile makes a steady ascent to Cave Spring. Supposedly there is water here, but we could find none. Just make sure to bring plenty of water for the entire day. The trail continues climbing amongst aspens while traveling through an old burn area. It eventually ascends to where the only trees are bristolcone pines.
The trail now becomes a wonder of engineering as it winds along the most impressive cliff ledges. Dramatic topography and steep drop offs highlight this part of trail until you reach the east face of Mt. Charleston. The final half mile of swithbacks to the summit seemingly take the longest. But before you know it you eventually reach the summit. The unimpressive summit itself is bare and rocky with small radio and satellite equipment. The panoramic views, however, extend for hundreds of miles in an endless series of mountain ranges and valleys. Parts of Las Vegas can be seen to the southeast and on a clear day, even the Sierra Nevada can be seen on the horizon to the west. After you have celebrated your summit and have soaked in all the views, retrace your steps back down to the trail head.
- Plenty of water
- Wind breaker
- Sturdy hiking boots
- Trekking poles