“A surprisingly scenic high alpine run with 360 degree views in close proximity to Las Vegas.”
— Chris Fa
Don't be fooled by its proximity to Las Vegas, there is still snow here in the winter. If someone could provide a comment about snowpack during the winter season and when this trail's summer are it would be very helpful.
This route is the most popular route to access Charleston Peak in the Spring Mountain Recreation Area. Charleston Peak itself towers 10,000 over the Las Vegas basin and can offer a break from the stifling heat during the summer. Expect a steep but very well maintained trail with some high exposure in places. It offers great views that start once you gain the first ridge and a unique opportunity to navigate above treeline. This trail is a must for a trail runner in Las Vegas.
Need to Know
This trail is heavily used during the summer. Parking is insufficient to meet demand, especially on the weekend. Get here before 8 on the weekdays or 6 on the weekends if possible. There are bathrooms and a large trail map at the trailhead. Water available at Cable Springs mile 2.5, must filter/purify.
If you're a lowlander be weary of altitude sickness indicators as half this trail is near or above 11,000ft.
90% of the trail is beautiful, fast singletrack but there are significant sections of loose rock. Overall this is a very fast course.
Follow highway 157 towards Charleston Peak. Go through the town past the fire station then make a right on Echo Canyon Road following signs towards Mary Jane Falls and Trail Canyon
. Park at the Trail Canyon
Trailhead. From the trailhead, proceed two miles on Trail Canyon
Trail through dense forest until it intersects with the North Loop
Trail. Make a left following signs to Charleston Peak and Cable Springs. At mile 2.5 Cable Springs appears directly on the trail. After this point the forest becomes progressively less dense and the views area amazing. After gaining the ridge at mile 4.5 you are done with the hardest/most sustained climb.
The next 3 miles traverse a ridge-line south towards the peak with small rollers and little net elevation gain. At mile 7.2 the trail stops traversing, switchbacks begin, and it proceeds directly up the mountain gaining nearly 1000' in the final mile. The trail gains the summit at mile 8.2. Views from the top are spectacular and there is an ammo can with a register. Reverse the route to complete your journey and head back down to your car.
Be advised that you may make this route a loop if you continue onto South Loop
Trail from the top of Charleston Peak. The South Loop
lets you out at the Cathedral Rock Picnic Area and the last two miles to return to the Trail Canyon
parking lot is on pavement.