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Best trails in Mount Charleston Wilderness

5,127 Reviews
Looking for a great trail in Mount Charleston Wilderness, Nevada? AllTrails has 18 great hiking trails, trail running trails, views trails and more, with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers, and nature lovers like you. Gearing up for a challenge? There are 12 hard trails in Mount Charleston Wilderness ranging from 3.7 to 31.4 miles and from 6,053 to 11,916 feet above sea level. Start checking them out and you'll be out on the trail in no time!
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Map of trails in Mount Charleston Wilderness
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Top trails (18)
#1 - Mary Jane Falls Trail
Mount Charleston Wilderness
moderateYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(1678)
Length: 2.9 mi • Est. 1 h 10 m
Note that the trailhead for this trail is only open from April to December. One of the trails at Mt Charleston. Definitely a moderate hike up hill. The path is very visible. You can't get lost. Can be very slippery in places. A few areas with shade to stop and rest if needed. Weekends are bus, but it is well worth it to see the waterfall at the end. Great trail.Show more
#2 - Fletcher Canyon
Mount Charleston Wilderness
moderateYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(928)
Length: 4.2 mi • Est. 2 h 31 m
When you think the trail ends...it doesn't. Great hike. Goes from easy to moderate once you pass the "finish".Show more
#3 - Trail Canyon Trail
Mount Charleston Wilderness
hardYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(570)
Length: 3.9 mi • Est. 2 h 38 m
NOTE: The parking lot to Trail Canyon and Mary Jane Falls is closed off during the winter. The hike starts at Trail Canyon trailhead. The trail weaves through aspens and climbs steadily to the intersection of the North Loop trail. (Two miles from the trailhead.) The North Loop trail heads west traveling through an area destroyed by a fire years ago. In 1.25 miles from the intersection of the two trails, the hike leaves the trail and climbs a steep scree slope. Bristlecone pines, the oldest living tree, are abundant at the top of the scree slope. A faint path heads east and climbs to the west side of Mummy Mountain. The path curves north, becomes easy to follow, and leads to a Class 2 chute. The summit lies at the top of the chute.Show more
#4 - Big Falls Trail
Mount Charleston Wilderness
moderateYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(615)
Length: 3.4 mi • Est. 2 h
NOTE: As of April 2020, parking lot to the trailhead is closed. Please check the park website for more information. Offline map is recommended. Users have reported that the dry creek bed can be tricky to navigate without it.Show more
#5 - Charleston Peak South Trail
Mount Charleston Wilderness
hardYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(345)
Length: 17.2 mi • Est. 9 h 55 m
The South Loop Trail starts off at an easy pace as it heads SW. The grade increases rapidly as the trail turns easterly and passes to the east of Echo Cliffs. As the trail turns back SW, it passes through the two sets of cliffs. To the north is Echo Cliffs; to the south is an unnamed cliff range. Also to the south is Springs Fork, one of many springs in Mt. Charleston. It's a short quarter-mile trek to the springs. The trail follows a series of switchbacks as it climbs the backside of Echo Cliffs. There's a great overlook at the top of Echo Cliffs (two miles from the trailhead); Kyle Canyon, Mummy Mountain, and Cathedral Rock can be viewed from this overlook. The trail leaves the overlook and heads west with a gradual incline. It crosses drainage and starts a series of switchbacks that leads to the South Rim Plateau. Many of the switchbacks on the north end offer grand views of Kyle Canyon, Cathedral Rock, and Mummy Mountain. The landscape changes into a meadow before reaching the plateau. The last 100 yards are steep, but the view of Griffith Peak helps ease the pain. Upon reaching the plateau, a sign indicates the distances to Charleston Peak, Harris Saddle, and back to Kyle Canyon (the trailhead). The elevation is 10,700 feet; the distance to this point is four miles. The trail heads west and soon enters a delightful meadow. This part of the trail is referred to as The Meadows and is a favorite spot for campers. The grade is slight with a few downhill sections. Charleston Peak comes into view several times during the ramble through the meadow. The Meadows gives way to a grove of timber as the trail heads west and the grade increases. The trail hugs the ridgeline for more than half a mile, offering remarkable views of Kyle Canyon, Mt. Charleston Lodge, and State Route 157. Directly across the canyon is Mummy Mountain, and to the (west) left is North Ridge Rim. The trail turns away from the ridgeline and heads SW before it climbs to another ridge. Off to the left is an unnamed peak that many hikers mistake for Mt. Charleston. The trail rises to a saddle and Mt. Charleston ridgeline comes into view. The trail heads NW toward the summit and away from the false peak. About 150 yards past the saddle a faint path to the south (left) travels down to Peak Springs. There's a sign marking the turnoff, but it's easily missed. The half-mile trek down to Peak Springs is very steep and you lose 900 feet in elevation. The hike back up to the trail is a killer, but if you need water Peak Springs is a reliable source. Due to the wind and elevation, the landscape becomes harsh. Bristlecone pines are reduced to twisted dwarfs. You're above 11,000 feet at this point, but luckily the incline is moderate. Charleston Peak looks more like a ridge than a summit from this angle. Just off the trail to the right are the remains of a 1955 plane crash. The last half-mile to the peak is a steep 20% grade. Just before the peak the trail forks. Both trails go to the peak; however, the main trail is less steep. The wind can be harsh above the treeline. Bring a windbreaker. It's important to drink plenty of water before this final ascent. One cause of altitude sickness is a lack of water! Congratulations, you're standing, or lying down questioning your sanity, at the highest point in southern Nevada. Take a moment to experience the silence, breathe the clean air, and be thankful you're in good enough shape to stand at the peak. The summit offers a fantastic 360-degree view of southern Nevada, eastern California, and southern Utah. An Army box contains a sign-in book. A dug out fort that holds 10 people is a favorite resting point before starting back down. You can return the way you came up or make a loop by hiking down the North Loop Trail to Trail Canyon.Show more
#6 - Fletcher Peak
Mount Charleston Wilderness
hardYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow Star(221)
Length: 7.2 mi • Est. 3 h 31 m
#7 - Mount Charleston North to South via Trail Canyon
Mount Charleston Wilderness
hardYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(107)
Length: 16.6 mi • Est. 10 h 7 m
Connecting route between Charleston South Loop to the North Loop trail, taking the Trail Canyon trail back down instead of having to hike all the way over to the North loop trailhead. This way you can do the hike without staging a car at each trailhead.Show more
#8 - Wildhorse Canyon Loop
Mount Charleston Wilderness
moderateYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(143)
Length: 3.8 mi • Est. 2 h 14 m
#9 - Cave Spring via Trail Canyon
Mount Charleston Wilderness
hardYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(94)
Length: 4.7 mi • Est. 3 h 14 m
#10 - Mt. Charleston via Deer Creek Trail
Mount Charleston Wilderness
hardYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(65)
Length: 14.7 mi • Est. 9 h 38 m
Mount Charleston is the highest summit in southern Nevada. The hike is all trail (no cross country) and is difficult. The hike passes by a 3,000 year old bristlecone pine. The trail starts off at an easy grade wandering past ponderosa pine, pinion pine, and mountain mahogany. To the east on Angel Peak rests a large, white, ball-shape observatory. The trail has a few moderate switchbacks before reaching a plateau at about the 1.25 mile mark. Several bristlecone pines are scattered throughout this area indicating you are above 9,000 feet. After 12 moderately steep switchbacks, the trail climbs to 10,200 feet. It then descends 150 feet over the next 0.33 of a mile. Looking west you can see glimpses of Mummy Mountain. The limestone cliffs of Mummys Toe are hovering directly in front of the trail. Raintree, the giant bristlecone pine, is over 3,000 years old and acts as a dividing point. Continue another mile and a half to the junction of Trail Canyon. From the junction the North Loop Trail heads NW around Mummy Mountain. The grade is moderate as you enter the dead forest. This "people-caused fire" in the late 1940s burned more than 500 acres. Scattered throughout the dead forest are aspens that turn orange and yellow in the fall. Look to the left (south), for a great view of Kyle Canyon; directly in front looms Charleston Peak. About a mile from the junction is Cave Springs. Water runs into a horse trough and a path goes up to a cave-like overhang above the horse trough. The North Loop Trail continues southerly through the dead forest and aspens, as the grade becomes steeper. It makes a horseshoe bend and heads NE before switching back and heading west toward the North Rim Ridge. A little less than a mile from the horseshoe bend, a series of bluffs to the left of the trail offers great views of Kyle Canyon. The aspens disappear up here, since the elevation is more than 10,000 feet. The trail flattens as it heads SW around the series of bluffs. Charleston Peak goes in and out of view as the trail starts to imitate a roller coaster. The trail flattens out again and cuts through a forest of bristlecone pines. Three overlooks to the north (right) offer the first views of the Sisters, Macks Peak, and McFarland Peak. The third overlook also has a great view of Charleston Peak and Kyle Canyon, making this one of the best views in the Mt. Charleston area. The trail continues in a SW direction as it winds along the base of cliffs. A few short but steep switchbacks bring you to the North Rim Ridge. As the final switchback turns to the left, a short path to the right leads to the ridge. Plan to spend a few minutes catching your breathe while you take in the fantastic view of all the northern mountains of the Mt. Charleston area. The trail remains flat as it heads SE below Devils Thumb. Mt. Charleston comes in and out of view as the trail traverses the rocky ledges. Trees are scarce since the elevation is over 11,000 feet. The trail heads around a few bluffs; it seems to take forever to arrive at the base of Charleston Peak. It makes one switchback and climbs around a final bluff before the near mile-long trek to the peak. The last part of the trail is a series of steep switchbacks. The grade is 17%. It's important to drink plenty of water before and during this section. One cause of altitude sickness is a lack of water! Congratulations, you're standing, or lying down questioning your sanity, at the highest point in southern Nevada. Take a moment to experience the silence, breath the clean air, and be thankful you're in good enough shape to be standing on the peak. The peak offers a fantastic 360-degree view of southern Nevada, eastern California, and southern Utah. An Army box contains a sign-in book. A dug out fort is a favorite resting spot before starting back down.Show more
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