Mt. Charleston via Deer Creek Trail is a 14.7 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Mount Charleston, Nevada that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from July until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Length14.7 miElevation gain5,485 ftRoute typeOut & back
Dogs on leashCampingHikingNature tripsBird watchingRunningForestViewsWildflowersWildlife
Description
Waypoints (27)
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Getting There

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.

The trailhead is signed. There are no amenities.

From the Mirage Hotel and Casino on Las Vegas Boulevard (the Strip) go north 1.5 miles and turn west (left) onto Sahara. In less than one mile, turn north (right) onto I-15. Take I-15 two miles to US 95 north. Take US 95 north 14 miles to State Route 157. Turn left on 157, drive 17.7 miles and turn right onto State Route 158. Drive five miles to the signed North Loop trailhead, which is located on the left (west) side of the road

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Reviews (66)
Photos (860)
Activities (30)
Completed (480)
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Shawn Rush
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 17, 2020
HikingGreat!Rocky

This is a very rewarding hike. The photo ops alone make the hours and miles worth it. Be aware when planning your trip that this is closer to 17 miles than 14.

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Chris Ambraz
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Hiking
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Mikey Swift
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Hiking
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Morgan Krajewski
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 20, 2020
HikingGreat!

Did this hike on September 19th and the changing colors were stunning - beautiful hike the whole way through! Important to note when budgeting time: this trail was closer to 17-17.5 miles on two of our GPS devices, and we didn't do any straying from the trail. Can also be windy so check weather!

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alec Wylie
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 30, 2020
HikingGreat!Rocky

First (major) hike ever attempted. 9 hours return. Definitely not for faint hearted. Views towards the top of the peak at ~ 11,000 feet are breathtaking. Amazing to experience the change in flora and fauna between the different elevations.

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Stacee Harris
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarAugust 17, 2020
Hiking

I turned back at about Mile 6. The trail got harder to follow and ‘hinky.’ That and my fear of heights (aka slipping and plummeting to my death) made my decision. Still it was a fabulous nearly 12 mile out and back. Great views and wildflowers.

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Don Bedford
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Hiking

Really good hike

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Joshua Berard
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarNovember 25, 2019

I made it about 2/3s of the way up before having to turn around. Once above 9000ft, the snow really started to to get too deep for normal hiking boots so definitely wear a taller pair. Overall it's a great trail! Just be warned, the local gestapo (PD) is a real pain on parking. The lot you park in for this was "closed" even though no snow or ice was on it and they gave people tickets for parking there.

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Ben D
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Hiking

No snow or ice on the trail yet.

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Brian Detweiler
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RunningRocky

What a trail! There are a few spots along the way higher up that flatten out but the uphill is relentless at first. The final switchback section before the summit is intense but keep going, the top is almost there!

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Chris Heisman
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 25, 2019
RunningGreat!

Hiking Mt Charleston with 6 yr old Twins.

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H Andress
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 3, 2019
Hiking

Met up with North Loop via Trail Canyon Trail and went up from there. Much lovelier than anticipated--I was expecting the entire trip to be a bit of an uphill slog, but there's a surprising amount of easy-going steady trail. Last couple switchbacks at and above the timberline are monsters, though, so it definitely is a labor of love to get all the way to the top. Very much worth the effort, though. It's a much different approach than from the South Loop, and great in its own right. No snow to worry about, easy and safe to get around. I had three liters of water plus a 16oz electrolyte drink and that was just about perfect, but it is still warm on the trail (about 80°) so start your hike hydrated and plan accordingly.

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Tasha Marie
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 14, 2019
Hiking

Lost GoPro at Trail Canyon Trail / Mt Charleston junction near the large log. :( If found please view .txt file for contact info. I would very much appreciate it back! Great, very scenic trail, there are currently several snow crossings in last mile and the last snow cornice cuts off trail very near top currently.

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Kirsten Frankenberger
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 6, 2019
HikingRockyScramble

Gorgeous views! We went 3 1/2 miles out so only did 7 miles round trip but amazing views the entire hike and good elevation gain! Pretty warm day but beautiful wildflowers along the path and worth the work. Only downside was someone left their full dog poop bags every so often. Some were picked up before we made it back, but that’s not what others want to see on such a pristine wilderness trail.

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Benjamin Meyer
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJune 9, 2019
HikingSnow

Started at 0600 and didn't reach the summit until 1100. There was so much snow still on the trail that I ended up doing alot of off trail navigating. Give it another couple of weeks and it should be alot easier to summit. Great hike with incredible views.

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Ray Curry
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HikingSnow
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Olivier Randoing
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Hiking

Saturday 19 January 2019: Closed parking lot due to snow. Was able to go up to the switch backs (2.7 mi from parking lot and 10,000 ft altitude), but had to turn back due to 130 cm deep snow. Knee-high gaiters, hiking sticks, and snow shoes a must.

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Soo Kwon
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarNovember 11, 2018

Fun. Long. Not as hard as Griffith peak.. but longer distance.

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Peter -
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 16, 2018
Hiking

Hiked in late August 2018, connecting the North and South loops to make it a proper loop and get more scenery (GPS track said 18.2 miles total). Connecting North and South requires walking about a mile through town at the end, but I think very worth it (didn't find an AllTrails page just for that exact route, but started with the North trail described here). Started ~7am, took 9 hours total / ~2mph. Under 30, relatively fit but no elite athlete, found the elevation more challenging than the distance coming from sea level. Carried 3L of water, could have use a little bit more. Views are stunning, and having connected the two loops I'd circled the entire canyon by the end of it. Highly recommend.

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Rafał Namor
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 5, 2018
Hiking

2 hours to the junction with Mt Griffin than 2 hours to the summit. I started with blue sky and on the way back the ice rain hits me. It lasted for 90 minutes. So my way down was very fast. I complete the track in 6 hours and 30 minutes. I had a small headache due to the altitude. Easy trail to follow, just walking.

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Mark -
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 29, 2018
Hiking

Absolutely fantastic hike. I wanted to do this last time I was in Vegas but didn't get a chance -- I did this time. The hike states it's 16 miles out and back and using AllTrails record I logged 9 out and 9 back. My overall move time was just over 7 hours, but I did pause and spent 30 minutes at the summit, and 20 minutes watching an awesome sunset on the north side of the trial. Just as you'll see from the chart the hike start of with a decent incline from the get-go, tapers off for a couple miles then you hit the switchbacks which kick your butt. It wasn't until I hit over 11,000' I started to feel the altitude kicking in, but it certainly did. I started to get mild leg cramps, sausage fingers, etc. I paused for a couple minutes and hydrated, they proceeded to the top. The hardest part in my mind was the heading down. The switchbacks weren't too bad, but the last 5 miles just never ended. I got a late start and left the parking lot at exactly 1:00 PM, I didn't get back to the car until 9:00 PM, so 8 hours in total. Once that sun went down, it got pretty dark out on the trail and the last 4 miles was a stealth mission using a headlamp. Fortunately, the trail is very well defined and easy to navigate. That said, at about the 5-mile marker coming down there are a couple spots you can stray off course and end up at a steep drop-off. I'm a pretty active guy and doing something exercise wise almost daily. One thing for sure is that this trail kicked my as5. Likely more to do with the altitude than distance, but still did nevertheless. Awesome trail, highly recommend if you get the opportunity to. The parking lots get full quickly at the bottom --though interestingly enough I saw literally no one on the north trail after the first mile.

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John Merritt
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 30, 2018
Hiking

This was an interesting hike for me because there are no blazes to follow. I made it just about 2mi shy of the summit before having to turn back because of lightning and hail. The views on the way up made up for me bailing though. There are a few water caches scattered around in case you run low, but make sure you carry at least 3L. Next I come back I might add on the South Loop as well.

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Zac Short
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarApril 3, 2018
Running

Did this hike yesterday 4/2/18. Was able to only get to about 1.5miles before the summit. There is still too much snow. For a solid mile I was following old footsteps through the snow until they stopped and there was no longer a trail to follow. Amazingly beautiful hike though! Can’t wait to complete it in a month or two.

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Micah Teeters
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 19, 2017

This is a challenging trail. Carry at least 3L of water.

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James Carfagno
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMay 30, 2017
Hiking

Hiked a day ago (5/28/2017) and had to turn around at the 7 mile point (~2 miles short of the summit?) due to extensive snow on the north-facing slopes. We had crampons but decided not to press because the slopes in that area are quite steep/exposed and there's not much to catch you if you slip. Probably needs at least another month for the snow to clear.

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Jessica Mannthey
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMay 13, 2017
Hiking

I wasn't able to summit because of snow but got within a mile of the top, great hike though,amazing views throughout, this is challenging route, the trail gets very narrow in some spots.

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Kelly VanGardas
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMarch 12, 2017
Hiking

FYI- This trail shows you coming up Trail Canyon trail to the North Loop trail junction to the peak. You can also go to the peak via North Loop trailhead on Deer Creek Hwy (158). We do this hike on 4th of July! Views are outstanding, and the trail is a little tough. Will take all day for most and MUST bring plenty of water. Took us about 12 hours with our breaks included. We started at 5am and watched the sunrise and saw a momma deer with her babies on Trail Canyon. Lots of sun and a little shade but nothing too crazy on North Loop. Got the back of my knees and ears sunburned haha! Cave Springs has a trickle of water most times but don't always put faith in that and you have to filter it for sure. Lots of switchbacks up and at the peak, and there are a few cool places to camp for the night to make it a two day trip. If you can, take a little side step off the trail to look over Lee Canyons peak to check out the resort on the other side!

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