Explore the most popular camping trails near Las Vegas with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

A challenge but the beauty is worth the climb

hiking
5 days ago

This is marked as hard because of the steep climb, but at least there is no scrabbling! Nice work out for the legs and lungs, and worth the climb! A new favorite short hike. I will definitely come back to this trail after trying others.

Kicked my butt. We only went as far as the first summit, which was about 5 miles (total of 10). Hard hike. No joke. I loved it, I’m glad I went. I’m glad I pushed myself.

hiking
12 days ago

Really great hike. The switchbacks on the front end are pretty grueling, but they lead to some amazing views — and, of course, Raintree (which isn’t marked, but is right by the sign where the trail splits after you come over the ridge). Temps were great for July — in the 70s when I started at 9:00 — and traffic on the trail was fairly light for a Sunday, especially once I passed the tree. Took me about 4.5 hours, but I made tons of stops for pictures and hung out by the tree for a while.

I’ll be doing this one again! Highly recommend it.

backpacking
19 days ago

Decent hike. The steady climb started to wear on my lungs. The tree is amazing with plenty of spots to sit down and relax for a bit. From here we went to the Mummy Springs...ehh, not all that great. Next time we’ll cut off to Fletcher Peak.

AllTrails shows a quite similar elevation/distance for this trail (Mt Charleston South Loop) and the Bright Angel Trail at the Grand Canyon. Do not be fooled. This hike is challenging, but if you can hike the Bright Angel Trail in one day, then you'll have no problems here.

The first thing people should be aware of is the lack of parking. I even got dinged with an $80 parking ticket all because I happened to get there slightly later than a few other hikers. It was my first time there and these people know the parking is inadequate. Handing out $80 parking tickets to people who drove a long way and have no idea where additional parking may be is completely and totally immoral especially considering they do nothing to make parking more accessible.

In fact, the parking in such a high volume area is such a pain in the ass that I do not recommend this hike at all. If you can park, it will be great, if not, it will be awful.

The hike itself does not play games and will thrust you directly into steep elevation climbing. This is a good thing as it will demonstrate what to expect for the next 2-3 hours. Before long, you will hit the Mt Charleston Wilderness which is a beautiful forested area with spectacular views. The steep grades will continue until you get to the top of this forested area where you will find that the elevation levels out as the path splits between the easy peak (Fletcher Peak??) and the harder, longer Mt Charleston loop.

The meadows of dead trees will continue a few miles and provide a bit of a break. Before long the elevation picks back up and you will need a little reserve in the tank to make it up the last mile. There will probably be a crowd of people at the peaks, and someone appropriately added a Vegas Golden Knights flag to the summit.

All in all, this is a pretty awesome mountain for Vegas locals to have around for quick access to natural splendors. It is unforgiving and not recommended for out-of-towners because you may struggle to find parking. If you drove a long way to get here, then you are better off driving a long way to climb a different mountain that is not so crowded.

Feel the burn! This short trail will work your legs and ass in a hurry! Beautiful trail with shade, wildlife and right now, butterflies! It is a tough one so I wouldn’t recommend for a beginner. Take it nice and slow, enjoy the scenery.

hiking
30 days ago

Lots of switchbacks, but most of the incline isn’t too steep and the hike back was a breeze. I’d rate the hike as moderate. Raintree is magnificent to behold and worth the trip.

I found taking frequent breaks was helpful with the altitude climb

I've done most Mountains around the Vegas valley, but none compare to what this brings to you. It's a long, windy(mostly starts at the junction between Griffith peak and Mt. Charleston), ride up there. The continual incline,makes sure you get your butt kicked thru out the entire summit. The weight we had on our backs with snacks and water didn't help either. Overall this is my biggest accomplishment as far as hiking, and I am very proud i was able to do it in one day, without camping up there.

My girlfriend and I started at 8 am on 6/12/18 and reached the summit at 12:37 pm (4 hrs and 37 min.) We spent 10 minutes on top (had enough energy for snowball fight) before heading back down. Took 3:50 to make it back to the parking lot. 8 hour and 26 minute journey. Tough day, but great feeling of accomplishment.

hiking
1 month ago

All incline and a great quick workout for the legs and glutes. Very well-maintained and clear trail to the top. About 1.2 miles up there is a nice breezeway. Plenty of shaded areas to stop if you need a break. Once you reach the peak, you can continue another half mile to Cave Springs or another 6 miles to Charleston Peak. You can also head back down to the North Loop Trailhead which is 4 miles.

Really difficult hike but well worth it. Left around 3pm and got back around 8pm. Great to do in early summer because it’s still bright out. Made it to Raintree as sunset was beginning and it was breathtaking.

backpacking
1 month ago

The scenery was gorgeous, and the continual incline is unforgiving with packs, lol. We weren’t able to make it to the Charleston summit this time; we camped at the trail junction between the peak and the trail to Griffith. Definitely would like to return one day without so much gear so that we can finish the hike. :-) very different hike that I’ve been on since moving back to Las Vegas

I'm going to give a New Englander's perspective for anyone traveling from that area.
The hike itself is spectacular. Shortly after you start, you find yourself weaving through a couple of massive cliffs. I tried to get good pictures but they were just too big. If you aren't acclimated, you'll probably be breathing heavy early on as you work towards the cliffs. That's when the switchbacks start...
For those used to White Mountain hiking, you'll be confused why you aren't suffering like you normally do, for most of the hike, the difficulty with altitude is more than offset by the switchbacks.
Once you reach the ridge, the views are amazing, much different from the whites because you can see down to the desert floor to the east and west. I thought it was surreal how much empty space there is. For about two miles the ridge is a nice leisurely stroll even though you are at about 10,700'. Then you start ascending to 11,300' as you wind around a prominent hump and get disappointed that it is not in fact Charleston Peak. At this point for me, the slight grade didn't help. I was in full struggle mode for every step.
Be prepared to suffer for another 1.5 hrs. first you descend to about 11,100' and start weaving your way back up. the trail splits left and right, I stayed left and would probably recommend it since I never saw the other side rejoin. This is where the trail became much more exposed than I anticipated. If you are scared of heights you will struggle a little (I'm very afraid). The trail is carved into the side of some kind of rock slide that is pretty steep in a few places. I found that when looking ahead it looks worse than it is when you actually travel through it. But in any case, you see the peak for a while and wind around. At this point I was moving in slow motion. Altitude definitely matters above 11,000'. The way down is easy once you get through the exposed part. Took me 5.5h up with lots of stops for pictures and 4 to go down with one stop to backtrack and find my cell phone. This is comparable to how I go vs AMC book time, so for those familiar with that, you can still use as a benchmark.

Beautiful trail but it will kick you butt. Carried surface from sandy to rocky. This is a moderately difficult run run. Make sure you take water. Easy to follow and you won’t get lost.

hiking
1 month ago

VERY pretty, well-marked trail. SO many Aspens here - can't wait to hike this again in the Fall when the Aspens change color!

hiking
1 month ago

Great workout! All incline, all the way. The trail is well defined and easy to follow. Great views from the top and it intersects with other trails. The way down was no easy task. Be ready for a leg workout.

hiking
2 months ago

I took my 11 month old 20lb “weight vest” with me and made it at a pace of 31 min/mi... we both enjoyed the sights, sounds, smells very much! There weren’t a lot of people on the trail either (which I prefer) Can’t wait to do this beautiful hike again!

I hiked this trail on 4/14/2018 and trail conditions then were not favorable. The first 2.5 miles were snow free, after that microspikes/crampons were highly recommended and trekking poles. My buddy and i are pretty experienced hikers who have climbed multiple high altitude peaks even with snow, but even then, there were portions of the trail that were just completely covered with thigh high deep snow. We made it pass the saddle and continued for another mile with Charleston in plain sight, but unfortunately due to time we had to turn back. Had it not been for time we surely would have summited, going again this weekend. Awesome trail though, just a bit long.

2 months ago

Strenuous climb but well worth it. The bristlecone pine forest is beautiful. I had to stop myself from takin pictures of every tree.

The Rain Tree is not at the end of this hike but a little past the midway point. I posted a picture showing where the tree is on the AllTrails map. The rest of the hike is worth the trip; you end up on a ridge with steep cliffs. You may be disappointed if you expect the trail to end in an even better tree.

May 7, 2018. Hike got snow-covered about 3 miles from trail head. Nice hard and beautiful hike. Recommend wait 30 days unless using traxx and poles. Will be back.

Attempted this trail yesterday (04/25/18) with a goal of making it to Griffith Peak (total = 4.0mi one-way), and unfortunately only made it to 10,000' before I had to turn around (vertical 1000' / 0.7mi short of Griffith Peak). While the first ~3mi on the trail were mostly clear of snow (with some patches of 6-12"-deep snow on thinner parts of the trail over hills, which should be considered very carefully), the last mile of the trail's switchbacks are pretty heavily loaded in deep snow. At one point, the tracks I was following made by previous hikers became too unclear, and I decided to play it safe and turn around. It is worth noting that I passed a few other hikers coming down who had made it to Griffith, but each of them noted some trail-finding would be necessary as the upper portion of the trail was unclear to them, too.

Aside from the snow, this trail was beautiful -- steep and challenging, especially when considering the altitude (you'll be going above 10,000' if you do the whole thing, and starting at 8000' in the parking area), but really wide-open scenery with tons of great views and lookouts that get better and better the further you ascend. Highly recommend. Bring poles and consider microspikes, if available for the snowy patches, and definitely take your time and be safe with the snow. As always, avoid altitude sickness by staying well hydrated (water with electrolytes!) and fed.

hiking
2 months ago

It’s actually 4.6 miles to the top and back according to my GPS. Tough on the Way up (elevation gain is 1600+ ft.) all incline. Start very early in the day, took me about 3 hours; Start to finish but I took my time and enjoyed the view.

trail running
3 months ago

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.

hiking
3 months ago

My favorite hike!

hiking
3 months ago

A decent trail near Mary Jane Falls trail. The beginning of the trail is a easily followed (though constantly ascending) gravel path with little overhead shade and conifer trees. Push past this part and you’ll be rewarded with great views at the top. Overall, not a trail I would take again unless I was going to converge with another trail at the peak.

I couldn’t do this hike unfortunately- upon arrival the cathedral rock picnic area is closed for the season & that’s where you’re supposed to start. Just a heads up!

Seven of us set out on our first hike of the season. We were a little concerned about a seven mile trek as our first outing, but the trail proved to be beautiful and not overly taxing. It was the type of trail that makes you want to come back for more.

The layered colors were amazing. So distinct. The landscape ranged from soft, rolling hills to jagged peaks, which were as sharp as lava rock. The winds were wicked, but interestingly always at our back.

Our group (age range 45 to 60) really loved this trail.

hiking
4 months ago

My Garmin had the distance a little shy of 6-miles,taking the north loop trail (as shown) up to the Raintree. Pretty solid 1,900-foot elevation change on the ascent from the parking lot at the north loop trail at 158. The elevation gets to just shy of 10,000 feet so will get to you on this steady climb. We hiked in early March so there was still some significant snow on the trail and micro-spikes and poles were needed. We had a great time and some of the views were tremendous.

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