It’s Mt. Charleston Time
When it’s hot in the city, it’s cool in the mountains. Mt. Charleston’s refreshing mountain temperatures are less than an hour’s drive from the city. The elevation ranges from 7,000 feet to 11,918 feet (Charleston Peak). There are numerous trails varying from easy to difficult. And yes, there are lots of trees. Did you know Mt. Charleston is home to the bristlecone pine? It’s is among the longest-lived life forms on Earth!
Hiking Tip of the Month
First a few cautions about hiking in Mt. Charleston. The elevations of most trailheads in Mt. Charleston are higher than the peaks at Red Rock. Start off slow and acclimate to the higher elevations. This is the best method to avoid getting altitude sickness. Drink plenty of fluids to help prevent altitude sickness. Water is the best.
During June you can hike in a tee shirt at Red Rock, but it’s a different story in Mt. Charleston. Temperatures can vary 40 degrees from trailhead to the peaks. Make sure to bring layers of clothes, and take a windbreaker. Do not wear cotton, which retains water. Wear clothing that wicks moisture away from your body (material with Polypro, Comfortrel, and Thermax).
Hike of the Month
This month’s hike is Fletcher Canyon. It’s well marked and simple to follow. The trail winds through tall trees and then it snakes through a narrow canyon. High canyon walls, flowing water, and mountain air make this a great family hike.
Hike of the Month: Fletcher Canyon
Hike: Fletcher Canyon — up and back
Trailhead: North side of 157 — marked.
Distance: 2 miles – 4 miles
Elevation gain: < 200 feet to 450 feet
Elevation Peak: none
Time: 1 to 2 hours
How easy to follow: 1
Driving Directions: From the Mirage on Las Vegas Boulevard (the Strip) go north 1.5 miles and turn left (west) onto Sahara. In less than one mile, turn right (north) onto I-15. Take I-15 two miles to US 95. Take US 95 north 14 miles to State route 157. Go left on 157, drive 18.2 miles up 157. There’s no parking at the signed trailhead. Parking is along the south side of 157 at pullouts located within 100 yards of the trailhead.
Overview: The trail follows a creekbed and turns into a route as it travels up a canyon.
Comments: The trail starts out as an easy trek along the mountainside. After a mile and a half, it winds through canyon walls 100 feet high. This part of the hike is reminiscent of the canyon hikes in Red Rock. The trail can be hiked as an easy two miles up and back or a more difficult four miles up and back. The bulletin board at the trailhead pertains to the first mile of the trail maintained by the forest service. This is the reason the length of the trail is listed at one mile.
The Hike: The well maintained trail heads north and offers a good view of rocky cliffs that lie in the distance. It soon crosses a rocky wash and continues on the far side. The first mile of the trail has a slight grade, making it suitable for a person of any fitness level. A large tree lies across a creekbed at the end of the one-mile maintained trail. Although this marks the end of the one-mile maintained trail, the rest of the trail is easy to follow.
As the trail heads NW, cliffs on both sides begin to close in. Water normally flows year-round in the creekbed. The trail crosses the creekbed a few times and splits, then rejoins a few hundred feet ahead. The canyon walls become tighter as the trail goes deeper into Fletcher Canyon. The trail winds around the wash and between the canyon walls. It turns south, empties into the creekbed, and weaves between 100-foot tall canyon walls. When the creekbed turns sharply to the north, boulder hopping becomes the best way to navigate.
Water may be flowing in parts of the creekbed as you continue through the slot canyon. Up ahead the creekbed divides. The right fork deadends in about 75 yards. A huge boulder, aptly named Obstacle Rock, blocks the continuation into the left fork of the creekbed.
Download this hike with photos and step by step directions from my website: http://www.hikinglasvegas.com/free-member-area.html
The 52 Peak Club: Safe and smart group hiking: http://www.52peakclub.com/
Branch’s bio here: http://www.hikinglasvegas.com/about.html
Branch’s Facebook Hiking Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/HikingLasVegas/ +