The month of July brings hot temperatures and the Monsoon season. The Monsoon season is another name for the stormy season. Starting during mid- July and continuing through August the Monsoon season is in full force. The southern winds bring moist air from the Gulf of Mexico into southern Nevada. Once here, our summer sun heats this moist air causing thunderstorms. Generally, the Monsoon season starts in late July and lasts till the first or second week of September.
Unfortunately, storms are more common in the mountains. This applies to the mountains in Mt. Charleston. Red Rock Canyon is not subject to the Monsoon season, but it’s too hot to hike during summer. However, this doesn’t mean you have to stop hiking. By following the suggestions below you can have a safe time hiking during the monsoon season in Mt. Charleston.
The main rule is: Be Off The Peaks By Noon. Thunderstorms do not normally start until the afternoon. Get an early start if you are doing a long hike. You can start hiking anytime in Mt. Charleston. There’s no Scenic Loop gate that limits access to the trailheads.
If caught in a lightning storm:
- Get off of peaks and ridgelines. – They are very exposed and susceptible to lightning strikes.
- Stay out of shallow caves. – Ground lightning runs through caves.
- Stay away from water. If a trail turns into a stream, stay off. – Water is a good conduit for lightning.
- If you’re hiking with a group, spread out. – Lightning can travel from one person to another.
- Stay away from tall objects (trees). – They are frequently struck by lightning.
- If you feel charged, squat down on non-conductive material. Your backpack is normally a good choice.
The best rule of thumb is to listen to the weather forecast the night before and watch the sky while hiking. Always have a rain jacket with you when hiking Mt. Charleston during the Monsoon season. Keep it in your daypack so you can’t forget it. Many times during our hikes the sky looked threatening, but we never felt a drop of rain or saw a flash of lightning. As always, common sense and preparation are the keys.
Hike Of The Month
Bonanza Peak is a tough trail hike through towering trees and clean air to an elevation of 10,400 feet. The hike is 95% trail with the last bit being a path that leads to the summit. There’s a sign in book in an ammo can where you can sign your name and express your thoughts. Unbelievably, wild horses roam the road and the trailhead. They are not dangerous.
This hike should be attempted by those that hike regularly, who are in good shape, and have done some hikes at elevation (8,000+ feet) recently.
- Hike: Bonanza Peak – trail
- Trailhead: Cold Creek Trailhead – marked
- Distance: 10 miles – up and back
- Elevation gain: 2,300 feet
- Elevation of Peak: 10,400 feet
- Time: 5 to 6 hours – up and back hiking time only, not driving time
- Difficulty: 3
- Class: 1
- How easy to follow: 2
- Children: No
You can download the step by step hiking directions for Bonanza Peak from this page:
Looking to join an advance hiking group? The 52 Peak Club is your answer.
More information here: