View Full Version : Vegas-area hiking in December?

Time Zone
10-15-2016, 14:46
I expect to be in Vegas in early-to-mid December, and would likely have most of a Saturday for hiking. A first-thing start would not be possible, however. Mid-morning departure from Vegas at best.

It appears the main choices are Mt. Charleston and Red Rock. Given weather considerations and equipment limitations (no crampons/ice axe etc), are any trails on Charleston still doable in December? I assume a summit hike is out of the question, but I wonder about other more moderate hikes in that area. It looks pretty scenic.

I'm not so enthralled by desert/rock areas, but Red Rock may be the main alternative for hiking.

I'd welcome suggestions, warnings, etc. Thanks!

10-15-2016, 16:47
Hard to say when Charleston will be impacted with snow and ice. I would probably use that as the Plan B in case there isn't any when you get there. However, there are several good trails at Red Rock that should be doable and very scenic. There is a good loop that gets you into some nice areas with some great views of the surrounding terrain, the White Rock/La Madre Spring loop is about 6 miles and you can bushwhack along its course to some interesting places.

10-15-2016, 18:45
There is a lot of relief on Mt Charleston, so the lower areas may be snow free even if the summit is snowy.
I've climbed Charleston many times, but the most fun was a circuit starting on one side of the trailhead and finishing on the other, making a big arc along the ridge that includes the summit. I went counter-clockwise, even slept on the ridge. Great views and bristlecone pine trees up there...
Highly recommended area.

10-15-2016, 19:45
By that time there will be some snow on Mt Charleston. Obviously, elevation makes a difference. Usually, snow starts accumulating without burning off sometime in med-late Nov to early Dec. However, the trails at the lower elevations around Spring Mountain - the Nature Center trails and Fletcher Canyon should be open. I've hiked the Fletcher Canyon Tr on a short visit to LV in Jan some icy patches but that was it. You might want to check out Kyle Canyon too but will not be able to do the North Loop which is one I like as it gets up above 11K to the summit of MT C. The drive and view to the highest overlooks atop Mt Charleston MIGHT be open and are worth it in themselves. It gets cold and windy up there at 11k + ft. made to feel even more so coming from downtown LV at around 2K ft. Flora changes strikingly from the palms and warm desert plants of LV to even on the Fletcher Canyon Tr located at 6-8K ft or so (just a guess). Atop Mt C there are vast tracts of fir trees, Bristlecones, Ponderosa Pine, Cedar, Quaking Aspen, etc. You feel like you're in the mountains far removed from LV and what it represents.



There are several options in Red Rock of your pick. They will definitely not be closed due to snow. The hike to Calico Tanks is nice with some very good views.


Depending on where you start driving from in LV it could be up to a 40 min drive one way which eats into your on trail time so it's prolly best to consider something close to where you're beginning the drive from and taking trail length and difficulty into account.

If you're really stressed on time but want to get off the strip wanting to stretch the legs a short flat hike can be done at Springs Preserve(not the same as previously mentioned) in LV that takes in flora(Botanical Garden), history of LV, gardening, etc and more of the area. It goes by the now dry spring that LV rose up around that started it all as a watering stop for wagon trains and railroads. At one time there was a vibrant spring but with the increased human demand and settlement for the water it eventually dried up. LV means meadows. You can look all this stuff up as a primer to the hike. When I'm doing a stopover on a flight or working a project in LV/Henderson I've hiked this several times. I always find something to appreciate widening the hiking experiences to include other experiences.

springs preserve las vegas (https://www.google.com/search?client=safari&rls=en&q=springs+preserve+las+vegas&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8)


Time Zone
10-17-2016, 06:13
Thank you all!

10-17-2016, 08:01
Valley of Fire State Park is worthy. Mostly day hikes, but it is beautiful.