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This is likely a great time to hike this trail!  Check out "Prefered" months below, keep in mind this is an estimate.

Charleston Peak from Trail Canyon, NV

43 2 0
Guide 2 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List NV > Vegas
5 of 5 by 2
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Difficulty 4 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance Round Trip 17 miles
Trailhead Elevation 7,744 feet
Elevation Gain 4,175 feet
Accumulated Gain 5,600 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 9 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 45
Interest Seasonal Creek & Peak
Backpack Yes
Dogs not allowed
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
18  2019-07-14 te_wa
25  2017-07-14 Jim_H
Author Jim_H
author avatar Guides 55
Routes 44
Photos 7,651
Trips 1,608 map ( 9,661 miles )
Age 40 Male Gender
Location Phoenix, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Jul, Aug, Jun, Sep → 8 AM
Seasons   Late Spring to Late Autumn
Sun  5:26am - 5:49pm
Official Route
0 Alternative
Dance it on top!
by Jim_H

Likely In-Season!
Charleston Peak has two trails which access it. The shorter South Loop Trail, and the scenic, but also much longer North Loop. The Trail Canyon trail is a great alternative to trim some miles off the North Loop's lower portion, and allows you to hike the scenic upper trail to access Charleston Peak.

Trail Canyon trail leaves from the parking lot's north side and climbs gradually up the canyon on a very well built trail. The trail gets steeper as you hike up, and begins to take on switchbacks shortly before you enter a regrowing burn area. Views open up in the upper sections, and soon you can see your destination. The switchbacks grow longer, and after a short distance you are at the junction with the North Loop Trail.

Once at the North Loop Trail, turn left, and continue up slope. After 1/2 a mile you come to Cave Springs, and a trough with water in it, though the water is piped from a source higher up. This water may be reliable for most of the summer, or only in the early summer when snow melt feeds it. This is the only source of water on the hike, unless you melt snow in later spring.

From Cave Springs the North Loop gets progressively more interesting and substantially more scenic. Initially, you hike through the upper portions of the old burn, which has a lot of nice bristlecone and aspen. This gives way to a spectacular forest of old bristlecone pines, steep slopes, impressive views of Kyle Canyon, Charleston Peak, and the cliffs along the hike. As you ascend, the hike only seems to get better. This is probably one of the nicest and most impressive sections of trail I have been on, and I highly recommend it.

After 4 miles of impressive hiking you arrive at the base of the peak itself and begin the final push to the summit. Charleston is an ultra prominent summit despite it's modest altitude of 11,918', so despite being below 12,000', you might feel like you are much higher. Barren rocky slopes and minimal vegetation could convince someone they were several thousand feet higher. On top, views are reported to be up to 300 miles on a good day. Enjoy them if you are lucky to have those conditions. From here, return the way you came, or descend the South Loop Trail, which goes to a different trailhead.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

This is a moderately difficult hike.

Leave No Trace and +Add a Triplog after your hike to support this local community.

2017-07-15 Jim_H
    WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

    Most recent Triplog Reviews
    Charleston Peak from Trail Canyon
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    trail canyon> charleston peak> south loop
    great hike! 18.2 miles w/ this loop. last mile requires a walk back to the parking lot. snow patches, sketchy passing across slushy snow on a 45 degree slope that could only end badly if you fell... cave spring was flowing a quart a minute, snowmelt was welcome way to fill our bladders (treated w/ aquatabs). camped along telegraph road which is passable in good conditions w/ a small SUV. views along some sections of trail canyon were epic. looking down on vegas from the north loop was super scenic. granite-gnarly out there, plenty of photo ops. the south trail was bland in comparison. saw the plane crash, made our way down the switchbacks to the car in about 9 hours at a reasonable pace. summit was (as usual) a blast! literally 40mph blast... what a gem for the locals. this mountain is FUN. prolly one of Pickle's and I favorite hikes this year!
    Charleston Peak from Trail Canyon
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    This will probably end up being my biggest hike of the year, which is fine as it is truly spectacular. I trust the GPS route data I used for the miles, and I feel the AEG is probably accurate, but I am not 100% sure I lost and gained that much additional elevation on the hike. Did I?

    Passing through Las Vegas and with the long drive, I remembered why I always ignored this hike and opted for Colorado or California hikes and peaks in the past. However, that really isn't a good reason to skip Charleston, more so when living at low elevation, but mostly because this is probably one of the most interesting hikes I have done in the last few years. The hike along the upper cliffs is just spectacular, the views of Kyle Canyon, and then the bristlecone forest are really worthy of a hike in their own right. Charleston Peak, as an Ultra-prominent summit might as well be much higher. I am sure I'll be back someday to hike this again, and other stuff in the range.

    I ended up being in better shape than I expected, and it turns out that yes, the heat, has a lot to do with my lower tolerance for longer hikes this year. Altitude did fatigue me and slow me down, but I was not sore or dead tired as I expected. I was tired for the last few miles, but 2 days out I barely notice, which is good and much better than 1 month ago in Zion, and even 2 weeks ago on Wrightson. Guess I like hanging out in heat, but not hiking in it. Who knew? My legs, it seems. I found the upper 6 miles (12 round trip) above Trail Canyon on the North Loop Trail to be spectacular, and the miles simply are not as noticeable as one might think they would be. They go fast!

    I ended up having great dry conditions with zero storm risk, and fantastic hiking conditions. A trough was pushing the monsoon flow east, but it brought smoke into the valleys from numerous fires in California. So, I could barely see most distance points, and Telescope Peak was hazy and just visible. No Sierra Nevada views, as hoped for. I bet, on a good day in early winter or fall after the cold dry, clear air comes in, this is a fantastic place to be.

    Pretty scattered, but this is a drier range.

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    Paved - Car Okay

    To hike
    From Las Vegas, NV, drive north on US 95 out of town to the northwest. Almost immediately after the dense sprawl ends, SR 157 leaves from US 95 to the west. It is clearly marked and signed for Mount Charleston. Drive about 20 miles up the road, pass SR 158, and continue on passing the campground and through the small towns on the mountain. Just as 157 is about to take a switchback up to the left, a road marked Echo Canyon Rd proceeds straight ahead, but as a separate road. Follow this road to the obvious signed trailhead for Trail Canyon.
    page created by Jim_H on Jul 15 2017 9:02 pm
    $17 3L Hydration Bladder
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