By Bob Hillier
Mt. Charleston is the jewel of Las Vegas. Rising to just a shade under 12,000’ from the Vegas valley, it is a majestic mountain that has 4 season attractions. Located in the Spring Mountains, it is the only mountain in southern Nevada to rise above the timberline. Fortunately, it is undiscovered by most Las Vegans. Fortunately those of us that HAVE discovered it, have it mostly to ourselves. In the summer when the heat in the Valley is 100 plus, the temperatures on Mt. Charleston rarely rises above the 70’s. In the Fall when the Aspen leaves turn, the colors, the vistas and the crisp air are unsurpassed. Winter brings the snowcap that stays until June and a winter playground that most don’t realize the desert can deliver. Follow the road up Lee Canyon and you will arrive at the Las Vegas Ski and Snowboard Resort. Snow is not a problem there - too much snow is the norm. During a 1 week storm this December, the resort received 8’ of snow. Along with the skiing, Lee Canyon offers great sledding. On any given weekend day, you will find hundreds of Las Vegans lining the roads of Lee Canyon and sledding through the pines. For the more adventurous, Mt Charleston offers great alpine snow hiking and backpacking. Spring brings incredible waterfalls and snow packed trails. And then, back to summer. The hiking on Mt. Charleston is spectacular. And by spectacular, I mean it will kick your butt. No matter what your level of conditioning, you will find a challenging (read grueling) hike. In later blogs, I’ll recap my various adventures on the mountain but for now – the mountain always delivers.
For those that choose to live on the mountain (which I intend to someday), there are a number of options. There are two avenues to the Mt. Charleston, Kyle and Lee Canyons. Most of the homes are located in Kyle Canyon which has four distinct neighborhoods, most of which are accessible in the winter. Lee Canyon also has multiple housing areas but less that are four season properties. With Vegas being less than 45 minutes away, an increasing number of families are choosing the mountain rather than the valley to live. I’ve hiked most the trails of Charleston.
In future blogs, I’ll pass on the joys and pains of a middle aged guy’s experiences on this incredible mountain.
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