The Spring Mountains National Recreation Area and the town of Mount Charleston offers locals fun opportunities to escape the hustle and bustle of Las Vegas year-round. During the summer months, the mission for locals is to escape the heat to get to cooler temperatures, and enjoy the outdoors.
The Spring Mountains are recognized as “sky islands” because the high elevation of its peaks creates an oasis of cool weather away from the desert heat. Mount Charleston is the coolest hot spot to escape the summer heat, and it's a short drive outside Las Vegas. Campgrounds, trails, and scenic views are the go-to destinations to cool off this July in Southern Nevada.
Campgrounds and picnic sites
Start your Mount Charleston adventure at one of 13 campgrounds and picnic sites. Picnic sites are the central points of biking, camping, hiking, and stunning views.
There are many options for picnic and camping locations throughout the Spring Mountains. Visitors may need to pay an additional fee to access many campgrounds. And some picnic sites have cash-only at the entrance, while others may be reserved in advance. Visit Recreation.gov to find and reserve a location.
The Deer Creek Picnic Area is a popular choice found approximately halfway down the Deer Creek Highway. Deer Creek is home to one of the areas with no entrance fee and is occupied on a first-come, first-serve basis. This picnic site is close to popular trails, including Bristlecone Loop Trail, Kraft Mountain Loop, and Tin Can Alley.
Fletcher View Campgrounds is a forested desert oasis with nearby hiking, horseback riding, and wildlife viewing. Camping reservations can be made and some camping sites are available on a first come first served basis all summer.
Hiking and biking trails
Mount Charleston is famous for its trails, making it a popular destination for hikers. The Spring Mountains are home to more than 60 miles of trails, many of which rise between 6,000 and 11,916 feet in elevation.
Mount Charleston has hiking trails for every skill level. You’ll find that Acastus Trail is a popular wheelchair-accessible trail leading hikers to the highest peak in Spring Mountain, the 11,916ft Charleston Peak.
Trail Canyon is one of the more challenging trails and is not stroller, bike, or wheelchair friendly. There are stairs and a set of eleven switchbacks to experience aspen forests, ponderosa pine, and curl-leaf mountain mahogany.
Take a scenic drive
Spring Mountains National Recreation Area is home to beautiful landscapes, making it not just a scenic drive but a great location for pictures. After all, not everyone has the time or energy to hike, bike, or set up a picnic. In under three hours, visitors can travel from Las Vegas and back and still take in the scenic views and stop for fun photo-ops. After all, not everyone has the time or energy to hike, bike, or set up a picnic.
Safety tips before planning your visit
Always check the weather before you visit Mount Charleston. Make sure to pack the necessary equipment and wear proper clothing. And even though you can count on Mount Charleston to be cooler than Las Vegas, you still need to stay hydrated.
Have fun, be safe, and remember to “take only pictures, leave only footprints.”