Hiking Fletcher Peak Trail, Mount Charleston, NV

Fletcher Peak at the summit

Fletcher Peak stands tall in the Spring Mountains at 10,319′. Summiting this marvel is easiest from the North Loop trailhead off Deer Creek road just 45 minutes from Las Vegas. Hikers will be thrilled with amazing views, wildflowers, wildlife (including birds and the endangered Mt. Charleston Blue Butterfly), and an optional trip to a 3,000-year-old bristlecone tree.

Notice: Mt. Charleston recently experienced substantial storm damage from Hurricane Hillary. Be sure to check for updated information about closures here.

In this guide:

Fletcher Peak seen from Echo Canyon trail
Fletcher Peak seen from Echo Canyon trail

Fletcher Peak Hiking Stats

Trail DescriptionOut and back
LocationFletcher Peak
Parking LotNorth Loop Trailhead
Round Trip Mileage~7.2 Miles
Average Time4 – 5 hours
DifficultyModerate/Hard  
Elevation Gain~2,200 feet*

*Approximate cumulative gain due to the elevation profile of the hike.
Elevation Start~8,396 feet (Source)
Elevation Max~10,319 feet
Best time to visitSpring through Fall (the trail is accessible year-round, however heavy snow conditions may exist in the snow season).
Amenities at the TrailheadParking, boot brush station, trail map / information board.  No restrooms available.
Entrance FeeNone
Rating4.5 Mooses

What to expect along the Fletcher Peak trail (our experience)

We arrived at 7:15 a.m. on a weekend and found the parking area was about half full.    

If you find the parking area full, there is an overflow lot down the road. Cars also parked on the narrow shoulder off NV-158 (we don’t recommend this).

Flecther Peak starts at the North Loop Trailhead off of NV-158 (also known as Deer Creek Road).  The out and back trail is approximately 7.2 miles round trip. We also recommend a quick trip to the Raintree (a 3,000-year-old bristlecone tree), as it’s only a few hundred yards past the cutoff to Fletcher Peak. See the map further below.

Related: Our experience hiking to the Raintree.

If you’re feeling really ambitious, the North Loop also leads to the summit of Mount Charleston (20.6 miles round-trip).

The Trail

The trail starts out gentle, and after a short incline, actually dips back down in elevation.

The start of the North Loop Trailhead looking north
Beginning of North Loop trail / Fletcher Peak

Don’t get too attached to the downward sloping trail.  It’s short lived and soon you’ll be marching up to the top of Bristlecone Peak (approximately 9,996’ in elevation).

Note: Bristlecone Peak’s elevation is ~10,045′. The highest point I could find on the official trail to Fletcher Peak was ~9,996′.

A sign marking the Mt Charleston Wilderness area beginning
Mount Charleston Wilderness Boundary Area begins

In fact, the first half of the trail (~1.3 miles) is a steady dose of upward climbing through switchbacks and mostly shaded paths. 

Keep your eyes posted for various birds along the trail. 

Unknown bird perched on a tree branch along North Loop Trail
Bird along the North Loop trail

During this portion of the trail, you’ll get to see several nice views of the valley facing east, and various mountain backdrops facing to the west. 

North loop trail parking shown from high up on the raintree trail
Parking areas seen from the North Loop trail

Before long, bristlecone pines will begin to make an appearance.  

Dead Bristlecone Tree
Bristlecone along the first ridge line

There’s a great stopping point by the tree shown in the picture above.  You’ll know you’ve arrived there as it’s the first major clearing on top of a ridge with beautiful views of the Vegas valley to the east.

Not long after this vantage, you’ll come to a flat area. It would be perfect place to camp if it were allowed.  It’s not. 

large open area with many trees along North Loop Trail
Flat area along North Loop Trail

After the brief reprieve from the elevation gain, the next portion of the trail is another steady incline up until you reach the Bristlecone Peak area.

Path lined by trees winding upwards
Final push to Bristlecone Peak

Reaching this summit area, you’ll be met with a large number of bristlecones dotting the mountainside and beautiful views of various mountains in the distance. 

Vantange of the spring mountains from Bristlecone Peak
View from Bristlecone Peak (Fletcher Peak is cut off to the left)

To reach the cutoff to Fletcher Peak, you’ll begin descending from Bristlecone Peak towards the Raintree. It’s a gentle downhill slope, and after awhile you’ll reach a unmarked trail fork.

If you don’t have GPS (which we don’t recommend), you’ll know you’ve missed it if you reach the Raintree.

GPS location of trail fork

North Loop Trail connects with Fletcher Peak trail
Finding the fork for Fletcher Peak
Unmarked Fork to Fletcher Peak trail
Unmarked fork to Fletcher Peak

After taking the fork, it’s approximately another mile to the western summit of Fletcher Peak.

The first half mile or so of the trail is fairly obvious, though in many areas it is covered with slippery scree. It’s also down hill for about a quarter of a mile past the fork.

Walking along Fletcher Peak Trail
Starting towards Fletcher peak right after the trail fork

Along the trail, you’ll be met with a variety of bristlecones and seasonal wildflowers.

Weathered bristlecone on Fletcher Peak trail
Gnarled bristlecone tree
Yellow wildflowers along Fletcher Peak trail
Yellow wildflowers along the trail
Scarlet Gilia along Fletcher Peak Trail
Scarlet Gilia along Fletcher Peak Trail

We enjoyed the views of the Mummy Toes and also Charleston Peak in the distance.

Mummy Toe Mt Charleston seen from Fletcher Peak
Mummy’s Toe and Charleston Peak
Charleston Peak seen from Fletcher Peak trail
Charleston Peak seen in the distance

We continued down the trail with Fletcher Peak in the distance.

Head towards Fletcher Peak
Headed towards the peak

There are several look out points along this portion of the trail, and we recommend taking your time on this section as it’s breathtaking.

In the second half of the trail past the fork, the elevation will start to climb again and the trail becomes less apparent.

Fletcher Peak seen in the distance
Fletcher Peak in the distance

Getting closer to the summit, you’ll run into three false summits and rougher terrain. While scrambling was never required, I did find myself crouching down a few times to feel more stable going over some of the rocks. Grippy shoes is a huge plus for this hike.

Rough terrain nearing the summit of Fletcher Peak
A false summit on the way to Flecther Peak

Bristlecone trees were plentiful as we neared the summit.

Bristlecones on Fletcher Peak Trail
Bristlecones nearing the summit

The final push to the summit up a gulley of loose rocks.

Trail to Fletcher Peak
The last bit before the summit

We finally reached the summit and were treated to amazing views of the entire valley overlooking the town of Mount Charleston including Cathedral Rock and the Echo Cliffs.

Cathedral Rock seen from Fletcher Peak
Cathedral rock seen in the distance
Fletcher Peak at the summit
Enjoying Fletcher Peak summit
Fletcher Peak plant life
Foilage growing above 10,000 feet on the summit
North eastern view from Fletcher Peak
Northeast view from Fletcher Peak summit
Log book at Fletcher Peak summit
Log book at the summit

As we were exploring the “summit” area, we noticed another hill further to the east. While most hikers stop at the western side of Fletcher Peak, the true summit is actually further to the east.

We decided to stay on the western hill as there wasn’t a clear way to navigate to the other side. Additionally, we later learned the views from the true summit aren’t great due to all the trees.

If you feel the need to stand on the very top, you’ll have to make your way to the hill shown in the picture below.

Fletcher Peak Summit
The true eastern summit of Fletcher
Standing on Fletcher Peak Summit
Enjoying our summit of the day.

The wind was picking up and needed to make it home before a Saturday football game, so it was time to head back down.

Mt Charleston wilderness area near Fletcher Peak
Headed back towards the North Loop trail

After returning to the North Loop trail, we decided to check out the Raintree since we were so close. It’s short detour, but worth the side trip to see a 3,000-year-old bristlecone tree.

Related: Read more about the Raintree.

Raintree
A quick stop at the “Raintree

After viewing the Raintree, follow the North Loop trail back to the parking area.

Is hiking Fletcher Peak worth it?

Rating:  4.5 Mooses

4.5 Mooses Rating

We really wanted to give this hike 5 stars, but every hike can’t be a 5, so we settled on 4.5.

What we liked:

  • After leaving the North Loop trail, we had the trail up to the summit of Fletcher Peak all to ourselves, on a weekend!
  • The views on Fletcher Peak have been our favorite of all our Mount Charleston hikes.
  • The massive amounts of bristlecone trees along the trail, including the short side-trip to the large 3,000-year-old bristlecone dubbed the “Raintree”.
  • The temperatures at Mount Charleston were about 20-25 degrees less than in the Las Vegas Valley, making for a fun late summer activity.

What we didn’t like:

  • Once you leave the North Loop trail, the route to Fletcher Peak isn’t well marked and has a fair amount of slippery scree.
  • There wasn’t a clear or easy path to reach to the true summit of Fletcher Peak. Most hikers (including us) stop at the western and slighly lower side of Fletcher.
  • The parking area fills up quickly.

Verdict: This was overall a great hike and we’re glad we went.

Practical Information for your Hike

Current trail conditions

What to bring

Be sure to check the weather conditions and pack appropriately.  This is what we brought for this hike:

Standard Gear:

Special Items of note:

  • Hiking Boots or closed toe shoes – The North Loop trail is well established, but the additional distance to Fletcher Peak isn’t well maintained. Appropriate footwear with a good grip is highly recommended for this hike.
  • Clothing – Be sure to bring appropriate clothing for rapidly changing conditions on the mountain.  Weather can change extremely fast.
  • Water / Snacks – Keep in mind when hiking at higher altitudes you generally need more water than normal.   Bring extra snacks! 
  • Navigation – We used Alltrails for navigation, and we’re glad we had it for the second portion of the trail. Cell service was spotty on the mountain, so be sure whatever navigation software you use it can be used without service.

Entrance Fees

There are no fees to enter the Spring Mountain Wilderness area, nor to park at the North Loop trailhead. 

If you’re interested in staying overnight at the nearby Hilltop Campground or Mahogany Grove Group Campground, there is a nightly fee.

Getting to the North Loop Trailhead

The start of the Fletcher Peak trail is most easily accessible at the North Loop Trailhead off of Highway NV-158 (aka Deer Creek Road). It is possible to access Fletcher Peak via Trail Canyon as well, but it’s a much longer route.

Map showing where the North Loop Trailhead is on NV-158
Map showing North Loop trailhead

North Loop Trailhead From Las Vegas:

Take Highway 95 Northbound until you reach Exit 96 (Kyle Canyon / NV 157 / Sunstone Pkwy).  Turn left off the exit onto NV-157 / Kyle Canyon Road.  Drive approximately 16 miles and turn right on NV-158.  Drive approximately 4.8 miles up NV-158 and you’ll see the parking area for the North Loop Trailhead on the left-hand side of the road. 

It’s tempting to speed on NV-157 & NV-158.  Don’t do it.  We frequently see police cars driving around Mount Charleston and bikers / hikers are often on the narrow shoulders or crossing the highways at various trailheads.

Parking at the North Loop Trailhead

There are two parking areas used to service several hiking trails:

The parking areas are popular and fill up quickly.  The main area probably holds about 15 vehicles depending on how closely cars park to each other (there are no lines).

Parking area of North Loop Trailhead filled with cars on a weekend
Parking at North Loop trailhead

You’ll want to go early to snag a spot at the actual trailhead.  If you have to park at the overflow lot, it will require walking up NV-158 on a narrow shoulder road.

Parking Map for the North Loop Trailhead in Mt Charleston
North Loop parking area and overflow at MTB trail

We did see some creative parking by various vehicles, including cars parking along the shoulder.  We didn’t see any signs restricting this behavior, but we don’t recommend it as it’s very narrow.

Cars parking on shoulder of NV-158 - Deer Creek Road
Shoulder parking NV-158 (not recommended)
Cars finding creative parking along NV-158
Creative parking at North Loop trailhead

If you can back into the spot when you arrive, you’ll have an easier time leaving, especially when the roads are busy.  The parking area is so small, we had to back out into NV-158 to leave. This was a little nerve racking as there are several blind corners on the road and while the speed limit is 40 mph, many drivers do not obey these limits.  Use caution.

Trail Maps

Area map

Map of the Raintree Trail with trail forks to fletcher peak, mummy springs and charleston peak
Area hiking map

Fletcher Peak Trail Map

The map below is our GPS recording made by our Garmin watch. It includes the small side trip to the Raintree.

Fletcher Peak Trail Map
Fletcher Peak via North Loop Trail map

Trailhead Amenities

  • Parking area
  • Hiking boot brush
  • Trail Information and trail map
  • Access to several different trails, Raintree (5.4 miles round trip), Fletcher Peak (7.2 miles round trip), North Loop Charleston Peak (20.6 miles round trip), Mummy Springs (6.0 miles round trip). The North Loop trail also has a junction to Trail Canyon and Wildhorse Canyon trails.
  • Nearby to the Hilltop Campground and Mahogany Grove Group Campground.

Trail Rules

A few rules exist along the trail as posted on the information sign boards at the trailhead:

  • No overnight camping is allowed.
  • No campfires or charcoal grills are allowed due to fire restrictions.  Stoves are ok to use.
  • If you pack it in, pack it out.  Do not leave trash in the wilderness area.
  • Stay on the trails.  Cutting switchbacks impacts the integrity of the trail and creates erosion. 
  • Non-denotated explosives are used for avalanche control in the area.  If you find one, do not touch it, and call the U.S. Forest Service or Lee Canyon Ski Area for removal.

While we didn’t see any other safety tips at the trailhead, other trails in the Spring Mountains area have the following recommendations:

  • Bring extra water
  • Wear sturdy hiking shoes or boots
  • Wear sunscreen and a hat.  At higher elevations, the atmosphere provides less protection from the sun’s harmful rays.
  • Flashlight – Allow for ample hiking time.
  • Bring clothing for cool or wet weather.  Weather changes rapidly in the mountains.
  • Leave wildflowers, plants and artifacts.  Please leave these behind to be enjoyed by others.
  • Take photographs and memories and pack out any trash.
  • Stay on trails.
  • Let family or friends know where you plan on hiking and when you expect to return.  Know your limits and remember, you will need to walk back as far as you have walked in.

Are dogs allowed on Fletcher Peak trail?

Yes, dogs are allowed on the trail with a leash.  Horses may also use the trail.    

We saw several hikers bring their dogs and many were not leashed. 

Rules for hiking at the North Loop Trailhead

More Hiking Trails in Mount Charleston