Guide to the Mt. Charleston Wilderness Area

Mt Charleston

45 minutes from Las Vegas, the 11,916′ Mt. Charleston stands tall in the Spring Mountains. Hiking, skiing, wild horses and adventure awaits at this mountain oasis in the desert.

About Mt. Charleston

Things to do in Mt Charleston

Interactive Map

Mt. Charleston Attractions

Exploring the Spring Mountains Visitor Gateway
Desert View Overlook Mt Charleston
Lee Canyon disc golf playing a perfect round

Mt. Charleston Hikes

mazing Mt Charleston Hikes
Easy hiking trails Mt Charleston NV
North Loop Trailhead
Upper Bristlecone trail to lower bristlecone trail loop
Exploring the caves at Robbers' Roost
Eagles Nest Trail Mt Charleston, NV
Raintree Trail Mt Charleston a 3,000 yr old bristlecone
Mummy Springs Trail Mt Charleston Nevada
HIke Mary Jane Falls Trail in Mt Charleston, NV
Hiking Fletcher Canyon Trail Mt Charleston Nevada
Exploring the Cathedral Rock Trail in Mt Charleston
Echo Overlook Trail Mt. Charleston NV
Pack Rat Route Trail Mt. Charleston Nevada

Where to stay in the Mt. Charleston area?

Mt. Charleston has a mix of lodging and campgrounds to choose from in the area.

There are two popular resorts to stay at:

Unfortunately, in late 2021, there was a fire at the Mt. Charleston lodge and it burned down. Luckily, the cabins have re-opened and there are plans to rebuild the lodge in the future.

There are several overnight campgrounds in the Mt. Charleston area. 

There is also day use only areas available to reserve for group picnics/events.

If you’d like a little more adventure, dispersed camping is also allowed in many areas of the Spring Mountains.  More information on where dispersed camping is allowed can be found here.

Frequently Asked Questions about Mt. Charleston

Where is Mt. Charleston located?

The Mt. Charleston Wilderness area is located about 45 minutes from the Las Vegas Strip.

There are two main sides to Mt. Charleston, Kyle Canyon and Lee Canyon.

Kyle Canyon boasts the famous Mt. Charleston resort, the Spring Mountains Visitor Center, multiple hiking trails and camping areas.

Lee Canyon is home to the Lee Canyon Ski Resort, which includes scenic chair rides, skiing/snowboarding, mountain biking, axe throwing, disc golf and more. Lee Canyon also offers many hiking trails and several campgrounds.

Is Mt. Charleston Free?

The Mt. Charleston Wilderness Area is free to enter. The only exception is the local campgrounds which require a fee and also parking at the Lee Canyon Ski Resort during the winter months.

It is free to park at all the trailheads in the area and to visit the Spring Mountains Visitor Center. The mountain gets busy during the summer months and on the weekends, so be sure to go early to get a parking spot.

Are there bears in Mount Charleston?

No, there are no bears in the Mount Charleston area. The Spring Mountains are surrounded by the Mojave desert and bears have never lived in the area. Additionally it would be difficult for them to cross the desert from surrounding areas to relocate.

Are there mountain lions on Mount Charleston?

Yes, it is possible to run into mountain lions on Mount Charleston. It is rare to run into them, unless you’re in a more remote location around the mountain or at higher elevations. You can find warnings of mountain lions at certain trailheads, such as Mary Jane Falls.

Mountain Lion Warning Sign and steps to keep safe
Mountain Lion Warning Sign

If you see a mountain lion, the park recommends the following:

  • Pick up small children
  • Stand tall, raise your arms and speak firmly.
  • Do NOT run away from it or corner it – give it space to leave.
  • Back away slowly, don’t crouch or turn your back to it. Throw rocks if it doesn’t retreat.
  • In the rare event it does attack, ALWAYS fight back.

I would add, don’t try and take any selfies or get too close. Mountain lions are dangerous!