Hiking the Sawmill Trail in Mt. Charleston

Enjoying Sawmill Loop Trail

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

The Sawmill loop trail near Mount Charleston is a short 1.3 mile loop trail that is popular with hikers, bikers and horseback riders.

In this guide:

Sawmill Loop Trail Stats

Trail DescriptionLoop
Trail startSawmill loop trail (aka yellow trail)
Parking LotSawmill trailhead, Sawmill Dayuse Loop A Rd, Las Vegas, NV 89166
Round Trip Mileage~1.3 miles
Average Time~1 Hour
DifficultyEasy
Elevation Gain~160 feet
Best time to visitSpring through Fall
Amenities at the TrailheadParking, trail map / information board, primitive bathrooms, trash receptacles, picnic benches
Entrance FeeNone
Rating2.0 Mooses

What to expect along the Sawmill loop trail (our experience)

We arrived at the trailhead at 9 a.m. on a Saturday and had our pick of the mostly empty parking lot.

The trailhead is a jumping off point for multiple trails in the area and the Sawmill loop trail (aka yellow trail) starts to the north west of the primitive restrooms in the parking lot.

Related: Sawmill Trailhead Top things to Know

After locating the loop trail entrance, we decided to go clockwise around the loop.

Sawmill Loop Trail with Mummy Mountain
Start of Sawmill loop trail

You’ll notice at the start of the trail there are tall trail marker signs. You’ll want to keep your eyes out for these along the trail.

They are color coded with arrows pointing in the direction of travel.

“Yellow” is the Sawmill loop trail.

Trail markers on sawmill loop trail
The Sawmill loop trail begins

“Red” is the Pinyon Pine loop trail.

“Blue” is the Blue Tree loop trail.

We didn’t run into the other colors based on our path of travel, but we’re guessing they follow the colors on the map at the trailhead or (also below).

Trail fork along Sawmill Loop Trail
Trail fork along Sawmill loop trail – watch for “yellow” trail markers

We do recommend having a GPS device with you as some hikers left reviews they felt the trail was unclear. We didn’t have any issues navigating.

Sawmill Loop Trail Markers
Trail forks

Along the trail, we found several different types of wildflowers, despite it being late in the season.

Yellow Wildflowers along Sawmill Trail
Yellow wildflowers
Red wildflowers sawmill loop trail
Red wildflowers along the trail

We also saw a few cacti.

Cactus along Sawmill Loop Trail
Cactus along the trail

On the back part of the loop, you’ll come to a fork for the Pinyon Pine loop. If you’re going clockwise like we did, the trail continues to the right.

Sawmill Loop Trail fork to Pinyon Trail
Pinyon loop fork (red trail), Sawmill to the right (yellow)

The path will wander through various trees and be mostly flat throughout the loop.

Juniper trees along sawmill loop trail
Sawmill loop trail
Walking along Sawmill loop trail
Walking along Sawmill loop trail

Nearing the end of the trail, we were met with views of the north summit of Mummy Mountain.

Mummy Mountain North Summit seen from Sawmill Loop Trail
Enjoying the views of Mummy Mountain

Not long after, we finished the loop and arrived back at the trailhead area. Our Garmin mileage clocked in at 1.37 miles (close to the official trail mileage of 1.3) and it took us around 38 minutes to complete the loop (including time for photos).

Is hiking the Sawmill loop trail worth it?

Rating: 2.0 Mooses

What we liked:

  • The hike was short and sweet.
  • We enjoyed the ample parking area and not having to get up crazy early as is normal with most Mount Charleston hikes.
  • We didn’t see anyone on the loop trail when we hiked and enjoyed the solitude.
  • There was plenty of shade if you visit on a hot day.

What we didn’t like:

  • There isn’t a ton to see on this trail. There a couple of views of the Mummy Mountain North Summit, but mostly the trail just winds through some Juniper trees.
  • There was a lot of horse droppings along the trail. Watch your step.
  • The trail is fairly narrow, so if you happen to come across horses, you’ll need to go off the trail to allow them to pass.
Horse droppings on sawmill trail
Horse droppings were all over the trail

Verdict: If you’re looking for an easy trail to stretch your legs, it was ok. There are better easy hikes in the Mount Charleston area.

Related: Easy Hikes in the Mount Charleston area

Practical Information for your Hike

Current trail conditions

  • Check MtCharleston weather for current conditions in the area.
  • Check GoMtCharleston for trail closures.
  • Check Alltrails for recent trail reviews and to download a map of the area (we always prefer the pro-version so we can view it offline). We have no affiliation with Alltrails.

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 trail was well established, but we recommend wearing hiking boots or trail shoes. We do not recommend wearing open toe shoes as there was a lot of horse droppings along the trail and a fair amount of loose dirt/small rocks.
  • Clothing – Be sure to bring appropriate clothing for rapidly changing conditions in the mountains.  Weather can change extremely fast.
  • Water / Snacks – There are no services in the area, so be sure to bring water and snacks with you. The nearest food (if it’s open) is the Lee Canyon Ski resort. It’s generally only open on weekends.
  • Navigation – We used Alltrails for navigation, however we didn’t need it. Make sure you keep a close eye out for the “yellow” trail markers at each trail fork.

Parking for Sawmill Loop Trail

You’ll find a large parking lot off of NV-156/Lee Canyon road about 13 miles from the turn off on US-95.

We found two other cars in the lot when we arrived at 9 a.m. on a Saturday. When we left several hours later, there were maybe three cars.

Sawmill Parking Area Mount Charleston Nevada
Sawmill Parking Lot
A few cars at the Sawmill trailhead

Entrance Fees

There are no fees to park at the Sawmill trailhead.

Getting to Sawmill Trailhead

Location:  Sawmill trailhead

The Sawmill trailhead can be found off Highway NV-156 (aka Lee Canyon Road), approximately 13 miles from the turnoff of Highway 95.

Sawmill Trailhead Mount Charleston Nevada

From Las Vegas:

Take Highway 95 Northbound until you see signs for Lee Canyon (NV/156).  There will be a left hand turn that sneaks up on you with only a simple left hand turn lane.

Once on Highway 156 / Lee Canyon road, drive approximately 13 miles. You will see a sign for the Sawmill trailhead on your right.

After turning in the parking area, keep to the left to find the day use parking area. If you turn right, you’ll end up at the equestrian parking area.

Sawmill Trailhead Day Use Parking Area
Parking sign for Sawmill trailhead day use area

Trail Maps

Sawmill Trailhead and Blue Tree Trail System
Trail system at Sawmill Trailhead – Sawmill Loop in Yellow
Sawmill Loop Trail Detail Map
Sawmill Loop Trail (aka yellow trail)

Trailhead Amenities

Picnic Area at Sawmill Trailhead
Picnic area in the parking lot area of Sawmill trailhead
  • A large parking area
  • Local trail information, trails maps and Spring Mountains Recreation area map
  • Primitive restrooms
  • Trash receptacles
  • Access to several different trails, Sawmill Loop (1.3 miles round trip), Mud Springs Loop (13.1 miles round trip), Pinyon Pine Loop (5.6 miles round trip), Blue Tree Loop (7.8 miles round trip), Deer Creek Catch Pen Loop (11.8 miles round trip)
  • Nearby to the Blue Tree Group Camp area and equestrian parking
Restrooms at Sawmill Trailhead Mount Charleston
Primitive restrooms at Sawmill trailhead
Sawmill Trailhead system of trails
Trash receptacle at Sawmill trailhead. Apparently Amazon Prime shows up everywhere. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Trail Rules & Regulations

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

Sawmill Trailhead information sign board
Information sign at Sawmill trailhead
  • No overnight camping is allowed.
  • Pets must be leashed.
  • Please stay on the trail. Switchback shortcutting destroys the vegetation.
  • Fires are not permitted except in developed recreation sites.
  • Operation of audio devices such as radio or musical instrument should be used in a way that will not disturb other forest visitors.
  • Use of fireworks or other explosives is prohibited.
  • Day use areas are for use between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m.

Other rules and regulations may apply and are subject to change at any time. Please read and respect all rules posted at the trailheads.

More Hiking Trails in Mount Charleston