Mt. Charleston offers cooler temps than what you’d experience from the rest of Las Vegas. Therefore, a day trip to Mt. Charleston is a fantastic idea since the average daily temperature in the summer is around 80 degrees F (26 degrees C) while the city’s average temperature can reach triple digits!
Join us as we explore the many fun activities you can do at Mt. Charleston in the summer.
The Spring Mountains Visitor Gateway serves as the doorway to your adventures at Mt. Charleston. The visitor center sits on a 128-acre complex, which is a reclaimed golf course that is a destination in itself for anyone looking to explore the activities in the area.
The visitor center features public buildings, trails, and exhibits. You can visit the visitor center to get maps for the various hiking trails and activities in the area or grab a souvenir. The visitor center features new technology to showcase the ancient tribes and provide visitors with some insight into the history of the land. It is open daily from 9 AM to 4 PM.
The notable attractions at the Spring Mountains Visitor Gateway include the Cold War Memorial, Seven Stones Plaza, two amphitheatres (Kyle and Mt. Charleston), picnic areas, and trails.
Hiking might be the last thing on your mind with the sweltering summer heat. But when you’re in Mt. Charleston, there is a significant temperature difference, making it a suitable condition to do outdoor exploration, such as hiking.
There are two hiking trails in Lee Canyon: Bristlecone Trail and Nature Loop. The Bristlecone Trail is a modern hike that is a 6.5-mile loop. The hike takes you through a winding forest filled with bristlecone pine trees, some of which are over 4,000 years old. You can start off this hike from either of the two access points: the Lower Bristlecone Trailhead or the Upper Bristlecone Trailhead.
Meanwhile, Nature Loop is an easy hike that is less than a mile loop. This trail takes you through a stunning walkway that is outlined by quaking aspens. You may access this trail via the Bristlecone Trail or via the resort.
Eagle’s Nest Trail is another hiking trail in Mt. Charleston, specifically in the Kyle Canyon area. You can start this hike from the Fletcher Canyon Trailhead, where you can also find parking and restrooms. The trail is 2.7 miles on a loop. There are five leisurely switchbacks on this trail and each one offers stunning, overlooking views.
Robber’s Roost is a moderate hike that goes on a 0.4-mile loop. The trail goes through a mahogany-filled rocky path and a thick pinyon pine forest. On one section of the trail, there is a route that takes you to an old Civilian Conservation Corps road. There is also a section of the trail where visitors can travail limestone stairs that lead into the Robber’s Roost caves. From here, you can enjoy world-class rock climbing.
If you’re looking for an easy to moderate hike, there’s Acastus Trailhead. It is 3 miles round trip hike that follows the Kyle Canyon wash and leads into the historic CCC sites. Hikers will find educational panels to learn about the flora, fauna, and geology of the Spring Mountains. If you’d like to rest, there are plenty of benches and shaded areas. As a bonus, this trail is stroller and wheelchair-accessible.
For those looking for a bit of a challenge, check out Trail Canyon. It is 4.4 miles round trip and is slightly difficult. The highlights of the trail include a water tower, a quacking aspen grove, and the Mt. Charleston Wilderness area. If you’re lucky, you can even find a seasonal creek from the snow melting. It’s an uneven trail with a few limestone stairs to climb.
The Cathedral Rock is another challenging trail to explore when you’re in Mt. Charleston in the summer. It is 2.8 miles long and where you will find the most colorful wildflowers in the area. Summer is the best time to explore this trail because of the risk of avalanches during winter (which means it is closed). There is also a waterfall on this trail.
The South Loop is the most challenging trail in the Mt. Charleston National Recreation Area. If you’re up for a challenge, get ready to conquer this 8.5-mile hike to Charleston Peak. It involves a steep climb from the Cathedral Rock trailhead and traverses through the avalanche chute before reaching a meadow. The final stretch of the trail is a strenuous climb that offers the reward of the most stunning view of Mt. Charleston peak.
The Mary Jane Falls is a slightly difficult trail that is a 3.2-mile round trip long. The trail is wider and more defined at first but will become narrower and steeper as you get deeper into the hike.
For those who aren’t into hiking, you can still check out the Desert View Overlook. It is a paved path leading to the overlook, so it is wheelchair and stroller-friendly. In addition, the Mt. Charleston National Recreation Area has many viewing platforms with educational panels, benches, and shades.
When hiking Mt. Charleston in the summer, be sure to stay on the path of the trail as the area consists of a delicate ecosystem. You can also take your dog with you on the hike, but be sure to keep them on a leash. You should also pack lots of drinking water and check the weather conditions before embarking on this hike.
If camping is more your type of adventure, then you will love visiting Mt. Charleston in the summer. There are four designated camping areas in Mt. Charleston
First up is Hilltop Campground. It consists of 35 tents and trailer campsites located high in the forest to enjoy breathtaking valley views. It’s ideal for those wanting to escape the city, but do prepare for occasional high winds.
Next up is Mahogany Grove Campground. There are six sites for tent camping and it is located close to the CCC sites from the 1930s. You can explore the short trail with interpretative signs near the area to learn more about the land’s history.
Another camping area that you must check out is the McWilliams Campground. It was recently renovated and is the location of the former Dolomite Campgrounds. You can participate in campfire programs in the summer, and some sites can stay open in the winter.
The last one is the Fletcher View Campground. This campground offers 11 sites and is open year-round. It is located close to the Kyle Canyon wash, so it is closed during the monsoon season (mid-July to mid-September). If you choose to reserve a camping site, it is only permitted according to the weather conditions.
If you’re not into camping, don’t fret. You can book a stay at the Resort at Mt Charleston & Cabins if you still want to enjoy the scenery while enjoying the comforts of staying in a hotel.
Picnicking is one of the top activities for families and groups in Mt. Charleson in the summer. It is especially recommended if you have younger kids who cannot join a hike. They will love spending time outdoors and enjoying the views in Mt. Charleston.
Wonder what Mt. Charleston is like in the winter? Check out our video below:
As you head into Lee Canyon in the summer, you’ll find various exciting activities to fill your time.
Channel your inner Lee Canyon lumberjack when you engage in axe-throwing activities. You can purchase a session on-site and can be enjoyed as a group (max of four people per lane). This activity is available for aged 10 and above.
You can bring your disc golf accessories for this, but you have to pay for the scenic chairlift. You can grab all the essential accessories, such as the course maps, scorecards, and disc rentals at the base camp tent.
Archery is another fun activity to enjoy at Mt. Charleston in the summer. For this one, you are not allowed to bring your own archery equipment and you have to rent it on-site.
If you’re looking for a thrill, or a chance to test your biking skills, you can enjoy that in Lee Canyon, as well. Enjoy the exhilarating trails on-site with the option between single-day and season passes (prices vary accordingly). Bike rentals are available daily and are free for kids below 12.
These activities at Lee Canyon are available daily from 10 AM to 6 PM.