You might get tired of the Vegas Strip lights but don't worry because there is an awesome mountain to explore just 35 miles northwest of the Las Vegas strip - it is called Mt Charleston! I took my wife's sister's family who were visiting from Singapore and we had fun going up the mountain and taking pictures. The drive is easy and at that time we went (April I think) you could still see some of the snow-capped mountains in the distance.
They also have picnics and capmsites which you can reservew through the National Reservation Center: 800-280-CAMP (2267).
Sometimes, Vegas may be so stifling hot and it was warm there when we went in April but as you go up the mountain, you start feeling the cool welcoming breeze and fresh air! There are 52 miles of hiking trails and you will enjoy trees such as the juniper, mountain mahogany, Aspen and the Ponderosa pine. Animals you might spot in the area are wild burros, songbirds, deer and desert tortoises.
Here is our video of that awesome trip up the mountain:
JUMPING FAMILY ON MT CHARLESTON, VEGAS!
We got re-married on our one-year anniversary and held a big party on Mt Charleston at the Mt Charleston Lodge. It was reasonably priced, friendlier, more personal and down to earth than the Vegas hotels (go figure). We were able to have the dinner (good food) and party in the same place, without worrying about having to leave in a 2 hour limit -- we could stay up partying as long as the Lodge bar was open. Perfect and fun. Much cooler than Vegas - a very welcome retreat, and the hot tubs in the roomy and bright log cabins were great!
We went for a great hike up Cathedral Rock in the morning, and got married in the afternoon outside at the Lodge. Beautiful hiking trails in the forest and mountains here. Everyone who came up (hikers and non-hikers) loved the get-away from the strip, even though the price for the cabins was a bit of a splurge for us! (Some guests stayed at the nearby Mt Charleston Hotel, which is beautiful and had rooms for a bit less money and reported that was also very nice).
The website has very good driving directions from Vegas.
only an hours drive from las vegas is an actuall forest, can you believe it???? it even snows up there in the winter, and we can ski !!!! for some reason people only think of cactus,casino,cathouse, and concrete when they think of las vegas...but thats so not all we have..take the 95 north to mt charleston exit...from there you go from desert to forest in 45 minutes..on your left you will first see the new mt charelston hotel, it's nice but keep driving ( really don't stop ) up the hill a little bit more is the mount charleston lodge... this is old school vegas baby!!! they have a great bar...get a baileys and coffee, or for the brave scotch drinkers get the house special mount charleston coffee... to much for me!! they have two patio's the main one is the best you see the whole mountain... they have food which is a little pricey for what you get, but it's good! the best part of this place is the fireplace in the middle of the lounge..in the winter it's the best!!
if you wanna make a weekend out of it they have cabins for rent, which all come with a jaccuzzi, and a porch with the most fantastic views...request the rooms at the end, so you don't have a cabin below you... bring some champagne, or buy some from the bar.... great time !
Take a nice half day ride up the canyons of the Spring Mountains. The elevation gets
up to 7,770+ or so. It's a great way to get away from the summer heat of the conrete
and asphalt jungle of Las Vegas!
Stop at the Lodge near Mt. Charleston for a cocktail and appetizers (or a meal). Take
photos of Mt. Charleston and talk to the locals. They are very friendly. Usually,
there are people selling their jewelry and crafts outside in front of the Lodge.
If you are tired of gambling and the rest of the "stuff" you can do in Vegas, then this
is a great "half-day" trip to get away from it all.
Las Vegas Ski & Snowboard Resort: Typically open from Thanksgiving thru March (this year they extended into April!) most folks don't realize that it is a nice place to go "cool-it" during the summer when the heat in the Valley can get as high as 115 degrees. The daytime temperature is usually 30 degrees cooler up in the Mt. Charleston area. There are places to picnic and hike and it is a definite break from the wild activity usually associated with Las Vegas. Only a short (between 30 - 45 minutes) but picturesque drive from downtown L.V. - check out this little "getaway" - you'll forget you're in Vegas!
i have been to las vegas many many times over the years and i always make it up to mt. charleston almost every trip. it is just an hour drive from town and once you get up there its a totally different world from vegas.
there is a SMALL ski area, i repeat SMALL, but its fun for a few hours if your up in the winter time. some nice hiking is to be had as well and best of all when its 110 degrees in vegas it will be in the 70's here and you will almost have it to yourselves, its very peaceful and relaxing up at mt. charleston.
This is one of several interesting excursions you can take out of LV (it's not just the Grand Canyon and Hoover Dam, you know).
Cool off in the alpine setting of Mount Charleston north of Vegas, there are scenic drives, hikes, picnic grounds and campsites.
It's very close to town and it is remarkable how it rises out of the desert so quickly!
Other natural landmarks around town I'd like to see sometime are Red Rock Canyon and the Valley of Fire.
Psst! Zion National Park is only 150 miles straight up the Interstate from Vegas, making it a lot closer than the Grand Canyon!
Snow in Las Vegas? You betcha.... well, sort of. Within an hour's drive of the Strip are the Spring Mountains, home to the tallest peak in the area, Mt. Charleston (10,745 feet). This mountain getaway makes for a great retreat during those unbearable summer months, and it's also a neat spot to go see the snow while you're visiting the desert. Lots of trails of varying length and camping available.
Mount Charleston is a great excape from the financial and other excesses of Las Vegas. There's a small friendly community on this mountain, located less than an hour's drive from Las Vegas. Add to that some great summer hiking trails, cooler temperatures and winter fun, and you have a great year 'round escape.
For more information, visit my Mount Charleston page.
Only an hour from Las Vegas you will find yourself in cool[er] mountain air and among pine trees. Take I-15 to 95 to 157.
You can visit the Spring Mountain Visitor Center and have lunch at the Mt. Charleston Hotel. Or even spend the night :)
If (or should I say "when") you are ready for a break from the heat and hustle of the Strip, rent a car and head for the hills. But these are real, live mountains, not just hills, and they are less than an hour from Las Vegas. Mt. Charleston and the surrounding canyon areas provide many hiking opportunities in the warmer months, and skiing and snowboarding in the winter months. When we were there in early May, there was still plenty of snow on some of the trails! See my Mt. Charleston page for more photos.
The day I drove up to Mt. Charleston it was 90 in the city of Las Vegas. When I reached the lodge at 7700 feet, it was 65 and there was snow on the ground. It was a beautiful day and the ride was easy and scenic. You can either go to the lodge near the town of Kyle Canyon (like I did) or drive up to the ski area which is a higher elevation (I wish I did).
The lodge was a funky little place with a bar (complete with video gambling machines), a restaurant, outdoor patio and gift shop. Everyone was friendly and there was a little band playing diverse tunes such as "Edelweiss" and "Margueritaville". While we were there a busboy was clearing the outside of snow for an outside wedding.
You can also stay at the lodge in one of the little cabins.
Mt. Charleston is a pleasant break from the heat of the city. There is the scent of Ponderosa Pine in the air.
There is a nice restaurant at the top, a hotel with jacuzzi suites, camping, a waterfall to hike to, and horseback riding is available. Located less than an hour away from Las Vegas.
Mt. Charleston is the perfect side trip, especially if you visit during the summer. An alpine oasis just 50 mins from all the glitz and lights. Grab a picnic lunch, or do lunch at the Lodge at the top. A quiet escape from the bells and whistles.
Mt. Charleston is an awesome place to go and hike around in the summer and is even better to ski at. The slopes are not to over run with people. But remember this is not Mammoth or Sugarloaf it is just a nice little place to ski.
(Snowboarders please go back to California)