Mount Charleston, Las Vegas
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 :)
ahhhhhh time to venture away from all that neon ... see whats beyond balleys, and past the rio..go to red rock, the valley of fire, mount charleston, these are all within an hours drive from las 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 !
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.
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.
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.
Mount Charleston is a great place to get away from the business and the lights of Vegas (and they do grow on you!) It takes between 40 minutes and a hour to get there. It is the big mountain you can see from the strip. Once you get to the top, the hotel/resort sits about 9,000+ feet high. Be careful, it gets cold sometimes! We came from the Strip which was in the seventies and by the time we got up most of the mountain, it was snowing hard.
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)
On a HOT Aug. day, a ride up to Mt. Charleston can be very refreshing. The higher you go, the cooler and greener it gets. At the end of the road is a nice lodge with restaurant and cabins. In the winter, this is a ski area. In the summer, there are lots of hiking trails. There is even a really nice camp ground up there. It took about 45 minutes to drive up there from Vegas.
Actually this isnt that far from Vegas but it could as well be a million miles away.
Having looked out of hotel window at the desert surrounding Vegas it was hard to believe just a short drive away we where in an Alpine setting.
Also amazing was that for all the millions of tourists in Vegas nobody seemed in the least bit interested in visiting this beatiful area.
Mt. Charleston and Lake Mead are great for getting away from the city. Mt. Charleston has camping grounds, cabins for rent, and a great hotel. Eat in a nice restaurant or roast marshmallows, its up to you. Lake Mead offers your choice of water sports. Jet Skis are available for rent as are boats. Also great for camping the view is nice and the waters warm in the summer, be careful though, the water is not the cleanest wouldn't advise getting to wet.
On the way to Mount Charleston, got this picture of a coyote from the side of the road - and only 15minutes outside Las Vegas city limits. Most people never leave the 'Strip', but 'Vegas has a lot more to offer than just gambling.
That's Mount Charleston with the snow on top. This was taken at about the same location that we saw the coyote. Another 20 minutes up this road and the temperatures drop 10-15 degrees. The day (in May) that we drove through you could feel and see the difference, cactus and other plants were still in bloom as you started up the mountain - the same plants were past their 'season' on the valley floor.
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!
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!