Not far from the shining lights of Las Vegas is the serene nature of Mt. Charleston. Elevated 7500 feet in the Spring Mountains is one of Nevada’s beautiful natural spots filled with hiking trails, skiing (in the right season), lower temperatures, and more. Mount Charleston is the highest point in Clark County, and is a great place to start or continue your road trip to Las Vegas if you are traveling from the north. This short and sweet road trip would even be nice in reverse if you have a day to spare while visiting Vegas!
Pack your bags, rally the troops, and fill the tank, because we have all the recommendations to have the best Mount Charleston to Las Vegas road trip.
The drive to Las Vegas from Mount Charleston is short, sweet, and scenic. You will mainly drive on the NV-157 E and US-95 S to get to Sin City from the mountains. The drive is 40 miles and takes approximately 45 minutes, depending on factors like traffic, weather, and which area of the Spring Mountains you start in. This route is fairly direct, giving you plenty of time to stop and take in the beautiful views while relaxing at some pit stops on your road trip to Las Vegas. Because Mt. Charleston is in the mountainous region, pay close attention to your weather forecast before hitting the road, and make sure there are no natural happenings that may cause road blockages or unsafe driving conditions.
Because weekends are the most popular for road trips, factor in extra drive time for situations such as traffic jams. Allow for longer drive times if you plan on traveling during the holidays or when there are big Las Vegas events. If possible, leave on a less-popular day like Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday to avoid heavy traffic getting in to Las Vegas – no matter where you’re driving from, the traffic is sure to pick up closer to the city.
A little hike from the peak of Mt. Charleston is Mary Jane Falls, where beautiful year-round water from two springs flows down the cliffs. The trail is approximately 2.5 miles there and back, so bring your hiking gear and get some fresh air!
Another trail to consider before continuing your road trip to Vegas is the Cathedral Rock trailhead. Take a 2.7-mile hike through the white fir, ponderosa, and aspen while taking in sights of the waterfall and the beautiful Cathedral Rock.
One last stop while still atop Mount Charleston is the Mt. Charleston Lodge. Grab a bite to eat from one of their expansive menus, listen to some live music on the weekends, and explore the nearby nature with seasonal activities.
When heading toward Las Vegas from Mount Charleston, make a stop to the Silent Heroes of the Cold War National Memorial to pay your respects to fallen heroes who fought in secrecy against the backdrop of the Nevada mountains.
A visitor center might not seem like the most exciting Vegas road trip stop, but the Spring Mountains Visitor Gateway is an exception. Have a picnic and visit the Seven Stones Plaza that celebrates the seven indigenous Southern Paiute tribes.
Once again, lace up your hiking boots for another trail! The Slots is a trail located off of the 157-E and leads you through unusual rock formations in the Nevada desert. A round trip is approximately 4.5 miles, so remember to stay hydrated.
Speaking of staying hydrated, grab a drink at Big Dog’s Brewing Company. This brewery is located just outside of Vegas and is a great place to stop before hitting the Vegas crowds. Don’t drink and drive, and enjoy that brew responsibly!
Opened in 1926, Lorenzi Park is one of the oldest parks in Las Vegas. With only 5 miles left to Golden Gate, take a break and enjoy one of the many park amenities, from tennis courts to picnic areas to children’s water play areas.
Before you make history in Vegas, see some natural history at the Las Vegas Natural History Museum. The only thing wilder than you in Vegas are the exhibits on prehistoric life, Ancient Egypt, the African Savanna, aquatic life, and more!
Some history lessons are much more recent than the prehistoric times. Make a stop at the Mob Museum to learn about the not-so-distant past of Las Vegas, and grab yourself a drink at the distillery or speakeasy while you’re at it.
Some say life isn’t only about the destination, it’s about the journey. If you’re planning your next trip to Las Vegas, consider hitting the road and making an adventure out of it.