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Las Vegas Day Trip: The Perfect Fall Day in Mount Charleston

Enjoy the changing leaves and cooler temperatures in Mount Charleston.

After a summer filled with triple-digit temperatures, the weather in Las Vegas is finally cooling down as we enter the fall season, and Las Vegas locals (and tourists) couldn't be more excited. While it's frequently said that Vegas doesn't have an autumnal season, there's still plenty of fall to be found. Although very little foliage can be found in the city, there is a unique spot outside the valley where locals and tourists can sneak away. 

A Fall Getaway in Mount Charleston

Formally known as Spring Mountain National Recreation Area, Mount Charleston is a breath of fresh air and the perfect way to escape the hustle and bustle of Las Vegas. Visitors can quickly get to this beautiful destination from the Las Vegas Strip by taking the I-15 North to the US 95 North (you'll definitely need a car for this). From here, you will be routed to Highway 157, which then turns into Kyle Canyon, one of two canyons in the Mount Charleston area. 

As you drive into the region, the temperatures drop and you can marvel at the views full of gorgeous views of mountains, wilderness and cabins. If you're looking for a place to escape the city and enjoy nature this fall, this is certainly a destination to explore. Here are some tips for creating the perfect fall getaway at Mount Charleston. 

The Retreat on Charleston Peak (©Melanie Lee) | WhereTraveler
The Retreat on Charleston Peak (©Melanie Lee)

Be Prepared

The temperature around the Mount Charleston area are often way lower than the temperature in Las Vegas. Make sure to bring some warm clothes with you just in case. Even in the fall months, there may already be a significant amount of snow on the ground and ice on the road if the season has been particularly damp. Trails may be slippery because of the snow and ice, so pack appropriate footwear and a first aid kit. Wild animal sightings on Mount Charleston are frequent as well, so make sure to exercise caution. 

View From Mount Charleston (©Melanie Lee) | WhereTraveler
View From Mount Charleston (©Melanie Lee)

Take a Hike to See the Fall Colors

Although there are many trails to adventure through in Mount Charleston, it can be overwhelming to choose the right one if you're new to the area. Luckily for October, the recreation officials are hosting two hikes called the "Fall Colors Hike." Both events occur on Sunday, October 10, from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday, October 20, from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. Hikers will have the opportunity to learn about the plants and animals living in the area while being guided through the best places on the mountain to see the most beautiful fall foliage. The hike typically changes based on the movement of the fall colors on the trees. Registration is not required, but guests are asked to meet at the Spring Mountains Visitor Gateway at least 15 minutes before the start of the event. Click here for more information. 

Fall Colors at Mount Charleston | WhereTraveler
Fall Colors at Mount Charleston (©Melanie Lee)

Create Your Own Hiking Adventure

If a guided hike is not really your thing, many different trails are open for you to explore this season. Over 60 miles of trails are maintained throughout the area, where some start a little over 6000ft in elevation, while some reach 11,916ft of Charleston Peak. 

Navigating through trails is a beautiful experience as you can enjoy the fall foliage at your own pace. Some paths to explore are Mary Jane Falls, Cathedral Rock and Desert View Overview. To safely plan out the best route, here is a complete list of trails to check out.

After a nice hike through the foliage, treat yourself to a much-needed break and relax at one of the Mount Charleston picnic areas. One of my favorite ways to explore nature is sharing a meal with loved ones while we take in mother nature's most spectacular views. To make the most of your time on the mountain, plan to bring meals, snacks and drinks before driving up to Mount Charleston as food options are limited on the mountain at this time. Here's a complete list of picnic areas in the Mount Charleston area, including which are free and require a reservation. 

Fall Leaves on Mount Charleston | WhereTraveler
Fall Leaves on Mount Charleston (©Melanie Lee)

Take a Scenic Ride Through Lee Canyon

Try a scenic chair ride through the Lee Canyon Ski Resort to get the best views of the fall foliage. Enjoy breathtaking views as you gently reach an elevation of at least 9,000 feet. You can take a ride solo or take a trip with a friend. There are many great views here due to the elevation, so if you plan to take photos, make sure you capture it all! The resort is open for visitors Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, and tickets can be purchased here

Rent a Cabin in the Mountains

Consider making your trip to see the foliage a multi-day experience by renting out lodging. Although the Mount Charleston Lodge has sadly closed due to catching fire this year, the cabins in the surrounding areas are still open for rent. This season, the costs for one cabin ranges from $123 to $250 a night, depending on the day. Cabins are cozy, spacious and provide excellent views of the mountains right outside the windows while including various amenities. Check out availability here to book a cabin this season! 

Cabins on Mount Charleston | WhereTraveler
Cabins on Mount Charleston (©Melanie Lee)