Saturday we picked up Larry, Tawnia and Miss Jasmine and traveled 35 miles northwest of Las Vegas to enjoy the snow, fresh air and all-around scenic beauty of Mount Charleston. Part of the Spring Mountain Range and Toiyabe National Forest, Mount Charleston ranges from 3,000 to 12,000 feet in elevation. It is Nevada's third-highest mountain peak and one of the top ten most topographically prominent peaks in the U.S., making it an ideal spot for both summer and winter activities.
There are seven campgrounds with more than 180 campsites and about 160 picnic sites. The campsites vary in size from single family to triple family, with RV spaces available. Of course, this is not the time of year to consider RV'ing or camping here, but thought you might like to know what's available at the right time of year.
During the spring and summer, if you're the type that doesn't like to just sit around and breathe fresh mountain air, then bring your hiking boots, strap on your backpack and head off for a trek down one of dozens of trails that wind throughout the woods. There are fifty-three miles of trails that crisscross the mountain. Be sure to bring your binoculars so you can do some bird watching as the area offers many different types of birds such as eagles, woodpeckers and humming birds. Hay rides are offered in the summer and sleigh rides in the winter.
Mt. Charleston is also a great destination for winter recreation. The Las Vegas Ski & Snowboard Resort, located in Lee Canyon, has a total of 13 runs, with 20% beginner, 60% intermediate, and 20% advanced. The resort is open from Thanksgiving through Easter, weather permitting. Alpine (downhill) skiing has been a popular sport at Mt. Charleston since the 1930's. In the early 1940's, the US Forest Service began to seriously evaluate the possibility of opening this area for full-time use during the winter. During this period, skiers were towed by ropes behind horse drawn sleds up to the site of the present ski slopes. There are now three power lifts that take you to the top of the slopes.
Two things to remember when visiting Mount Charleston. Fill up the gas tank before leaving town, as there are no gas stations on the mountain, and stop by the grocery store before you leave, since there aren't any stores 'up top' where you can buy supplies. Following our own advice, we filled up and loaded up with drinks and snacks for our day.
We arrived to clear blue skies and no wind. All right! I love to be in the snow when I'm not freezing to death. This would be Miss Jasmine's first experience and our goal was for her to have a great day. The kids brought an inexpensive 'sled thingy' to slide down the hills on. Well, sort of on, LOL! What a kick...We had a ball! Miss Jasmine rode with an adult her first 4-5 trips and eventually made a short downhill run on her own. She loved it! I took over 280 pics but I've narrowed it down to under 30 for this post. Hope you enjoy sharing this special time with us!