Clark County High Point Trip Report

Charleston Peak (11,913 feet)

Date: September 16, 2000
Author: Ken Akerman

I did a complete loop circumnavigation of the peak, ascending via the Trail Canyon and North Loop Trails and descending via the South Loop Trail. Below is my trip report.

I arrived at the town of Mount Charleston on the night of Sept. 15 and looked for a place to camp. To get to the camping area that I used, drive west on State Highway 157 2.1 miles west of the Kyle Ranger Station to the fork in the road. The main highway curves left, so keep going straight (towards the right) onto Echo Canyon Road. Travel 0.35 miles on Echo Canyon Road and turn left at the fork, passing Echo Well No. 3. Make the first left after the well and drive into the large cleared area and find a place to park. You can set up a tent in the trees. On weekends this appears to be a popular camping area, and there is no fee to use this area.

I began the hike on the morning of Sept. 16. To get to the trailhead from the camping area, drive back to Echo Canyon Road and turn left. Travel 0.2 miles until the road curves toward the right, becoming Crestview Road. The trailhead and parking area for Trail Canyon Road is on the left side of the curve. I parked right in front of the trailhead and began hiking at about 6:50 am.

I hiked on Trail Canyon for 2.0 miles until it met the junction with the North Loop Trail. At this point, I turned left and hiked another 6.3 miles on North Loop Trail to the summit of Charleston Peak. I arrived at the summit of Charleston Peak at 11:11 am. I was the first person to reach the summit that day, but others were directly behind me and arrived at the summit a few minutes later. The weather was clear, warm and sunny, with moderate winds. I spent about 50 minutes on the summit, chatting with the people on the summit, taking pictures and signing the register book.

At noon I began my descent of the peak via the South Loop Trail. The trail is 8.3 miles long and travels from the Cathedral Rock Picnic Area to the summit of Mount Charleston. I hiked down this trail, reaching the saddle junction to the spur to the summit of Griffith Peak after about four miles. The spur to the summit of Griffith Peak is relatively short, so I hiked to the summit of Griffith Peak (11,180 feet) to bag my second peak of the day. There is also a register book on top of Griffith Peak, as well as a large cairn. I highly recommend that hikers who ascend Charleston Peak also ascend Griffith Peak, as this adds only about 45 minutes to your overall hiking time. There are great views of Charleston Peak and Mummy Mountain from this point.

Upon returning to the saddle junction, I resumed my hike down the South Loop Trail to the Cathedral Rock Picnic Area. I stopped here to get something to eat and drink, and then resumed the rest of my hike on pavement. I hiked through the picnic area to State Road 157, then hiked along the highway to Echo Canyon Road, then turned left on Echo Canyon Road and hiked back to my vehicle. I arrived at my vehicle at about 5:00 pm.

This was a thoroughly satisfying hike because I completed a loop circumnavigation of Charleston Peak, and added the summit of another peak over 11,000 feet to boot. The weather was perfect - clear, dry, and sunny, neither too hot nor too cold with little or no wind except directly on the summits of the peaks. This was my second Nevada county high point.

(Mileages in this report are obtained from literature that I acquired at the Kyle Ranger Station).