When in Las Vegas….Hike Mt. Charleston

by DanicasDaily on June 25, 2012

For our last day in Las Vegas, we decided to get out of the desert heat and head up to Mount Charleston for a hike.  The lady who gave me my pedicure at the Spa Costa Del Sur recommended a day trip to the mountain because it is 20-30 degrees cooler than in the city and the mountain range is beautiful.

Mt. Charleston is 11,916 feet high, but, most of the day hiking trails are around 7,000-8,000 feet above sea level.  I think it would be fun to camp or stay at the Mt. Charleston Lodge for a day just to get away from it all. 


Before heading out for our hike we fueled up with a big breakfast.

Scrambled egg, 2 slices center cut bacon, Western potatoes “fried” in nonstick spray and watermelon (5 points+).


Mt. Charleston is actually only about a 35 minute drive from downtown Las Vegas.  The drive up the Scenic By-Way is absolutely beautiful.


It starts off with small hills looking very desert like…..


Then, gets greener and greener as you drive up the mountain.


We stopped by the visitors center to get a map of the hiking trails and to decide our action plan.  The lady at the front recommended a few “short” day hikes, stopping by the Desert Outlook and heading down the opposite side of the mountain we came up.

We packed a couple of frozen waters and fruit…..


Then, hit Fletcher Canyon trail for a 3.6 mile “moderate” hike.


I am just going to say it now ~ the guides definition of “easy to moderate” is way different than ours.  The trail starts off nice enough but the further you go, the more intense it gets.


The air is so clean and refreshing ~ the pine trees and smell totally make me think of camping.


The trail has a combination of different types of desert like trees as well as pine trees.


I am not sure what this tree is called by I was calling it the curly cue tree Open-mouthed smile


Several of the trees that have fallen along the trail from when it snows, have this cool pattern on them.  I am not sure if it is from the bark, the snow or a bug, but, it looks neat.


After about 3/4 of a mile, the trail turns into more of a rocky hike.  This is where I am guessing you get to the “moderate” part.


The views as you hike along Fletcher Canyon are incredible.  You see the Spring Mountains the entire time.


The trail leads you into the middle of the mountains.


I took this picture of The Husband just to show the context of how big the mountains really are….it really is breathtaking to see and experience.


The trail does get a bit narrow and rocky.  This is the point that I was like what part of this is “easy to moderate”. LOL.  It totally requires hiking books and poles, not just tennis shoes for sure.


It also gets cooler as you get closer to the waterfall.  There are a bunch of different flowers growing off the mountains too.


Mountain Butterflies Open-mouthed smile


The mountain valley view from the highest point we hiked to around 8,500 feet.

We spent about 3.5 hours +/- on the trail.  When we got back to our car we snacked on some JoJo’s Teriyaki Beef Jerky. (2 points+ a slice)


Plus I had 2 handfuls, about 1 oz of our Golden Corn Nuggets to tide me over as we drove down the other side of the mountain (3 points+).


We drove in on I-95 and drove home on Hwy 157/158.  I highly recommend driving on both since it is only a difference of 10 miles and the view is spectacular.


The road takes you to the Desert View Overlook where you walk out about 800 feet.


The view is amazing ~ I wish my camera could capture it all ~ the colors are similar to the Grand Canyon reds with white, green and dessert sand/trees.


Our entire trip took maybe 5-6 hours and it was definitely worth it to get away.  We both agreed we would go back to hike some of the other trails and maybe one day might brave the 10+ mile hike to the top to see the 1955 Plane Crash Site.


We stopped for lunch at the Whole Foods off Charleston and built these huge salads.  I pretty practically every vegetable in my bowl plus a Lemon Kale Salad (on the right). 

I never knew that Whole Foods had an oil free “diet” Italian ~ It was tangy, sweet and a little red vinegar like. (5 points+ estimate for my salad).


We jumped in the pool to cool off and as soon as we got back into town.  After packing up our bags for our early morning flight, we headed out to dinner at Kaizen Fusion Roll & Sushi.


We both started off with Miso Soup (2 points+).


Then, their garden salads with a Sesame Carrot Ginger dressing (2 points+)


I have never been to a place that has 10 places of custom made sushi rolls to choose from.  There were so many things I wanted to try.

We started with Spicy Crispy Rice Tuna bites that were seriously freakin’ amazing.

Spicy tuna on top of sticky rice that was crispy on the bottom, then, they finished the bites with fresh jalapeno slices, sriracha, sesame seeds and ponzu sauce. (2 points+/each).


The Husband ordered a teriyaki beef bowl that was pretty tasty too.  I LOVE that they serve it with crispy, fresh veggies.


I ordered the Kiss of Fire Roll ~ totally fresh, clean, spicy and with all the right textures and tastes.


Crab, avocado, cucumber topped with spicy tuna, white fish, fresh jalapeno slices, sriracha and spicy garlic ponzu sauce.

Dipped in Wasabi and soy sauce ~ spicy good! (9 points+ for the entire roll).



  • 2,970 calories burned (I swear it was more!)
  • 13,633 steps taken
  • 34 daily points+

The End! We are actually heading home this morning for a day of relaxation before the work week starts.


Do you all want me to do a recap post of all the things to do while in Las Vegas from exhibits to shows to drives? 

We have tried to do something different every year we go to Las Vegas and I’d be glad to share in case any of you wanted some ideas for when you go to Vegas.

Happy Monday all!

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Nancy June 25, 2012 at 9:14 am

Beautiful pictures, Danica. Sounds like you had a Great Time!


Chris June 25, 2012 at 9:33 am

The designs on the tree trunk are caused from a variety of beetle. The beetles are very damaging to trees but really make cool designs. Your pictures are amazing. Glad you had fun.


K June 25, 2012 at 9:35 am

That sushi looks amazing!


Suzanne T June 25, 2012 at 10:00 am

I’d love a recap of all the things you did in Vegas! We are a part of Wyndham, too, and have stayed at the Grand Desert many times (we live in Bakersfield, so it’s about a 4-1/2 drive away). I had NO IDEA there was so much to do in Vegas! Both of our kids will be away at college this fall and a trip to Vegas with the hubs sounds like a nice way to commemorate the occasion. Thanks for all the great ideas!


Kim @ Living, Laughing & Losing June 25, 2012 at 11:20 am

Looks like you’re having beautiful weather!


Robyn @ Blueberries and Oats June 25, 2012 at 12:25 pm

Way to stay active on vacation and eat healthy!! You’re certainly a role model. ^_^ I would love to hear about all the Vegas things you’ve done since it’s a place I’ve never been but will certainly go in my lifetime.


Kathy June 26, 2012 at 6:36 am

I was in LV in May and we went to Mount Charleston. Beautiful and also much cooler as it was hitting the 100 degree mark.


Teri June 26, 2012 at 9:03 am

Danica, Thank you so much for all the great tips on LV. We are heading there in September for our 24 Anniversary and our first year as empty nesters!


Jackie June 26, 2012 at 4:35 pm

The Whole Foods in the northeast have what has become my FAVORITE dressing. It’s a fat free balsamic from Cindy’s Kitchen. Our local Fresh Market sells it, too. I use it in grain salads and sandwiches and all sorts of stuff. So tangy!


James R. Caballero, DC January 16, 2013 at 3:08 pm

So far, of all the maps and hiking information about Mt. Charleston and other hiking areas in the Vegas area, yours was the most productive. Thanks for sharing.


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