Spring Mountains National Recreation Area

Mt Charleston

LOCATION: The Spring Mountains are only a 30 minute drive from downtown Las Vegas. Take Highway 95 North from Las Vegas and turn left at the Mt Charleston exit. Managed by the U.S. Forest Service-Toiyabe National Forest this area encompasses roughly 316,000 acres.

HISTORY: Thousands of years ago, the Las Vegas valley was covered with numerous small lakes. During that time, plant species migrated across the low, wet terrain and colonized the Spring Mountains. The Lakes gradually disappeared and were replaced by the Mojave desert. The Spring Mountains were a part of a great ecosystem that, as the climate changed, were left behind as a unique desert island. It is unique to find forested mountains hemmed in by a desert. In fact, it is this unique setting that makes the Spring Mountains so valuable. It is their presence here in this harsh land that accentuates their importance as a haven for wildlife, a cool retreat for visitors to get away from the valley heat, a storehouse of forest resources and a vital watershed for the area.

CLIMATE: Temperatures in the summer months range approximately 20 degrees or more cooler than the valley below. Winter travel can be hazardous when snow begins to fall, usually in November, and many roads are no longer maintained.

ANIMAL LIFE: In addition to being a pleasant place to visit, camp, hike or hunt, these mountains support a variety of wildlife including deer, elk, wild turkey, mountain lion, wild horses and burros, desert bighorn sheep as well as several species of birds and butterflies and small animals such as the Palmer's chipmunk which can be found no where else in the world!

VEGETATION: Due to the various climatic zones located in the Spring Mountains you will find plants ranging from desert ycca plants and Joshue tress to Ponderosa pine, white fir and mountain mohogany as well as an extensive stand of Bristlecone Pines, which most authorities consider to be the world's oldest known living things.

TRAILHEADS of Mt Charleston: Click here for Trailhead information!

CAMP GROUNDS of Mt Charleston: Click here for Camp Ground information!

Return to Hunting Map-Fishing Map-Hiking Map-Watersports Map-Wintersports Map