A short climb along tree-lined, lush nice trail to an incredible bird’s eye view.
Near: Las Vegas, NV
Distance: 3 miles round trip
Elevation Gain: 1200 ft
Hike Time: 2 hours
Trail Condition: Well maintained trail
Hike Type: Out and Back
Wow – talk about a great payoff for minimal effort. Hard to decide which is the best feature of this hike: fairly level, wide gravel trail; lush wildflowers blooming along both sides of the trail in purples, whites, yellows, and reds; sun filtering through the dense aspens with deer moving in the shadows; a 3 tiered waterfall (spring) halfway up and 100 yards off the trail; piped spring with cold water rushing under the turn (right at the fork) to Cathedral Rock itself; or the incredible view from the top of this majestic, multi-hued rock jutting over the little town of Mt. Charleston.
Although this is a very short, easy hike; there is a fairly short, steep climb up switchbacks the final 1/4 mile before the peak. Hiking poles can help. Do not take small children, people/dogs afraid of heights or edges out onto the peak. They can stay back on the main trail where it is still lovely and has nice views of Echo cliffs & surrounding peaks. The trail on the L at the fork turns into game paths.
I-15 N from Las Vegas to 95 N towards Reno, W on SR 157 (Mt. Charleston – Kyle Canyon) continue past the hotel, past the USFS ranger station, past Echo Road and continue past the hairpin curve to the left. Shortly past the hairpin curve, look for the Echo parking area (stairs and restroom bldg) on the right side of the road.
This is a free parking area and if you park here, go up the steps and take the trail to the Left. This is a nice 1/4 mile path that meets and joins the main rock-lined path leading from the Cathedral Rocks picnic area. If you don’t mind paying the fee to park, continue past this parking area into the Cathedral Rocks picnic area, park and begin the trail from here.
If you do park inside the picnic area, you’ll need to return to your vehicle before the park closes for the evening. Parking inside the picnic area actually adds 1/2 mile to this hike distance but is not as steep as the shorter route from the Echo parking area. (Lat:36.25771 Lon:-115.64932)