Mount Charleston - Bristlecone Trail

Highlights: Rugged stands of Bristlecone Pines, bikes allowed but no horses on this section
Near: Las Vegas, NV
Scenery:
Distance: 4 miles
Elevation Gain: 860 feet
Hike Time: 2.5 hours
Difficulty: Moderate
Trail Condition: Well maintained trail
Hike Type: Out and Back

Summary: This trail begins in a nicely forested area with white fir and large aspen, and climbs until you reach the rugged, exposed upper slopes with bristlecone pines. The trail is easy to follow for both hikers and bikes, with many spots along the trail to stop and admire the view. Be sure and look up at the ski slopes in Lee Canyon, you will often see wild horses grazing on the grass in late spring, summer, and fall. In my opinion, this is one of the easiest and most enjoyable hikes in the Spring Mtns. for beginners; not many steep climbs, nice views, plenty of trees, and the trail is very visible and can be easily followed, even with snow patches. The flexibility of this trail can be appreciated by all levels of hikers; tailor the hike to the type of terrain you enjoy. Instead of taking the upper and lower loop, I prefer to retrace this upper trail a few times until reaching the desired amount of exercise. Plenty of lunch spots along the trail, but no water to hike to.
Trailhead: I-15 N from Las Vegas to 95 N towards Reno, W on SR 156 (Lee Canyon) 17 1/4 miles into Lee Canyon until the road dead ends in the upper parking lot of Lee Canyon Ski Area. Do NOT park on the helipad for emergency helicopters. The trailhead for the upper or West Bristlecone trail is located in this parking lot. This trail is described as an out and back for the upper Bristlecone only (4 miles RT); however, combining the lower (east) Bristlecone and making a loop trail makes this a 6 mile RT. This also becomes a connector trail to the Bonanza trail. Bikes can do the upper/lower loop, but are not allowed on Bonanza trail. Horses must use the lower Bristlecone, and can continue on the Bonanza trail which eventually goes all the way to Cold Creek. Hikers and dogs are allowed on all of these trails. The upper trail is mostly under trees, while the lower Bristlecone is a wide, gravel road (abandoned WPA road). Both trails offer nice views of surrounding peaks. (Lat:[masked] Lon: [masked])

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  • Jon B.

    A bit slippery but still had a good time, the weather was beautiful

    November 18, 2013

  • Mary B.

    It's fine. It was too icy anyway.

    November 17, 2013

  • Mary B.

    So far it looks like only my husband and i and you have RSVP'd,

    1 · November 12, 2013

    • Mary B.

      Katie did you get a way to go the park and ride? Just wanted to know if you were still coming since it's just us, our dogs and you and your son.

      November 16, 2013

    • Katie

      SO sorry Mary!! I had my Alarm set for 6:45 and ended up going back to bed. I work nights and usually don't get off till 9:30 pm.

      November 17, 2013

  • Mary B.

    Waited at the park n ride but no one came except my husband and i, frustrating but it turned out to be too icy so only made it about a mile and had to turn back.

    November 16, 2013

  • Katie

    is there anyone in Henderson/Green Valley that would want to carpool? I don't mind driving, I have myself and my son in my truck and have 3 other seats open. if you would like to carpool, let me know, and work something out. :)

    November 12, 2013

  • Katie

    I work at 2:30, hoping there will be enough time to go and still make it to work. if not, anyone up to going Sunday? I currently have Sunday and Mondays off.

    November 11, 2013

    • Jon B.

      Yes there should be plenty of time

      November 11, 2013

  • Katie

    I'm in, is it hike able for my 8 yr. old? had it snowed yet? I don't have Chain's and still in need of 2 new front tires, I wouldn't want them to bust while up there, so If I could catch a ride with someone that would be great, I could spot gas. Last Question, Should we bring a packed lunch? Thank you.

    November 9, 2013

    • Mary B.

      Yes Katie it's hikeable for your 8 year. We did it with a couple before that had 2 kids 7 and 8. The snow is pretty much melted but there is a chance for it again but it wouldn't be so much you would need chains. You can google the ski and snowboard resort and there is a webcam on their site that you can see what it looks like and the beginning of the trail is at that resort. It will be cold though so have a jacket. This is an easy trail, no climbing and fairly short.

      1 · November 11, 2013

    • Mary B.

      Now there's no snow in the forecast but the high is in the 40's.

      1 · November 11, 2013

  • Jon B.

    This is a great hike for the new joins, it fun, relatively easy, and absolutely beautiful!

    November 7, 2013

  • Jay B.

    Would love to go, but I got other commitments on Saturday

    November 6, 2013

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