Quick getaway to Nevada’s Mt. Charleston
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Weekend Escape to Mt. Charleston, Nevada

Quick getaway to Nevada’s Mt. Charleston

Mt. Charleston, named after the 11,916-foot Charleston Peak, is just 45 minutes from the Las Vegas Strip but typically 20 to 30 degrees cooler. Pine trees, wildflowers and waterfalls are found here, as are expensive vacation homes.

 (Anne Burke)
Quick getaway to Nevada’s Mt. Charleston

The butterfly-roofed building to the left as you head up Mt. Charleston is the U.S. Forest Service’s fun and informative Spring Mountains Visitor Gateway, where you can get information on hiking trails and free, ranger-guided programs.

 (U.S. Forest Service)
Quick getaway to Nevada’s Mt. Charleston

The exhibit gallery at the U.S. Forest Service’s Spring Mountains Visitor Gateway is chock-full of information about diverse plant life at Mt. Charleston, from sagebrush and Joshua trees at lower elevations to gnarly limbed bristlecone pines -- possibly the world’s oldest living organisms -- at higher elevations.

 (U.S Forest Service)
Quick getaway to Nevada’s Mt. Charleston

Flower baskets add splashes of cheer to the wood deck at Mt. Charleston Lodge Restaurant, which offers belly-filling fare for hungry hikers and a killer view of the windswept peak of Mummy Mountain.

 (Anne Burke)
Quick getaway to Nevada’s Mt. Charleston

The aesthetic at the restaurant at Mt. Charleston Lodge is country cowboy all the way, with wagon-wheel chandeliers, a 20-foot A-frame ceiling and guitar-picking crooners on weekends.

 (Anne Burke)
Quick getaway to Nevada’s Mt. Charleston

Cathedral Rock Trail at Mt. Charleston switchbacks across a steep avalanche slope, through forests of aspen, pine and fir, to an 8,599-foot summit with sweeping views of the canyon and desert floor near Las Vegas. The hiker is John Schlosser of San Diego.

 (Anne Burke)
Quick getaway to Nevada’s Mt. Charleston

The Mary Jane Falls trail is a 1.5-mile (one way) thigh burner, but worth the effort for the awe-inspiring limestone cliffs. Much easier trails are abundant, as are roadside picnic tables.

 (Anne Burke)
Quick getaway to Nevada’s Mt. Charleston

The rustic restaurant at Mt. Charleston lodge, perched on the side of a canyon at 7,700 feet, features a 20-foot A-frame ceiling, wagon-wheel chandeliers and a sun-splashed deck.

 (Anne Burke)
Quick getaway to Nevada’s Mt. Charleston

Perched at 7,700 feet, the rustic restaurant at Mt. Charleston Lodge offers belly-filling fare for hungry hikers. A local craft beer pairs well with the beer-battered haddock and seasoned fries.

 (Anne Burke)
Quick getaway to Nevada’s Mt. Charleston

In the 1950s, thrill seekers gathered on the forested slopes near the Desert View Overlook (pictured) to watch the fireballs and mushroom clouds of atomic bombs detonated at the Nevada Test Site, in the barren desert below.

 (Anne Burke)
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