Las Vegas Day Trip: Winter on Mount Charleston

Your guide to this charming mountain retreat.

Las Vegas may be an oasis of sparkling lights, gambling and entertainment in the Mojave Desert, but beyond the Las Vegas Strip is a winter wonderland ready for you to explore.

Winter Day Trip From Las Vegas to Mount Charleston

Located just 35 miles from the city is Mt. Charleston, an outdoor destination with an abundance of winter weather activities that may just surprise you. Let us "snow" you the way.

That’s Snow Good

Before heading to Mt. Charleston, check the weather and road conditions. No one wants to be stuck in a downpour of snow. Start your trek with a full tank of gas; there are no gas stations or convenience stores on the mountain. Ensure you bring the necessities in case of an emergency: tire chains, ice scraper, shovel, flashlight, sand for traction, jumper cables, cellphone with extra batteries and blankets. It is also a good idea to pack food and drinks in the car and extra clothing.

Keep in mind that some winter activities may be closed due to weather conditions during the winter season. Road closures are also not uncommon. 

Check Your Vehicle for Winter Safety | WhereTraveler
Check Your Vehicle for Winter Safety (©NEONBRAND)

Frost Come, Frost Served

Anticipate high traffic volumes if you plan to visit on the weekend or on a holiday. Entry via major thoroughfares (Lee Canyon and Kyle Canyon Roads) is limited and will often reach capacity by 9 in the morning. Guests who have reservations at places like the Retreat on Charleston Peak or Lee Canyon Ski and Snow Resort are prioritized. Without reservations, be prepared for long wait times. We recommend planning your trip on a weekday or early in the morning on a weekend whenever possible. 

A Thick Blanket of Slow at Mount Charleston Las Vegas | WhereTraveler
A Thick Blanket of Slow at Mount Charleston (©NEONBRAND)

Snow Much Fun

With all the snow, you probably want to enjoy it. After all, tis the ski-son to be jolly! At Lee Canyon, the ski and snowboard resort at Mt. Charleston, there are more than 30 trails for beginners to advanced skiers, plus terrain parks for snowboarders. There are several options for entry. Day pass prices vary depending on the date but range from $60 - $70. An all-access season pass for adults is $570. Price includes unlimited access to Lee Canyon with no blackout dates. 

Friends Snowboarding | WhereTraveler
Friends Snowboarding (©Laura Corredor)

Snow and Tell

Mt. Charleston is the highest peak in Southern Nevada and the eighth-most prominent mountain in the United States. There are over 60 miles of picturesque trails up and around Mt. Charleston. Whether you are an expert hiker or a take-in-the-scenery walker, you are sure to find the right one for you with over two dozen trail options. Trail Guides are available at the Spring Mountain Visitor Center. Always check for weather conditions before your trip, as some trails may be closed during the winter season.

The Fletcher Canyon Trail is the perfect choice for those who want to take in the scenery without a lot of strenuous climbing. There are snow-capped trees, a slot canyon and a great view of Mummy Mountain, named for its similarity to a reclining Egyptian sarcophagus. Mary Jane Falls is another popular hike that is a bit more strenuous than the Fletcher Trail. It is a 3.9-mile hike round trip that will take you 1,000 feet high with a spectacular view of the Falls. There are also two caves at the base of the Falls that you can explore. 

Snow-Covered Hills on Mount Charleston Las Vegas | WhereTraveler
Snow-Covered Hills on Mount Charleston (©Kevin Ortiz)

License to Chill

The Retreat on Charleston Peak is located in the Spring Mountains National Recreation Area within five miles of Mt. Charleston. It is a cozy boutique hotel that is the perfect spot to rest and relax. Rooms with private mountain-view balconies are available, while some suite options include fireplaces. Free parking and WiFi are available, as well as a Concierge Desk to help you plan your day at Mt. Charleston.

Dining options include the Canyon Restaurant and Bar, which features American fare, including burgers, steaks and salads. There is also a children’s menu with favorites like chicken tenders and pizza. Enjoy live entertainment while drinking your favorite beverage at the bar on Friday nights. 

Winter Weather on Mount Charleston Las Vegas | WhereTraveler
Winter Weather on Mount Charleston (©Jay Cruz)

Ice to Meet You, Mr. Snowman

If you have never experienced laying in the snow and flapping your arms to make a snow angel or building a snowman, this is your chance to do it! Mt. Charleston has an average of 240 inches of snow each winter, enough to make an army of snowmen and then some! If you feel a little feistier, form some snowballs and have a family fun snowball fight.  

The best part about Mt. Charleston and visiting Las Vegas is that you have the option to leave the snow behind when you are done and be back to the shiny Strip in an hour.