57°F
weather icon Clear

Kyle Canyon hikes present reprise from summer heat

An excellent way to escape our oppressive summer heat is by heading up to Kyle Canyon in the Mount Charleston area of the Spring Mountains National Recreation Area. You can expect temperatures to be about 20 degrees cooler than in Pahrump, and there are plenty of trails to hike under the nearly ideal conditions.

One of my favorite short hikes is to the top of Cathedral Rock. The trail is less than three miles round-trip with an elevation gain of about 950 feet, which makes it moderately strenuous. One of its few negatives is that it starts at an elevation of about 7,600 feet. That means city dwellers of Southern Nevada might find the hike feels more strenuous and tiring than an equivalent distance would be at their accustomed elevations of 2,000 feet or so.

Nor is it a good hike to bring children or anyone afraid of heights. Once at the summit there are extreme dropoffs and people have fallen here. But to the courageous and careful, the extreme dropoffs also offer unobstructed, magnificent views.

The well-worn trail starts off in a thickly-wooded forest of ponderosa pines and white fir. Soon you will be walking through Mazie Canyon and a chute scoured of timber by many an avalanche, but now boasting a healthy stand of aspen trees. Once you reach the far side of the avalanche chute, look for the short spur trail on your left which takes you to the base of a series of seasonal waterfalls. Unless it has recently rained, during summer there is just a trickle of water, but it is a pleasant place to rest just the same.

Continuing back on the trail you will make a steady climb up the chute and behind Cathedral Rock itself.

Before the trail reaches a saddle you will come to a fork; stay to the right. The trail makes a slight dip and you will cross over a small stream. After this you will start a series of switchbacks which bring you up the west side of Cathedral Rock. The trail then swings north to the summit and overlook.

If the hike didn’t take your breath, the views will. Almost directly below you can see the Mount Charleston Lodge and numerous private residences. Looking east down Kyle Canyon Road you can see all the way to a portion of the Sheep Mountains. To the north you can see Mount Charleston Peak, towering to 11,918 feet and the highest peak in the Spring Mountains.

There is no gasoline available in Kyle Canyon so be sure to fill up before leaving the urban area. But if you forgot that picnic lunch you can get meals and beverages at the Mount Charleston Lodge and Mount Charleston Resort, both conveniently located to furnish the famished hiker some well-earned calories.

Deborah Wall is the author of “Base Camp Las Vegas, Hiking the Southwestern States,” “Great Hikes, A Cerca Country Guide,” and co-author of “Access For All, Touring the Southwest with Limited Mobility.” Wall can be reached at Deborabus@aol.com.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
THE LATEST
Movie bar opening in Pahrump

K7 Bed and Breakfast announced is opening a movie bar in Pahrump, the business announced this week.

Nightmare Before Christmas to take over Petrack Park in Pahrump

Residents all across the valley, get ready to celebrate the holiday season with a first-time, brand new community event, the Nightmare Before Christmas Party in the Park.

Divas on a Dime: Puff pastry palmiers offer versatile holiday baking

Puff pastry is a freezer staple year-round, but I find myself using it constantly during holiday season. Its ease is matched only by its versatility. I’m sharing a technique for making palmiers that’s so easy it’s a perfect treat to make with your kids. Or if you’re like me it’s a perfect shortcut to making people think you’re an expert on French pastry.

Divas on a Dime: Get all the goodness from your turkey with stock

If you have a turkey carcass in your refrigerator today (and who doesn’t?) you’re going to want to get all the goodness you can from it. Right? So, let’s make a rich stock. But can we say “frame” instead of carcass? Because I don’t think the word “carcass” is remotely appetizing.

Silver Tappers to host 29th Annual Christmas Benefit Show in Pahrump

Thanksgiving has come to a close and the Christmas season is officially underway, meaning it’s that time of year again for the Nevada Silver Tappers’ annual Christmas Benefit Show fundraiser, which is being held for an incredible 29th time this year.

Divas on a Dime: Top 10 tips for a low stress, low-cost Thanksgiving

OK, folks! We’ve got less than two weeks until The Big Day. If you’re hosting this most food-centric holiday, you know it can get expensive and be very stressful. I’m going on 30 years of making Thanksgiving dinner for my family and friends. Have I had turkey-tastrophies? Of course! But I’ve learned from my mistakes and get better every year. So, I’d like to humbly share some advice.