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Acastus Trail at Mt. Charleston

Acastus Trail at Mt Charleston (1)

Acastus Trail at Mt. Charleston

Acastus Trail Overview

The Acastus Trail at Mt. Charleston is an easy trail that is well marked with signs and is good for all hiking skill levels.

The trail is named after the Spring Mountains Acastus Checkerspot Butterfly aka Chlosyne acastus, which is found only at Mt. Charleston and the Spring Mountains.

You can do this trail as an out and back or as a shuttle.

Since you pass through the campgrounds located on Mt. Charleston, you have the opportunity to take advantage of the bathrooms along the way.

The trail starts to the east of the Spring Mountain Visitor Gateway, which has plenty of parking for visitors and hikers. The visitor gateway opens at 9:00 AM so if you are planning on doing this hike and want to park at the visitor center, you will need to wait until they are open for visitors.

Be sure to go inside the visitor center before your hike to grab a map of the hiking trails at Mt. Charleston.


Distance: 3.5 miles

Hiking Time: Approximately 45 minutes one-way, most hikers will be able to enjoy the trail between 1.5 – 2 hours, depending on your pace.

Elevation Start: The elevation starts at approximately 7,600′

Elevation Gain: ~400′

Trail Information

Route Type: out and back

Route Terrain: mixed with a paved trail and rock path

Route Difficulty: easy

Acastus Trail at Mt Charleston (1)


Locals will hit Mt. Charleston in the summer as the temperatures can be 20 – 30 degrees cooler than the 100-degree days in Las Vegas. 

This particular trail is at a lower altitude and the temps are a little warmer than the trails higher up the mountain.

Click here to read more about Mt. Charleston Weather.

Best Time of Year to Hike

Ideally, spring and fall to enjoy the cooler weather. The trail is partially shaded.

View other popular hiking trails:

Best Time of Day to Hike

Depending on the season, early to mid-morning is best to avoid the heat.

RELATED ARTICLE >>> Hiking in the Heat, Tips to Stay Cool


The Acastus Trail at Mt. Charleston is perfect for children of any age.


This is the perfect trail for your pooch but remember, they must be on a leash at all times.

Click here to view dog poop bags to keep the trail free of waste.

Max Group Size

At this time, we are not aware of a limit to a group using this trail.

Water Sources

None on the trail.

This trail is easy and you should be okay with a liter of water during moderate weather.


There are multiple campgrounds located near this trail. Click here to read our article on Mt. Charleston Campgrounds.

What to Take

Food and Water: Since this is an easy hike, I recommend a liter of water each and maybe a small snack to enjoy along the hike.

Footwear: The terrain is not “technical” therefore a solid athletic shoe, hiking shoe, or hiking boot is appropriate. Or, you can be like my son and just wear flip flops to walk the trail.

Sun Protection: Always! The trail is partially shaded but there are places where you are exposed to the sun.

Places to Eat

You can either pack a picnic and enjoy one of the many places to sit outside and enjoy a meal or you can eat at one of the two restaurants on the mountain, Mt. Charleston Lodge or The Resort on Mount Charleston.

RELATED ARTICLE >>> Mt. Charleston Picnic Areas

Acastus Trail at Mt. Charleston

Sign transcription:

The Acastus Trail is an easy, accessible path through scenic Kyle Canyon. Interpretive exhibits tell stories of local geology and ecology.

If you go left:

The trail passes through a stand of majestic ponderosa pines and native shrubs. Enjoy the cooler temperatures in the dappled shadow of the trees. Watch the ground for rabbit scat, and listen for the high-pitched nasal call and laugh of the pinyon jay. When you reach Kyle Canyon Picnic Area, follow a meandering road until reach the next trail segment.

Distances and approximate walking times (at a leisurely pace)

Kyle Canyon Picnic Area – 0.15 mile / 4 minutes

Spring Mountain Visitors Gateway – 1.42 mile / 35 minutes

If you go right:

This cluster of buildings is Kyle Canyon Ranger Station, built by the CCC during the Great Depression. Interpretive exhibits just ahead tell the story. Beyond the Ranger Station, the trail continues to Fletcher View Campground.

Distances and approximate walking times (at a leisurely pace)

Fletcher View Campground – 0.23 mile / 6 minutes

Most of the trail is relatively level, except near the Spring Mountains Visitor Gateway, where the trail climbs about 150′ in a short distance.

Length: 1.6 miles one-way

Rating: Moderate (they rate it as moderate whereas our opinion it that is rated easy)

Hiking: 45 minutes one-way

Elevation: 7,600′ to 8,600′

Acastus Trail at Mt. Charleston