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CATHEDRAL ROCK OVERVIEW
Cathedral Rock at Mount Charleston is an out and back hike that offers plenty of views as well as a couple of cool points of interest along the way to the top.
Just under 3 miles long, this hike has a slight incline all the way up to the top with a combination of solid hiking paths and some scree sprinkled in to keep you on your toes.
On your way up to the top of Cathedral Rock, be sure to stop at the waterfall towards the start of the trail as well as keeping an eye out for the bent trees caused by the recent avalanche earlier this year.
Cathedral Rock Mt. Charleston
(This article was originally written in September of 2017 and has been updated as of June 2019)
Click here to read our article on Mt. Charleston Picnic Areas.
Click here to read our article on Cathedral Rock Picnic Area.
We typically run a track while hiking to give you the best data that we can but unfortunately the track didn’t record until we hit the waterfalls.
After backtracking and trying to add the missing distance from the track, the trip was about 2.7 miles but we’re going to say it was almost 3 miles to account for the margin of error.
Route Type: Out and back
Distance: nearly 3 miles round trip depending on how many side paths you take.
Starting Elevation: ~7,800′
Elevation Gain: ~800′
Elevation of Peak: ~8,600′
Hiking Time: 2 – 3 hours
Difficulty: Moderate due to the natural elevation of Mount Charleston and the steady incline all the way up to the peak.
Terrain: Easy to follow defined hiking trail with some stairs – no scrambling
Accessibility: March through November are optimum conditions to hike this trail, closed during winter months
Parking: There are two parking lots, the Upper Trailhead Parking Lot and the Lower Trailhead Parking Lot
Restrooms: Depending on where you park, there are several pit toilets in the parking lot
Cellular Service: Cell service is available most of the hike depending on which carrier you have. ATT and Verizon have good coverage on the trial.
Kid-Friendly: Yes, but watch the edges and loose rocks during parts of the hike.
Dog-Friendly: Yes but keep them leashed as there are a bunch of dogs on the trail.
Also, there are chipmunks on the trail so especially keep them on leashes if they like to chase animals.
HOW TO GET THERE
Directions: Take US-95 North from Las Vegas to State Highway 157/Kyle Canyon Road.
Turn left and follow the road to the Cathedral Rock parking area, which is approximately 100 yards prior to the Mt. Charleston Lodge (you’ll see the uphill road to the parking area directly ahead of you just prior to the lodge).
PERMITS AND FEES
Fees: Free to $6 per car, depending on where you park (if you park at the picnic area there is a fee)
Parking: There should be plenty of free parking just outside the gate in front of the pit toilets (otherwise there is a parking fee of $6 per car if you park at the picnic area).
Coordinates: not available at this time
WHAT TO TAKE
Water, approximately 2 liters is recommended
Snack or lunch to enjoy at the peak (watch out for those Palmer chipmunks!!!)
Views of Kyle Canyon from the peak
Picturesque views of fall foliage starting in September. During our September 2017 hike, the Aspen trees were starting to turn gold.
If you don’t have lunch at the peak, consider using one of the nearby picnic areas.
Cathedral Rock Flowers, Foliage, and Wildlife
On our September 2017 hike, we saw deer and Palmer Chipmunks, which are little beggars at the peak where hikers stop to snack
Cathedral Rock at Mt. Charleston Resources and References
Cathedral Rock Mt. Charleston
- I am a hiking enthusiast and not an expert, the information shared here is from my personal experiences and research.
- All distances, elevations, elevation gains, ratings, and times are approximate based on mobile apps, GPS data, Google Earth, and other references compiled as a resource.
- Click here to view my current hiking diary of other trails for reference.
I am an outdoor enthusiast who would rather be on a backcountry backpacking trip than a stroll on the beach (although I do love the beach!).
Living in Las Vegas has afforded me the opportunity to easily explore the Southwest region of the United States.
A nature lover, I am often found at the end of the pack taking photos and videos of the wildlife found on the trails. Colorful flowers, desert animals, and unusual geological rock formations are often the majority of my photos.