Tag Archives: Hiking outside Las Vegas

Calico Basin – Kraft Mountain Loop Trail

Whenever my husband and I go to Las Vegas, we like to take some time out to hike. Sometimes we travel to the Valley of Fire or Mount Charleston, and other times we might plan day trips to Bryce Canyon, the Grand Canyon, or Mount Zion. If we are not in a traveling mood, we go to Red Rock and usually tool around on the rocks in the Calico Basin.

Now, until this last trip, I had no idea that the Kraft Mountain Loop trail was so incredibly beautiful and worth the hike. You do not have to pay to hike this trail. You can park in the nearby lot and walk to the trailhead, but you will have to climb upward a good distance to get to the good stuff.

Once you hike Hell Hill – yes, that is what they call it, you will have a choice of a few different routes to take. You can either hike upward and rock scramble, or you can head out and downward making sure to follow the trail as it heads to the right, which is Kraft Mountain Loop. This will start you off on some amazing scenery. You will go through shelf caverns and there will be plenty of opportunities for photo shoots and to climb up and down the rocks as you go.

This hike is a 3.1-mile loop and it is absolutely worth it. The hardest part is climbing up Hell Hill. As you go along, if you come to an opening on the trail and meet a ten-foot drop down between large boulders, there once was a rope there to help hikers safely climb down, but if the rope is gone, back-track briefly and loop around to your left; you will find an easier passageway to maneuver.

As you go you might see some wildlife, and you will most definitely see people climbing all over the place. We did this hike in mid-November and the weather was perfect. We also went in mid-afternoon and were able to view the sun as it began to descend below the mountains, which created some great photos. I will definitely do this hike again.

For more information on Kraft Mountain Loop, please check out the below website:

Kraft Mountain Loop Hiking Trail, Summerlin South, Nevada (hikingproject.com)

Visiting Mt. Charleston

A visit to Las Vegas, Nevada does not have to be all about the casinos and the crazy night life. You can also plan other daytime activities such as hiking and exploring the mountains around Las Vegas. Mt. Charleston is a wonderful place to day-trip to, or even stay for a while. The views on this mountain are very different from Red Rock Canyon and are very much worth checking out.

My husband, Neal, and I, have visited this particular area many times. We love to hike and wander the trails of the mountain as well as stay at the Resort on Mount Charleston. This resort is quite rustic and pretty comfortable, though a little bit dated. Dependent on the time of year it may also be very quiet. I love how this resort has such wonderful views of the surrounding mountains. The altitude here is much higher than Las Vegas, so the air is quite a bit cooler and can make for a nice getaway in the heat of the summer.

If you like waterfalls, there is a waterfall hike at Mt. Charleston called Mary Jane Falls. Certain times of year are much better for the waterfall; you would want to go earlier in the year, maybe April, rather than midway through summer. Even if you aren’t there during peak waterfall time, the hikes are beautiful and relaxing. On one such hike I got separated from my group and happened across a photo opportunity that I still love looking at, to this day. The picture is of a single tree, illuminated by the sun, on a cliff looking out at storm clouds over the desert. The photograph was a great take away from that particular trip. You will see many great photo opportunities while hiking Mt. Charleston.

The Resort on Mount Charleston is a great place to relax after hiking. They have a great restaurant on location, as well as a bar that serves food. You can have your wedding ceremony and reception at the resort if you so choose. I also considered Mt. Charleston as a wedding location; it would have provided beautiful scenery for saying our vows. If you want a little romance, a pet friendly room, a ski package, or a hiking package, check out their special offers. Every now and then I will see a Groupon deal for the Resort on Mount Charleston; this is a great way to try the place out and see how you like it before committing to a longer stay.

If the Resort on Mount Charleston isn’t for you, there is also a lodge on the same street. I have not stayed at the lodge, but perhaps one day soon I will check it out. I have provided their website below.

For more information on the Mt. Charleston area, please visit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Charleston

https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/nevada/mary-jane-falls-trail

http://www.mtcharlestonresort.com/mount-charleston-nevada/mt-charleston-lodge-packages/mount-charleston-hotel-vacation-packages.php

http://mtcharlestonlodge.com/