Cathedral Rock Trail

#4 of 221 trails in Toiyabe National Forest
Cathedral Rock Trail is a 3 mile out and back trail located in Mt. Charleston, Nevada, which is only 35 miles from Las Vegas, Nevada. It's one of the most popular trails in Mt. Charleston.

3.0 miles Out & Back 900 feet
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From the signed trailhead the trail starts in a westward direction at a slight grade. It winds through thick patches of aspens and evergreens before passing by the alternative trail. The trail turns south and heads toward the magnificent Echo Cliffs. The Cliffs have a sheer drop of almost 1,000 feet. As the trail snakes to the west of Echo Cliffs, a side trail leads to a small seep. Water flows from the seep in the spring.

Once past Echo Cliffs, the trail heads west and the grade becomes steeper as it makes its way across a slope. As you traverse the slope, you can see the destruction an avalanche can wreak on a mountain. Many trees and boulders are still misplaced by an avalanche that happened years ago.

The trail flattens out as it heads toward the backside of Cathedral Rock. This is the easiest and most enjoyable part of the trail, a cakewalk through a forest, and you forget that you're 8,000 feet above sea level.

Save your energy for the last quarter mile of the trail-it's steep. When the trail divides, go right on the unmarked footpath. About a half-dozen switchbacks leads to the top of Cathedral Rock. The view becomes more spectacular with every step. On the far NE side there's a place to sit and admire the view. Mt. Charleston Lodge lies 1,000 feet below and farther to the east you can see the desert floor. To the north is Mummy Mountain; to the NW is Mary Jane Falls, and to the west is Charleston Peak.

If you eat lunch, you may have a visitor or two. This is the only place in the world you'll have the opportunity to see the Palmer Chipmunk. As hard as it is, resist feeding them. By feeding them they become dependent on humans for their food. In the winter the chipmunks must rely on their food-gathering skills or perish. Watch children closely at the top; the drop-offs are more than 500 feet at the edges. Railings have been erected, but they seem to entice people to climb down to them.

Lala Atuatasi

4 Completed4 Reviews

Maria France C.

It was a hard trail for a beginner! The elevation was taking my breath away ! But the journey to the top was pretty amazing! And the reward of the beautiful view once your at the top was just sinply amazing!

Heather McCourt

26 Completed15 Reviews

Jennifer Aleman

6 Completed4 Reviews

The trail was pretty easy, up hill most of the way up but coming down is a breeze! The view is amazing when you are at the peak!

Rony Estrada

2 Completed1 Reviews

Heather Rose

1 Completed1 Reviews

Weather was perfect (lots of clouds; 77F) which made the hike a good workout on the way up and relaxing jog on the way down just as it started raining

Brad Dixon

2 Completed1 Reviews

Rebecca Isselin

1 Completed1 Reviews

Gerard Bonfils

50 Completed43 Reviews

I hiked to Cathedral rock a day after going to Charleston Peak via the Trail Canyon trail; this was a way for me to "cool down" progressively after a fairly taxing climb to the peak for my 60 years old legs.

The ratio of difficulty to rewards certainly makes this hike a must do for those visiting the Mt Charleston area. You will likely not be alone on the trail as Cathedral rock if understandably the most popular hike around Kyle Canyon; however the trail is well maintained enough and the 'summit' is wide enough to accommodate a sustained stream of visitors.

The views are many and stunning (view of the "rock" itself as you go up, of the "Mummy" to the North, of the South canyon walls, of Kyle Canyon in its entirety, of Charleston Peak to the West... so much in such a short walk).

Should I return to Kyle Canyon at some point, I will likely do this hike again. I would start early to avoid a bit of congestion and see the valley in the more interesting morning light.

Cynthia Murff

29 Completed7 Reviews

Hike is now open. All up hill with a beautiful view of the Mt. Charleston valley. Short trail with a rewarding view.

Surrounding hikes (Little falls, Echo, and Griffith) seem to still be closed from the fire.