Cathedral Rock Trail

#2 of 221 trails in Toiyabe National Forest

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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.

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.

From the Mirage on Las Vegas Boulevard (the Strip) go north 1.5 miles and turn west (left) onto Sahara. In less than one mile, turn north (right) onto I-15. Take I-15 two miles to US 95 north. Take US 95 north 14 miles to State Route 157. Go left on 157, drive past the hairpin turn, and turn right into Cathedral Rock Picnic Area. The signed trailhead is on the west (right) side of the road, less than 100 yards beyond the fee booth. The entrance fee is eight dollars per car. Parking is available across from the trailhead; however, it will full on weekends. Alternative parking is located on State Route 157 about a half-mile past the hairpin turn on the west side of the road. Theres no parking fee here. A restroom is located at the alternative trailhead. Do NOT park in no parking zones. You will get an expensive ticket.
Walk south on the road into the signed Cathedral Rock Picnic Area and continue a few hundred yards to the signed trailhead.

Limited parking. $8 per car if you park inside of Cathedral Rock Picnic Area.
If you park outside of Cathedral Rock Picnic Area, there's no fee.
There's a restroom and Mt. Charleston Lodge is just down the road a few hundred yards.

None.

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4 Completed 2 Reviews

Cathedral Rock Trail is closed, due to fire.

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15 Completed 3 Reviews

I heard that this trail is closed due to the fire last year.

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10 Completed 2 Reviews

Great hike. Prepare yourself though because you're pretty much climbing the whole wa y. Enjoy!

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8 Completed 4 Reviews

View is great! Short, nice hike. Some lengthy inclines on part on your way up but not difficult.

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5 Completed 4 Reviews

this was a great hike to spend a few hours on... we went up to start tackling some of the trails on the mountain and to get out of the valley's heat of the summer. the trail was pretty well kept and it sort of surprised me (pleasantly) to see the change in types of foliage as we ascended. haven't been out hiking or keeping up on the fitness much this year so tackling this trail was a bit more strenuous than it should have been but the view was worth every moment and the feeling of accomplishment was great at the end. even with numerous stops on the way up and a short lunch taking in the view we completed the trip right about on time with what the trail head states. definitely will head to this trail again...

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James Gallagher

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27 Completed 13 Reviews

W O W the view from the top is AWESOME. This is my favorite of the three I did that weekend.There is a 15 minute "guided tour" podcast which can be downloaded to make the hike more interesting. Unfortunately I could not get it down loaded at the traihead. I will do it in advance next time.

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12 Completed 10 Reviews

Great trail with great views throughout. It is an easy trail with a few spots where a bit of moderate climbing over rocks is required. The trail is very well maintained and you will not get lost. Beautiful little flowers and butterflies are everywhere. We also took a peak at the "waterfall". It was great to get away from the 100+ degree weather in Vegas and the view at the top was worth it.

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6 Completed 6 Reviews

For the first hike I have done in Vegas, it was strenuous. But otherwise a fun and beautiful hike. Well worth the work to get to the top. Once at the top a great veiw of all the area.

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6 Completed 4 Reviews

It was a nice hike. Not very long but the elevation climb gave us a workout.

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10 Completed 10 Reviews

This is a beautiful trail!!! *****WARNING***** when you get to the top make sure your dog is on a leash. I got to the top with my dog who was very well trained, and a service companion dog. She saw a chipmunk ran after it and went straight down to her death from the top of the peak!!!!!! Worse day of my life.

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