McWilliams Campground is located in the Spring Mountains National Recreation Area, just 50 miles from downtown Las Vegas. Visitors enjoy Mt Charleston camping, hiking, mountain biking and scenic driving in this forested desert oasis.
Hiking and mountain biking are popular activities on the 6.2-mile Bristlecone Trail. Upper and lower trailheads are located just above and below the campground. The 1.3-mile Sawmill Trail begins about four miles below the campground just off Highway 156.
This campground contains several single and double-family sites with picnic tables, grills and campfire rings. Flush and vault toilets, drinking water and trash collection are provided. Roads and parking spurs are paved.
The Spring Mountains National Recreation Area is a beautiful island in the desert, brimming with breathtaking scenery and diverse flora and fauna. The Bristlecone pine, the world's oldest organism, and the rare Mount Charleston blue butterfly are both found within the Spring Mountains.
More than 100 springs create the namesake for the mountain range, making it an ideal place to escape the heat of the city.
The campground is situated in a scenic Ponderosa and white pine forest, which offers partial shade. The area affords breathtaking views of the surrounding Spring Mountains.
More than 60 miles of hiking and horseback riding trails crisscross the area. Rock climbing, picnicking and scenic driving are popular activities.
The Spring Mountains Visitor Center in Kyle Canyon offers guided hikes and educational and evening programs. Interpretive displays provide information on local plants, animals and history.
ADA Access: N
Mount Charleston itself is quite sparse in trees but the few high pines shade the campgrounds below. The air is nice and fresh although the air can be more thin than accustomed to so take breaks on hikes.
The campground is managed well and ranges from busy to vacant. No river running through.
Very clean camp grounds. Reserved 2 spots mid week and had a blast. So many hiking trails around the area. Loved getting out of the Vegas heat for couple of days. Would definitely go back .
Just went here for my first time and I love it. Scenery is beautiful, it’s a lot cooler than down in the city(which was nice to get away from the heat), and it was clean. I think next time I’ll definitely reserve a spot I want because it was a little packed.
This place has great campsites and friendly staff. The bathrooms are clean. Your just a few minutes away from Lee Canyon Resort and about 20 minutes from the Mt Charleston Lodge.
Lots of sites here. Nicely spaced out. Camp hosts are nice. We go here every year.
Clean, well manicured restrooms! Nicely spaced from other campers. Beautiful and lots of wildlife.
The camp host was great. He helped us find the very last site on the mountain. We came with no reservations during the week. Sites are clean, with concrete pads, bbq’s, pedestals, and nice fire pits. Very well kept, bathrooms were very clean and had heaters for colder months. I believe it was recently redone.
This is now a combination of the old dolomite and McWilliams's sites. What an improvement! Each site has a fire ring, picnic table, flat and level area for tent/parking, and easy access to toilets. A great trailhead is at the top of the dolomite area. Prime time on this trail is actually dusk as there are large colonies of various bats that roost near. Wonderful to watch them against a fading sky. The camp can get noisy on weekends, and lots of little ones so if families are not your cup of tea then this mountain probably isn't going to suit you. The trails are awesome, and of varying degree of skill required to traverse the area. The summer days provide ample light for exploring all day. If you are mobile, don't miss cathedral falls which is a short drive and hike away. Two of the nearby camps are closed for similar improvements and if course, hilltop is open and has showers.
You can take that heat from Vegas and completely forget you are in Nevada when you travel just outside the city and to McWilliams Campground and Mount Charleston area. But because of this break in the heat all summer you have to make reservations, even though they say there are walk up sites I wouldn't suggest banking on them to be there.
This campground is dry camping but with the setting of the mountains it hardly seems like any kind of inconvenience. There is a nice bathroom facility here without showers but plenty good for enjoying this place it is heated which makes for a lot better user experience especially I assume during winter months.
When I was there I saw a lot of RVs and Tents alike all pulled into spots and comfortable. While I didn't seem boxed in and overcrowded I did speak to someone who said when it is filled with more RVs it tends to get a little claustrophobic feeling.
Sleeping in a tent here I noticed that I could hear my neighbors pretty easily until around 11 p.m. after that it got pretty quiet and short of a few animal noises here and there it was silent. Temperatures dipped considerably at night so even though it was summer, in a tent I was finding I needed a little more cover than expected and pulled out the sleeping bag for some warmth.
Something I loved about this site was the set up for campers with the fire ring and table. The slab around the ring gives you a flat surface if you have camp chairs and also allows you do better manage your space and keep debris out of your fire.
- Bring a light or headlamp. Not sure if it really doesn't have light or if it was just burned out, I didn't check again, but the bathroom was dark at night so you want to have a way to see.
- Bring Cash or Check they didn't accept cards for the $25 nightly fee.
When we want a camping retreat ans a break from the Vegas heat, McWilliams Campground is definately the choice. I can honestly say, for being a desert, we’ve got a pretty great camping spot here.
While I love the outdoors and ‘roughing it,’ I have my limits, and plumbing is where I draw the line. I will camp wherever a good site is, but if there aren’t functional toilets, I’ll pass. Thus the reason McWilliams was such a great find. Not only do they have restrooms, they also have potable water and the campground pads each have a flattened base for tent setup, and a concrete pad with grill, stove stand, picnic bench and fire pit.
I have a full review and recap of our camping experience at McWilliams here: https://www.nvilloria.com/single-post/2017/10/06/Camping-Retreat-in-Vegas