A short 45 minutes west of Las Vegas is a secluded national recreation area known as Mount Charleston. That’s right: in under an hour, you can trade the wretched desert heat for the crisp mountain air. At almost 12,000 feet, Mt. Charleston is the highest mountain in Nevada (and eighth highest in the contiguous U.S.), which means the temperatures are lower for your Mt. Charleston camping options.
Let Mt. Charleston Camping Melt Your Big City Woes
With hiking, biking, climbing, skiing, and many other recreational activities waiting for you, this destination is begging for your camping experience. It’s just past the popular Red Rock Canyon, but these mountains hold a beauty all their own. Check out our favorite locations for Mt. Charleston camping.
The old Dolomite and McWilliams campgrounds were renovated into one large McWilliams campground. Hiking and biking trails are nearby, as well as rock climbing. The campground features a variety of flora and fauna that you won’t see in the desert. Don’t forget to explore the grove of Bristlecone Pine, the oldest living organism in the world.
“We love camping at Mount Charleston in the summer! It provides the perfect break from the Vegas heat! McWilliams campground was renovated in 2015 featuring paved parking areas at each campsite. Bathrooms are modern but no showers. Lots of hiking available! We had a very small herd of wild mustangs go through our site! Very cool!” — The Dyrt camper Bonnie C.
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The Fletcher View campground is next to many of the mountain’s hiking and biking trails, and even some scenic waterfalls. It’s a little more intimate, providing quieter mountain camping for those really looking to get away from Las Vegas’ bustle. The campsites are nestled within ponderosa pines, offering plenty of shade. Campers have the pleasure of flush toilets and showers.
“It’s in the mountains so your altitude is almost 4000 ft more than in Las Vegas so you drive out of that desert heat. When I turned off the highway about 15 miles from the site it was close to 110 degrees and when we got to our site it was down to 85. With mountains in every direction, the summits of which still had snow, its hard to beat the views when waking up. Unfortunately, we were only able to stay one night, but there is no doubt that we will come back here when camping in the future.” – The Dyrt camper Andrew S.
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The Hilltop campground is a smaller Mt. Charleston camping option that still allows reservations. It’s older than some of the others in the area. Because of this, it can be easier to get a spot (as everyone flocks to the new, shiny campgrounds). Be sure to bring water, as this campground doesn’t provide it. But what it lacks in water it makes up for in views.
“Hilltop Campground is a great spot in the summer and fall to get out of the heat of the Las Vegas valley. The campground has tons of trees for shade and is at altitude, so is usually 20 degrees cooler than the valley itself.” – The Dyrt camper Christina S.
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If you’re looking for a place to bring the whole (extended) family, look no further than Mahogany Grove campground. This is a group campground with six decent-sized tent spots up for grabs that can be reserved. It’s renovated, with handicap accessibility, new vault bathrooms, and educational features. The campground is next to the Mt. Charleston National Recreation Trail, as well as other hiking trails. It’s also perfectly poised for beautiful, sweeping views of the Spring Mountains.
“This place was beautiful. It was winter when I went so the snow was a little tough to get threw, but totally worth it! Great camping, breathtaking scapes and not that far away from the city. Lots of trails to venture on.” – The Dyrt camper Savannah H.
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