Mt Charleston is only about a 45 minute drive from downtown Las Vegas, so this destination is perfect for a day trip venture. Mt Charleston is a busy ski resort in the winter season, while during spring and summer the Spring Mountains Recreation Area turns into a hiking, biking and camping paradise. Mt Charleston is over 11,000 feet above sea level, so there are a variety of unique environments to be found when traveling through the canyons on the way up the mountain. The 3,000 to 5,000 foot elevation is where the desert wildflower blooms flourish, especially in places like Kyle Canyon.
Springtime is the desert wildflower season and it pays to get off the beaten path this time of year just to see the colorful show. Winter rain increases the wildflower blooms, while drought conditions will limit the viewing opportunity. In dry conditions, the mile high elevation canyons and mountain meadows are the some of the best places to look for wildflower blooms, although they may be sparse. Because of the snow melt seepage in Kyle Canyon, there are many pockets where wildflowers will surely bloom.
Kyle Canyon Road runs from U.S. Highway 95 at the base of the mountain all the way up to the small town of Mt Charleston near the summit. There are many dirt side roads to explore along Kyle Canyon Road on the way up to the mile high level. Some of the dirt roads meander to viewpoints in Kyle Canyon while others branch off toward the neighboring Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. There are a few private roads in this canyon too, so it is best to do some mapping research before setting sail.
During my tour of Kyle Canyon in the spring season there were plenty of wildflowers blooming and the summer heat had not yet turned the foliage brown. Only a few cactus flowers are seen in the upper Kyle Canyon, because cactus do not flourish in high elevations that have freezing winter temperatures. Even so, there were plenty of interesting Joshua Tree, Yucca and Purple Sage blooms along the way. Globe Mallow is one of the most popular western wildflowers and a few big orange color patches can be expected.
Las Vegas visitors will be happy to know that 4×4 Jeep and ATV rentals are easy to find in this city. Even though the weather is relatively cool during spring, it is best to always pack a two day supply of water and non perishable food when venturing off-road into the desert expanse, just in case the unexpected occurs. The dirt roads in Kyle Canyon are fairly easy to navigate, simply because if lost, all that a driver has to do is follow the dirt roads that go downhill to find civilization. Springtime is when the desert wildflower blooms occur and this is the best time to do a little day trip tour on the dirt trails that run through Kyle Canyon!
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