Fletcher Canyon Trail | Mt. Charleston Wilderness | Spring Mountains, Nevada
Only the Peaceful Sights and Sounds of Water
Overview | Fletcher Canyon Trail | Mt. Charleston Wilderness | Spring Mountains, Nevada
Two Different Adventures
Fletcher Canyon Trail is really two entirely different adventures:
- Easy Version: A nice, easy, fairly level 4.2-mile round trip trail on a wide gravel surface along the side of a mountain stream.
- Extreme Version: An extreme adventure up a narrow, wild canyon, possibly reaching the goal of Fletcher Peak’s 10,319ft summit.
Great for Altitude Conditioning and Injury Recovery
This is a great altitude conditioning trail if you’ve been spending the Winter under 2000ft in the Las Vegas Valley, Lake Mead, Death Valley or other low altitude regions. Altitude along the Fletcher Canyon Trail ranges from about 7,000-8,000 feet depending on how far you venture. In fact, you could do a wild wilderness adventure up to Fletcher Peak’s 10,200ft summit! However, for the sake of this current adventure, we’re only going to the point where Fletcher Canyon narrows and the extreme adventure begins.
Views Along the Fletcher Canyon Trail
Along the way, if it’s Spring, you follow the route of a beautiful mountain creek through a forested area. Turn around often for spectacular views of the cliffs on the Southern base of Fletcher Peak to your right (North) and Harris Mountain towering behind you to the East.
Best Time of Year for Fletcher Canyon Trail
The best time of year to hike this trail is Spring (if you want to see the creek flowing) or Fall. Summer temperatures along the trail can rise to the high 90s. During Winter months you may encounter deep snow.
Trailhead Directions | Fletcher Canyon Trail | Mt. Charleston Wilderness | Spring Mountains, Nevada
Driving to the Fletcher Canyon Trailhead is pretty easy: Up I-95 North from Las Vegas, take a left at the Kyle Canyon exit, continue about 20 miles up Kyle Canyon Road, pass the traffic circle at The Spring Mountains Visitor Gateway, pass the Deer Creek Road turnoff and Mt Charleston Lodge and then onward for less than a quarter mile to The Fletcher Canyon Trailhead parking on your left. In all, it’s less than 40 miles from the Las Vegas Strip.
Route Observations | Fletcher Canyon Trail | Mt. Charleston Wilderness | Spring Mountains, Nevada
Initial Stretch to Eagle’s Nest Loop Intersection
From the trailhead parking area cross Kyle Canyon Road to The Fletcher Canyon Trailhead on the opposite side. The initial stretch is on a wide, graveled surface with a gradual angle of ascent, though the angle of ascent does increase as you progress.
Within less than a quarter mile there is a sign for the Eagle’s Nest Loop Trail branching off to the right. You may want to return later for that 2.7-mile loop trail with spectacular views up and down Kyle Canyon and abundant Spring flowers.
Continuing to the End of the Wide Graveled Trail
Here, The Fletcher Canyon Trail takes a left, continuing its gradual ascent and soon reaching the first of 3-4 easy creek crossings as you pass through a beautiful mountain forest, so different from the Las Vegas area, just 30-40 miles away. This is an easy trail, so take your time to enjoy the pleasant, peaceful forest along the singing creek (if it’s Spring)!
Onto the Narrow Canyon Trail
In a couple miles, the wide gravel trail suddenly ends, but you can continue up Fletcher Canyon on a narrow pathway along the edge of the ridge to your left. The angle of ascent along the narrow trail steadily increases as you continue along the left side of the creek. The creek also narrows as it cascades over larger obstacles. In fact, the entire canyon begins to narrow, eventually with high vertical walls on either side. It’s pretty incredible, and like another world compared to the initial stretch of The Fletcher Canyon Trail.
During this stretch there are too many creek crossings to count, but the crossings are rather tame and even during Springs high water flow I was able to keep my feet dry by stepping on rocks at each crossing.
The Beautiful Cliff Cove
In less than a quarter mile you’ll arrive at a beautiful cove in the cliff face on your right. The stream channels along the base of the cliff cove and water drips through the porous, moss-covered limestone roof above, like a gentle rain. This is a totally unique, pleasant world in itself.
Canyon Trail Ends, Extreme Adventure Begins
Continue up the narrow canyon to a point where, lets say, the extreme wild canyon adventure begins. There’s a cairn at the base of a waterfall/rock scramble. Cairns usually mark the beginning of a pathless route into the upper regions. This is the end of dry feet during the Spring runoff. I’ll return here in the Fall to continue the rock scramble ascent up Fletcher Canyon. I understand, from interviewing other hikers, that in another bend or two in the canyon, there was a steep snow drift blocking further advance to all who were not wearing crampons. However, during dryer seasons, one can continue the upward rock scramble to where things begin to level off a bit above the canyon and, possibly, near the base of Fletcher Peak’s summit approach. I’ll report on this more extreme route once I’ve tried it out!