Easy, 0.4 miles, wheelchair accessible.
Desert View Overlook is a 0.2 mile (0.4 mile round trip) moderately trafficked out and back paved trail in the Deer Creek Highway area of the SMNRA. The trail is wheelchair and stroller friendly. The parking lot is open in winter but the trail is not cleared of snow. The nearby Deer Creek Picnic Area parking lot has bathrooms.
The paved walkway heads northbound, gradually winding down to multiple viewing platforms with educational panels and benches, set near the trees at key vantage points. The Desert View Overlook has expansive views of the Mojave Desert and is known for being a great vantage point for bomb detonation viewing during the Atomic Era, and many of the panels share details about this era. Panels also share information about the flora, fauna, and geology of the surrounding mountains and dry lake beds. The trail is gently sloped with switchbacks to ease the elevation difference from the trailhead to the final viewing platform.
Hiking at higher elevations can be difficult if not acclimated. Know the symptoms of altitude sickness and how to properly prepare. Always check the weather before heading out on the trails. Be prepared to be out of cell-phone range and have a backup plan. Ensure proper clothing and supplies for the trek, be it a day-hike or backpacking trip.
Leave No Trace:
GO Mt Charleston encourages folks to enjoy their public lands, while remaining mindful and following the seven principles of LNT:
- Plan Ahead and Prepare – Check the weather, pack proper equipment and guides, wear adequate clothing, have a back-up plan, research current conditions, closures, and regulations.
- Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces – Follow the designated trail and avoid cutting switchbacks. Backcountry camp on low-impact terrain. When in doubt stick to designated campgrounds and dispersed campsites.
- Dispose of Waste Properly – Pack it in pack it out! Pack out all garbage, including organic food waste such as citrus peels and pistachio shells. When backpacking, practice digging cat holes to dispose of human waste and carry wastewater 200 feet away from waterways.
- Leave What You Find – Take only pictures, leave only footprints! Leave cultural artifacts and natural objects for others to enjoy.
- Minimize Campfire Impacts – Make sure your campfire is dead out before leaving or sleeping, research local regulations about collecting firewood, and know current fire restrictions. When in doubt use designated fire rings.
- Respect Wildlife – Observe from a safe distance, never feed or approach wildlife, report impaired wildlife to Rangers and never attempt to move or help yourself.
- Respect other Visitors – Be courteous on the trails, control and pick up after your pets, consider whether your experience is affecting the way someone else enjoys the peaceful outdoors.
Learn more by visiting: https://lnt.org/why/7-principles/