More Difficult, 4.4 miles.
Trail Canyon is a 2.2 mile (4.4 miles round trip) moderately trafficked out and back trail located in the Kyle Canyon area of the SMNRA. There is parking and restrooms at the trailhead. This trail is not stroller or wheelchair friendly. The parking lot is closed during the winter season due to snow, the trail can still be accessed from Echo parking lot.
The trail starts heading northwest through ponderosa pine, curl-leaf mountain mahogany, and rabbits brush. 0.1 miles into the trail, there is a junction with no signage. Head northwest making a left turn and continue along the gravel path. The trail approaches a water tower around the 0.25-mile mark. Follow the path to the left of the tower, heading northwest through a quaking aspen grove. 0.4 miles in, the trail approaches a sign indicating that the trail is entering the Mt. Charleston Wilderness Area. After continuing for another 0.3 miles, the trail arrives at limestone stairs which climb briefly east then northbound. During certain times of the year (spring), hikers will cross a seasonal creek 0.9 miles into the trail. After crossing, the stream will follow the northbound trail on the right-hand side. Continue along the clearly defined trail as it climbs through thickening vegetation with sporadic white fir sprouting up. After hiking for 1.5 miles, the trail approaches 11 moderate switchbacks. The final switchback takes the trail east, then south, then east again heading into a thicket of tall white fir and bristlecone pine. This portion of the trail has more uneven terrain and can be harder to follow. 2.2 miles into the trail, hikers will approach a sign pointing left/westward for Charleston Peak and right for North Loop with that trail continuing northbound. This is where Trail Canyon ends, to return retrace your steps 2.2 miles back to the trailhead.
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/