Spring Mountains National Recreation Area

Just west of Las Vegas

The Spring Mountains National Recreation Area (SMNRA) west of Las Vegas is a quick getaway from the city. Depending on the season, hiking, climbing, skiing, and bird-watching are among the recreation opportunities. The Kyle Visitor Center, located on State Route 157 about a mile past its junction with State Route 158, offers hand-outs for various trails: Cathedral Rock, Fletcher Canyon, Mary Jane Falls, North & South Loop, Bristlecone Trail and others.

SMNRA has an interesting history including its logging past and a mysterious plane crash at Mt. Charleston during a secret cold-war mission in the 1950s. Many years earlier, actually more than 100 million years, this area was a warm shallow sea in which carbonate sedimentation took place. About 100 million years ago, mountain building began. The limestone cliffs we see today are a result of sediment uplifting, pressurization, and erosion. Brochures and panels inform you about fossils, for example of horn corals, tabulate corals, brachiopods, and crinoids, that can be found in the rocks.

Waterfall halfway up to Cathedral Rock View of Echo Cliffs from Cathedral Rock Trail

Getting there from Las Vegas in 30 to 45 minutes: Go northwest on Highway 95 and turn left on Kyle Canyon Road (State Route 157).
Getting there from Beatty: In case you are going southeast on Highway 95 from Beatty to Las Vegas, you can take Lee Canyon Road (State Route 156, about 12 miles past Indian Springs), that goes up to the bristlecone area, but first meets State Route 158, which connects Lee Canyon Road with Kyle Canyon Road.

Find out more:

Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest: http://www.fs.fed.us/r4/htnf/districts/smnra/index.shtml
Mount Charleston: http://www.ziggy1.com/ays/sm/smmc.htm

Last update was made on July 3 in 2008 by Axel Drefahl
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