Two for One Mount Charleston and Griffith Peak

Peak Summited2021 Griffith Peak
Type of HikeDay hike
TrailheadNorth Trail Trailhead
EncounteredWildflowers blooming
Road ConditionsRoad suitable for all vehicles
Bug StatusNo bugs
Snow ConditionsSnow free
Trail ConditionsTrail in good condition

7/3/2021 – Peaks 1 & 2 of the Las Vegas Six Pack of Peaks Challenge

Today I tackled both Mount Charleston at 11,918 feet and Griffith Peak at 11,056 feet. My totals for this hike were 11hrs 27min (total time moving and resting), 19.4 miles with an overall elevation gain of 5,839 feet and an overall elevation loss of 5,863 feet.

First up was Charleston Peak. I decided after seeing a post from another hiker about doing this hike by starting at the North Loop Trail and doing the loop counter clockwise, that I would do the same. I was a little worried about the potential temperatures though. I had seen conflicting reports on the weather. As I was approaching the trailhead in my car, the temperature gage was reading 89 degrees at 0430 in the morning. I was still about 10 miles from the trailhead and thankfully, as I gained elevation, the temperatures dropped. I had a nice 64 degrees when I stepped off from the trailhead right around 0515.

The first part of the hike was a little steep. Climbing almost 3,000 feet in 4 miles. The route was easy to follow and very pleasant. I only saw one hiker going up. He was wearing a very small pack and was moving quickly. There were also about 4 or 5 hikers that camped up the trail about two miles in. Other than that I so no one for the first four miles.

The second part of my hike to Mount Charleston was pretty much like a roller coaster ride along the ridge line. Gaining and losing elevation all the way across. This was a long four plus mile trek and I could see my goal, Mount Charleston, almost the entire way. Having cooler weather on the trail today helped tremendously. As I gain elevation the temperatures just kept on falling. I had the trail all to myself until the final push to the summit. I was passed by three trail runners on the final switchbacks. The final .9 miles which basically has five long switchbacks, had an elevation gain of 890 feet.

I made it to the summit in just over 5 hours and had almost 8.5 miles. When I arrived at the summit there was no one there. I had it all to myself for about 15 minutes. Then numerous hikers began arriving from the opposite trail I came up and intended to take to Griffith Peak and then back down. A few of them continued on to complete the loop (clockwise), but most opted to just do the out and back from the South Trail. The summit was a little windy and the clouds were rolling in. I actually felt a few raindrops and put on my jacket while at the summit.

After spending more time than I should have at the summit, I began my traverse down and up and across the ridge from Mount Charleston to Griffith Peak. Another up and down roller coaster for about 4.5 miles.  It didn’t rain and within a half mile of my descent I removed my jacket because it was getting warm again. This side of the trail was pretty busy. Especially once I got to the trail that headed up to Griffith Peak. That final push was only .4 miles and had an elevation gain of 400 feet. It kind of reminded me of hiking from Cucamonga Saddle to Big Horn. Just a little shorter. The peak was pretty busy. Not like Mount Badly, but a constant flow of hikers coming and going.

My descent was uneventful. I ran into several hikers and had some great conversations on the trail. The temperature was getting warmer. My guess is it reach the upper 70’s or low 80’s during the final few miles down. Total descent was right at 4.5 miles. However, since I was parked at the North Trail I had to walk an additional mile or so back to my car. Although most of it was on the Echo Trail, which was much better than following the road.


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