With spring break starting for Clark County students next week, the Spring Mountains National Recreation Area, or Mt. Charleston as it is known by locals, is expecting to be busy since snow is still present. Considering the novelty of snow in the desert, especially in March, it is understandable that families want to venture the short distance from Las Vegas to enjoy sledding, snowshoeing, downhill skiing, and other typical snow play activities.
The National Recreation Area can provide stunning scenery and recreational opportunities when snow is present. Still, it is essential to be aware of the dangers and risks associated with spring weather. Snowstorms, freezing temperatures, prolonged exposure to cold winds, flooding, and possible avalanches in some areas are all concerns when recreating this time of year.
Before heading to the Spring Mountains National Recreational Area, visit the Go Mt. Charleston website, which is now in English (https://www.gomtcharleston.com/snow-season/ and Spanish (https://www.gomtcharleston.com/nieve-en-spring-mountains/). Conditions and safety information are also posted at https://www.facebook.com/GoMtCharleston or https://twitter.com/GoMtCharleston.
For current weather conditions and forecasts, visitors can check the National Weather Service website or view one of the following webcams:
- The Mount Charleston Weather Webcam faces toward Nevada State Route 156 (Lee Canyon Road), which helps see snow play traffic.
- The Lee Canyon Resort Webcam shows various angles of the ski slopes and lodge area.
It is crucial to check driving conditions, chain requirements, and road closures before traveling to the Mt. Charleston area. Check real-time information by calling 511 within Nevada or visiting https://www.nvroads.com.
Moreover, law enforcement officials ask visitors to observe and comply with highway reader boards and flashing signs on Nevada State Routes 156 (Lee Canyon Road), 157 (Kyle Canyon Road), and 158 (Deer Creek Highway). They will indicate if four-wheel drive with snow tires or tire snow chains are required to proceed up the mountain. Failure to comply will result in unsafe driving conditions and may result in accidents, stuck vehicles, and citations issued by law enforcement. For more detailed information on chain requirements, please visit https://bit.ly/NDOTTractionandChainRequirements.
The popularity of Lee and Kyle Canyons during spring break can bring thousands of cars to the area. Go early, be patient, and abide by traffic laws. It is best to arrive before 9 a.m. or you may have to wait to go up the mountain. If traffic is too congested, motorists may not be allowed to proceed up the mountain unless they can show they have reservations for activities or a pre-purchased Lee Canyon Resort ski lift pass. Also, consider carpooling with friends and family to the mountain and NOT use ride-share services (e.g., Uber or Lift) because limited cell service and traffic may not allow pick-up for return rides.
To ensure timely emergency response and public safety, the Nevada Highway Patrol and Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department monitor traffic congestion, available parking, and road conditions in Kyle and Lee Canyons and regulate access. Depending on conditions, delays, and periodic road closures may occur on Nevada State Routes 156 (Lee Canyon Road), 157 (Kyle Canyon Road), and 158 (Deer Creek Hwy).
It is essential to abide by all posted parking signs in both Kyle and Lee Canyons. Illegally parked vehicles may be fined and towed. In areas where roadside parking is permitted, ensure all tires are to the right of the white line to keep the lane clear for emergency vehicles. For more detailed information on where parking is restricted, please visit: https://bit.ly/SMNRASnowSeasonMap.
When traveling to Mt. Charleston, start with a full gas tank because gas stations are unavailable on the mountain. Always carry with you: tire chains, tow strap, cell phone, flashlight, ice scraper, jumper cable, snow shovel, blankets/sleeping bags, first aid kit, satellite-based navigation device, a bag of sand/kitty litter for traction, spare batteries, non-perishable foods, and water.
Visitors must wear appropriate clothing for their planned activities and avoid trespassing on private property or closed areas. Sledding is not recommended in areas with less than 12 inches of snow. Trash should be carried home or placed in dumpsters or trashcans. Owners should keep pets on a leash and clean up their waste.
The Lee Canyon Ski Resort is the largest winter activity area on the mountain and offers skiing and other winter activities for daily and annual fees. Information about the ski resort, facility availability, and parking information is available on their https://www.leecanyonlv.com/ or by calling 702-385-2754. Due to limited cell service, ski resort visitors are reminded to have their pass or online reservation receipts printed or downloaded on their phones to show law enforcement officers who are monitoring traffic.
During the winter season, the ski resort also manages McWilliams Campground, Sawmill Trailhead, Foxtail Snow Play Area as well as Old Mill Picnic Area in Lee Canyon. It is best to check the resort website for details on these recreation sites. Old Mill Picnic Area will be open for snow play all week starting Thursday, March 9 through Sunday March 19.
The Spring Mountains Visitor Gateway facilities and parking area at 2525 Kyle Canyon Road are open daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. For the safety of the employees and visitors, the facility may close during significant weather events. Public restroom facilities are available in Kyle Canyon at the Cliff Rose Trailhead across the traffic circle from the Visitor Gateway and in Lee Canyon at the Sawmill Trailhead.
In case of a roadway emergency, dial *NHP (*647) or 911 to report a severe accident. Since cell phone service is limited, public phones are located on Lee Canyon Road across from Lee Meadows, at the Old Mill Picnic entrance, and inside the Foxtail Snow Play Area. Local 702 and 911 calls from these phones are free.Clark County is a partner in the the Mt. Charleston Winter Alliance, which promotes public safety during winter when Kyle and Lee Canyons see large spikes in visitation. Other partners include Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (Metro), Lee Canyon Ski Resort, Mount Charleston Fire Protection District, Mt. Charleston Lodge, National Weather Service, Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT), Nevada Highway Patrol (NHP), U.S. Forest Service, and the Southern Nevada Conservancy