Mount Charleston Roads & Ski Area Reopen to the Public After Recent Winter Storms
This weekend, winter recreation enthusiasts will again be able to enjoy snow play in the Spring Mountains National Recreation Area, or Mt. Charleston as it is known by locals. Due to the recent winter storm this week, area roads, Lee Canyon Ski Resort, and the Spring Mountains Visitor Gateway have been closed for public and employee safety. As of Thursday, Feb. 8, total snow accumulation in Kyle Canyon is around 33 inches and Lee Canyon is around 39 inches.
Both the Lee Canyon Ski Resort and Spring Mountain Recreation Area staff are diligently working to reopen areas by plowing developed recreation area parking lots and mitigating hazards as able. Lee Canyon Ski Resort and the Spring Mountains Visitor Gateway will reopen today.
“When the area reopens to visitors, it is also important the public is aware that there continues to be a risk of avalanche activity on the mountain, especially in backcountry areas,” said Fire Chief Jason Douglas, who oversees the Mount Charleston Fire Protection District. “If you enjoy recreating in the backcountry areas, we encourage you to be extremely cautious and for more information on how to do it safely visit the National Avalanche Center at http://www.avalanche.org/.”
Before heading to the SMNRA, visit the Go Mt. Charleston’s snow season web page at https://www.gomtcharleston.com/snow-season/ and in Spanish at https://www.gomtcharleston.com/nieve-en-spring-mountains/ to plan your winter visit. Condition updates and safety tips also are posted at https://www.facebook.com/GoMtCharleston or https://twitter.com/GoMtCharleston.
For current weather conditions, visitors can check the National Weather Service website at: https://mtcharlestonweather.com/ or view one of the following webcams:
- The Mount Charleston Weather Webcam (https://mtcharlestonweather.com/webcam/)faces towards Nevada State Route 156 (Lee Canyon Road), which is helpful to see snow play traffic.
The Lee Canyon Resort Webcam https://www.leecanyonlv.com/webcams/ shows various angles of the slopes and lodge area.
It is important to check driving conditions, chain requirements, and road closures before traveling to the SMNRA. Check real-time information by calling 511 within Nevada or visit www.nvroads.com. For public safety, it is also best to wait to drive up the mountain until after a snowstorm and roads have time to be plowed.
The popularity of Lee and Kyle Canyons during the winter season can bring thousands of cars to the area, especially on weekends, holidays, and school breaks. It is best to be there before 9 a.m. on these days, or you may have to wait to go up the mountain if traffic is too congested. Weekdays and non-holiday times may provide fewer crowds and better access. Go early, be patient, and abide by traffic laws. Also, consider carpooling with friends and family to the mountain and NOT using ride share services (e.g. Uber or Lift), because limited cell service and traffic may not allow for pickup for return rides.
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 at: www.leecanyonlv.com. Ski resort visitors are reminded to purchase their tickets in advance, and have the receipts printed or downloaded onto their phones to show law enforcement officers who are monitoring traffic.
During the winter months, the Lee Canyon Ski Resort manages the McWilliams Campground, Old Mill Picnic Area, Sawmill Trailhead, and Foxtail Snow Play Area in Lee Canyon. The Old Mill Picnic Area is generally open on weekends and holidays. When there is at least 12 inches of snow, the Foxtail area is also open on weekends and holidays. It is best to check the website at www.leecanyonlv.com for details.
Due to damage caused by Hurricane Hilary in August 2023, some recreation sites and roads on the SMNRA are closed for public safety. In Lee Canyon (Nevada State Routes 156), Upper & Lower Bristlecone Trails/Trailheads, Lower Bristlecone Road, and Mack’s Canyon Road and disperse camping area are closed. On Deer Creek Road (Nevada State Routes 158), Deer Creek Picnic Area is closed. In Kyle Canyon (Nevada State Routes 157), Cathedral Rock, Echo, Mary Jane, and Trail Canyons Trails/Trailheads are closed. For a map that shows the closed areas, please visit https://bit.ly/SMNRAClosureMap.
The Spring Mountains Visitor Gateway facilities and parking area at 2525 Kyle Canyon Road are open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. The facility may be closed during weather events. For Spring Mountains Visitor Gateway updates, please visit: https://www.facebook.com/GoMtCharleston or https://twitter.com/GoMtCharleston.
Visitors are reminded to wear appropriate clothing for their planned activities and to not trespass on private property or closed areas. Sledding is not recommended in areas where there is less than 12 inches of snow to avoid hidden hazards not properly covered in shallow snow. Trash should be carried home or placed in dumpsters or trashcans. Owners should also keep pets on a leash and clean up their waste.
When traveling to the SMNRA, start with a full tank of gas because there are no gas stations on the mountain. Always carry with you: tire chains, tow strap, cell phone, flashlight, ice scraper, jumper cables, snow shovel, blankets/sleeping bags, first aid kit, compass, maps, bag of sand/kitty litter for traction, spare batteries, non-perishable foods, and water.
To ensure timely emergency response and public safety during the popular winter months, the Nevada State Police 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 Road).
Law enforcement officials ask visitors to observe and comply with highway reader boards and flashing signs on U.S. Route 95, and Nevada State Routes 156 (Lee Canyon Road) and 157 (Kyle Canyon Road) when they indicate that four-wheel drive and snow tires or tire 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 Nevada Department of Transportation’s traction and chain requirements, please visit: https://bit.ly/NDOTTractionandChainRequirements.
It is important 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 travel lane clear for emergency vehicles. For more detailed information where parking is restricted, please visit: https://bit.ly/SMNRASnowSeasonMap2023_2024, which is in both English and Spanish.
In case of a roadway emergency, dial *NHP (*647) in case of a roadway emergency or 911 to report a serious accident or injury. Since cell phone service is limited, public phones are located on Lee Canyon Road across from Lee Meadows, at the entrance to the Old Mill Picnic Area, and inside the Foxtail Snow Play Area. Local 702 and 911 calls from these phones are free.
The Mt. Charleston Winter Alliance promotes public safety during the winter months when Kyle Canyon and Lee Canyon see large spikes in visitation. Agency partners include: Clark County, 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.