Emergency Repairs Continue at Mount Charleston; Area Remains Closed to Visitors Due to Hazards
Clark County, the U.S. Forest Service, Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT), Nevada State Police, the Mount Charleston Fire Protection District and other agencies are reminding the public that Kyle Canyon and Lee Canyon roads, Deer Creek Highway and the adjacent Forest Service-managed lands at Mt. Charleston remain closed to visitors due to ongoing construction activity on public infrastructure in the area and significant safety hazards that exist on many trails in the wake of Tropical Storm Hilary.
While NDOT has completed repairs on State Route 156 (Lee Canyon Road) and is on track to complete emergency road repairs on State Route 157 (Kyle Canyon Road) this week, the roads will remain closed as roadwork, construction and debris removal activities continue. A U.S. Forest Area Closure notice remains in effect for the Lee, Kyle and Deer Creek areas of the Spring Mountains National Recreation Area https://bit.ly/3rnn56I. Additionally, State Route 158 (Deer Creek Road), which serves as a vital link between Kyle Canyon and Lee Canyon, remains inaccessible due to the extreme hazards posed by the current road conditions. Emergency construction is scheduled to start on SR-158 next week and is anticipated to be complete before winter. The U.S. Forest Area Closure notice includes the Spring Mountains Visitor Gateway, and all trails, picnic areas, and campgrounds on Forest Service-managed land. More information, including a closure map, is available at https://www.fs.usda.gov/htnf. Only working crews, local residents and private businesses have access.
“NDOT, the Las Vegas Valley Water District and other agencies have made tremendous progress on making repairs on the mountain, but there is still a lot of heavy equipment coming and going as work and debris removal activities continue,” said Fire Chief Jorge Gonzalez, who oversees the Mount Charleston Fire Protection District. “We also have serious concerns about people getting injured if they attempt to hike or recreate on closed areas within the forest because of the damage.”
Many popular trails at Mt. Charleston sustained extensive damage from the August storm including Mary Jane Falls, Cathedral Rock, Acastus, Bristlecone Pine, and Fletcher. Large boulders, dead trees, debris, and deep channels now exist where trails used to be. The Carpenter Canyon and Wallace Canyon roads remain inaccessible even by 4x4 vehicles due to significant flooding washouts. Damaged trails are expected to remain closed until cost estimates for repairs or rerouting can be finalized and funding is allocated for related costs. Many dispersed recreation areas are open in the Spring Mountains including Cold Creek, Willow Creek, Potosi, Cottonwood Pass, Lovell Canyon, Wheeler Wash, Mt. Stirling, and Johnny. Visitors must be self-sufficient and are advised to check current weather conditions prior to heading into the back country.
“Safety remains our top priority,” said Deb MacNeill, Spring Mountains National Recreation Area Manager. “Some of the most popular trails in Kyle and Lee Canyon were hit hardest by the storm and damage is significant. We continue emergency stabilization efforts and repairs and will keep the public informed of our progress. In the meantime, please be prepared when visiting dispersed areas that are open. Make sure you leave home with a full tank of gas, have adequate supplies of food and water, and remember that weather patterns in the Spring Mountains can change dramatically.”
In the aftermath of the storm, NDOT identified extensive damage in 43 different locations along these critical roadways. Among the most notable challenges was an 856-foot section of SR-157 near the Rainbow Canyon area that was completely washed out. Since August 29, crews have been working from sun-up to sun-down, seven days a week, to expedite the restoration process for the benefit of residents and construction workers on the mountain. In addition to repairing the damaged sections, NDOT has also bolstered defenses against future flooding and enhanced drainage systems along the affected routes.
“We extend our gratitude to the residents of Mt. Charleston and our valued community partners for their unwavering patience and support as we address the challenges brought about by these extreme weather events,” said District One Engineer Mario Gomez, Nevada Department of Transportation.
A Las Vegas Valley Water District boil water notice remains in effect for Old Town in Kyle Canyon at Mount Charleston. The Water District is continuing to work on making repairs to water infrastructure in Old Town and the Echo subdivision area that was damaged during the storm.
Updates on response and recovery efforts are available via these resources:
- Clark County social media sites @ gov and https://www.clarkcountynv.gov/app_alert_detail.php.
- Spring Mountains National Recreation Area/Mt. Charleston/Humboldt Toiyabe National Forest @HumboldtToiyabe and https://bit.ly/46y14AV
- Go Mt. Charleston https://www.gomtcharleston.com/ and @GoMtCharleston
- Nevada Department of Transportation @Nevadadot and https://bit.ly/3tayI0Y
- Las Vegas Valley Water District: https://www.lvvwd.com/about/news/boil-water-kyle-canyon.html