Just twenty miles outside the Las Vegas city limits, as you drive north on Nevada 95, you will begin to see the 11,918 foot summit of Charleston Peak. High above the Mojave Desert floor, the area surrounding the mountain is home to some of the most unpredictable weather and most remote country in the state.
Spring Mountain National Recreation Area has fifty one miles of high-country trails, yet it is only 45 minutes from the strip. Most of the trails are open to horseback riding and two of them are open to mountain bikes..Sawmill and Bristlecone.
The Sawmill Loop is an easy 1.3 miles, climbing through juniper and pinyon woodlands to reach great views of Mummy Mountain. This is a wonderful spring/summer trail because the scattered meadows are full of wildflowers.
The Bristlecone Pine Trail starts at the end of Highway 157, otherwise known as Lee Canyon Road. The combination of 157/156 is the Mount Charleston Scenic Byway. It leads up to Mount Charleston and then passes the ski area where the Bristlecone Pine Trail begins.
There is both an upper and lower Bristlecone trail. Gowestusa recommends the upper trail. It is longer and more difficult, but it is a beautiful hike through white fir and aspen to rocky slopes just at tree line. These slopes are home to an ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest that rank among the oldest beings on earth. The trail starts at 8470 feet and climbs over 1000 feet in the course of 6.2 miles.
The Spring Mountains are part of the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest , the second largest national forest in the United States. Three national hiking trails lie within the forest: The Pacific Crest Trail and the Toiyabe Crest and Mount Charleston National Recreation Trails.