Charleston Peak offers ice climbing in the WI2 to WI5+ range. Areas include: Lost Falls (WI 2), Echo Falls (WI 3), Vegas Hose Monster (WI 5+), Little Falls (WI 2+), Avalanche Falls (WI 4), and Mary Jane Falls (WI 4). For more information see NevadaClimbing.com's Ice Climbing Areas page.
I noted that the page on nevadaclimbing.com is no longer present, but turned up some other stuff :
Not sure how accurate any of this is, since I've never been there myself.
The sign at the top of the switchbacks that points to the peaks of Mt. Charleston and Griffith peak also has a "Trailhead" arrow that points towards Griffith Peak, rather than towards the switchbacks that lead down to the actual trailhead. If you're tired, dehydrated and/or new there, it may result in some confusion as you head down.
Charleston Peak is also one of the sought after prominence peaks in Nevada as it ranks #1 on the list. It has 8241 feet of prominence which makes it very special to those who seek the prominence peaks. This prominence puts it in an elite group of peaks in the USA that have a prominence of over 5000 feet and those can be seen on this neat MAP HERE. If you don't understand what prominence is all about, here is a good explanation. Adam Helman recently authored a book completely dedicated to prominence.
Beware that the US Forest Service has contracted out parking for the South Loop Trail. And, they close the gates to the parking area at 8:00 PM. I found out the hard way about this.
Update for the "Maps and Information" section: there is a most excellent commercial map available for the Spring Mountains that shows the entire Charleston Loop and more. It is by Green Trails maps and is well worth the purchase for any regular Spring Mtn hiker. It can be found at rei or ordered online.
I was in the area on 7/19/13 to hike Mt. Charleston. Unfortunately the South Loop and North Loop trails were still closed due to the recent Carpenter Valley 1 Fire. I can report however, that the parking rate in the Cathedral Rock Picnic Area is now a whopping $20 and the walk-in price is $5. Also I had a hard time finding the "false trailhead". No idea how I could have drove past it twice and not noticed it. Perhaps it has been changed?
FYI, the three links in the weather section appear to be dead.
I had a nice weekend in the mountains before my business conference started in Las Vegas. On Friday, 02-May-2014, I backpacked up Trail Canyon Trail and then took North Loop Trail to a nice campsite location about a mile before Devil's Thumb. Early Saturday morning, I attempted to reach the peak, but I turned back because of too much snow along the ledges about 100 feet past Devil's Thumb. I brought crampons and an ice axe, but I didn’t feel like taking the risk. One thing that really surprised me was that Cave Spring was totally dry. I had not seen anything in my research to indicate that it might be dry.
Spoke with the Picnic area host at the South Loop trailhead. South Loop has been closed due to the fire and mudslides wiping out much of the trail last July. The parking area is gated off at the trailhead and the trailhead in not accessible unless you want to climb a fence. Repairs are estimated to be completed by 2015 for Cathedral Rock and potentially later for the full route. The North Loop Trail is open.
As a note on parking the host mentioned that the parking fee is for Picnicking and that the Parking lot at the trailhead is free to hikers as long as you don't take a picnic spot. Do not try parking outside the picnic area as there are "no parking" signs everywhere.
If any of this is incorrect please post a correction. I blew a good hiking day because I just wanted to get to Griffith Peak so I started late. Therefore I was too late when my alternate was Mount Charleston. Instead took a nice hike to the Saddle on North Loop and then did Mary Jane and Big Falls. Unfortunately you now need to hit those hikes in April to see much water coming over.
Fletcher View Camp is just for self-contained RV's
Is it possible to mountain bike to the the summit of the mountainon the north or south loop trails? Or is it prohibited?