Trail Report: Raintree via Trail Canyon to North Loop Trail

Trail Details

  • Time on Trail: 4 hrs
  • City / State: Mt Charleston Wilderness, Spring Mountains /
  • Distance: 5.8 miles
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Elevation: +/- 2200ft.
  • Categories:   ,

Highlights

This was a great thru-hike starting at the Trail Canyon Trialhead at 7800 feet, hitting the saddle at 10,000 feet and ending at the North Loop Trailhead at 8300 feet. The total hike was 5.8 miles and we completed it in 4 hours. We took a break for lunch at Raintree which provided a nice shady spot.

Trail Description

I love hikes that take me to points of interest that involve more than just a great workout or a killer view. This hike provides a very cool stop at Raintree, a 3000+ year old bristlecone pine.

The initial climb up Trail Canyon was familiar as we had tackled that on another hike. Once on the Cockscomb Ridge, we jumped on the North Loop Trail which runs along the side of Mummy Mountain towards the Toe. Great views and the hiking is pretty easy compared to the first two miles up Trail Canyon.

As you approach the slope below Mummy’s Toe, more bristlecone pines appear and the ground gets a little more rocky. It’s a short push to Raintree from there. This is the perfect spot to relax for a bit and grab something out of your pack to replenish. We spent about 30 minutes at Raintree and then pushed on. The section of North Loop that follows is a bit of a chore for tired legs. It’s uphill through the bristlecone forest and a tempting “short cut” can be seen on the slope to your left. I have done it before and it is harder than it looks. But if your legs are feeling good, just shoot up the slope on your left to the summit of the ridge for a great view. If not, follow the trail which will eventually double back and cross just below those that choose the short cut. Lots of photo opps from this section of trail. Las Vegas is visible below on a clear day and the twisted bristlecones offer some good shots.

Once you manage the ridge summit, it’s all downhill and switchbacks to the North Loop Trailhead and your awaiting ride.

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Trail Photos

Trail Notes

Had a nice rest at Raintree, a 3000 year old bristlecone pine. It is perhaps the oldest living tree in the Mt Charleston Wilderness. Had a great time with Brian, Trent and Jason. The weather was great but be sure to take lots of water and an extra layer. It can be windy on top and snow is present well into early summer. The pictures in the gallery below show lots of snow from our trip in mid-May. This "up and over" hike is a great workout and would be good conditioning for anyone looking to tackle something bigger like Charleston Peak.

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I'm the founder of Vestor Logic, the digital strategy and web design firm that created Trail Sherpa, ParksFolio, and Modern Steader. I'm a day hiker, top chef in camp, doting husband, and father to two headlamp wearing boys. My work in digital media brings those experiences to life.