Little Falls Trail - Summary Page

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This page last updated on 03/24/2017

(Fig. 01)

(Fig. 02)

Directions/Location: From Las Vegas, head North on US-95, turn left at NV-157 (Kyle Canyon Road) crossing over Southbound US-95. Take NV-157 up Mount Charleston approximately 21 miles to the summit at the Mt Charleston Village. Total distance from downtown Las Vegas is about 35 miles. Near the top, the road goes around a big hairpin bend to the left, winds up a hill, and shortly arrives at the entrance (on the right) to the gated two parking areas to the Cathedral Rock and Little Falls Trailheads (Fig. 02).

(Fig. 03)
Back in 2011, there were two parking areas on both sides of the road and these trailheads used to be located directly off of Kyle Canyon Road (Red dot on the map in Fig. 02). There used to be a set of stairs (Fig. 04) that led to the intersection of these two lower trailheads.

(Fig. 04)

Hike Description: Today, Jim Herring ans I used the old trailhead location on (Fig. 02) as our starting point. From here the total R/T distance of this hike is about 1.5 miles with an elevation of 700 feet. Elevation: 8,223 feet to 8,923 feet. From here, the trail runs southeast through a forest of pine and fir trees to the base of an avalanche chute where many logs get piled up by the winter snows. The trail ends in a narrow limestone box-canyon at the base of the Little Falls waterfall where water pours down several, impassible steps during the spring and early summer. This trail, much more rocky towards the end, is more strenuous than one first assumes. The waterfall is not very big, but does have flowing water most of the year.

03/24/2017 Trip Notes:  I have hiked this trail twice, today and once in the Fall of 2011. The pictures in (Fig. 01) show the area of the falls at the end of the trail. As we stepped off the road, the snow was still several feet deep, and in some places we sunk nearly to our knees in a few places. In the first part of the trail we were rewarded with several views of Cathedral Rock and the surrounding mountains (Figs. 05 - 07). About near the half way point we reached a spot where we could view the avalanche chute on the north side of the trail (Figs. 08 & 09). (Con't below)
(Fig. 05)
(Fig. 06)
(Fig. 07)
(Fig. 08) Looking down the Avalanche Chute 
(Fig. 09) Looking up the Avalanche Chute
Trip Notes Continued: Staying in the trees and following the edge of the avalanche chute, the trail climbs towards a cleft in the cliffs above (Fig. 10). Near the cliffs, pines and firs are left behind, and only flexible trees (aspen, maple) and forbs that can survive avalanches remain. The trail ends in a narrow limestone box-canyon at the base of the Little Falls waterfall where water pours down several, impassible steps during the spring and early summer (Figs. 11 & 12). The blurry spot in (Fig. 12) where the arrow is pointing is the only visible area where water is flowing. The pictures in (Fig. 01) show the difference between my Fall visit in 2011 and today's trip. From this point on, all the water is flowing beneath the snow and ice build up in the canyon. There were several places along the sides of the cliffs that indicated the snow was nearly 10 to 12 feet deep (Fig. 13). (Fig. 14) is a view of the canyon on the return back down.
(Fig. 10)
(Fig. 11)
(Fig. 12)
(Fig. 13)
(Fig. 14)
09/08/2011 Trip Notes: The following seven pictures are some of the trail views on the way to the falls. The first four pictures (Figs. 15 thru 18) are of the trees and plants found along the trail. The final two shots (Figs. 19 & 20) show the actual water fall. As you can see, the whole avalanche chute is littered with broken logs that are the result of the huge snow masses that break loose from high in the mountains and swoop down the gully knocking down trees and everything else in the way. (Remember: clicking a photo lets you view it full-screen)
(Fig. 15)
(Fig. 16)

(Fig. 17)
(Fig. 18)

(Fig. 19)

(Fig. 20)