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Lower Telephone Canyon Trail
Hiking Around Las Vegas, Mount Charleston Area, Kyle Canyon
Lower Telephone Canyon Trail
Lower Telephone Canyon Trail
Trailhead Parking area (Wpt. 01)

Overview

The Lower Telephone Canyon Trail is a fairly easy partial loop trail in the pinyon-juniper forest of Lower Kyle Canyon, an area becoming popular with hikers and mountain bikers. This trail begins along Kyle Canyon Road and follows or parallels Telephone Canyon Road about half-way up Telephone Canyon, ending at an open area on a hillside with pleasant views and a good stopping point for lunch. Coming back down, an alternate ending makes the partial loop. This is a good place to hike between seasons when higher elevations are snow-covered and lower elevations are getting too hot.

Link to Hiking Map.

Lower Telephone Canyon Trail
Beginning of the trail

Watch Out

Other than the standard warnings about hiking in the mountains, this trail is pretty safe and without unusual hazards except for careening mountain bikers. The trail is not very strenuous, making it a nice way to hike at moderate elevations with few oxygen deficit issues.

While hiking, please respect the land and the other people out there, and try to Leave No Trace of your passage. This hike is not in a too remote area, so just bring what you need of the 10 Essentials.

Lower Telephone Canyon Trail
Hikers on Telephone Canyon Road

Getting to the Trailhead

This hike is located up in the Spring Mountains National Recreation Area along Kyle Canyon Road below the tall trees and Spring Mountains Visitor Center, about 30 minutes northwest of Las Vegas. From Las Vegas, drive out highway 95 to Kyle Canyon Road, then up the the Lower Telephone Canyon Trailhead.

Lower Telephone Canyon Trail
Departing Telephone Canyon Road (Wpt. 03)

The Hike

From the trailhead (Table 1, Waypoint 01), the trail runs north-northwest on the little used Telephone Canyon Road. Almost immediately, the trail crosses a washed out gully that stops most vehicles from starting this way (drivers can go around). Shortly beyond the ditch, the trail intersects Forest Road 45530A (Wpt 02). Coming back, the partial loop rejoins the out-bound trail here.

Through this area, the route gently climbs the alluvial fan below Telephone Canyon where the vegetation is dominated by Curl-leaf Mountain Mahogany, Big Sagebrush, and a few Singleleaf Pinyon Pine and Utah Juniper.

Lower Telephone Canyon Trail
Nice views above S-curves (view NW)

Continuing north-northwest on Telephone Canyon Road, the road intersects a horse trail at about 0.35 miles out. Hikers returning via the partial loop will see this trail again. Continuing north-northwest, the trail reaches a trail junction (Wpt. 03) with a mountain bike trail just as Telephone Canyon Road begins to enter Telephone Canyon.

At the trail junction (Wpt. 03), this trail turns left and follows the mountain bike trail as it climbs the hillside above on gently sloped S-curves, eventually gaining some elevation above the canyon bottom. With few trees, there are nice views out over Kyle Canyon from this area.

Lower Telephone Canyon Trail
Nice views above S-curves (view NW)

The trail climbs through several curves, then angles off across the hillside generally following the contour up into the canyon. Staying more-or-less level, the trail runs northwest into the canyon, but the canyon bottom continues to rise, and eventually (about 1 mile out) the trail ends up back in the bottom of the canyon and in a dense forest of pinyon pine, juniper, and Gambel Oak. In this forest, watch for Panamint Chipmunks, the lower-elevation cousin of the Mt. Charleston Chipmunk.

The bottom of the canyon is broad enough that the trail runs separately from the old road, and although there seem to be lots of little trails running here and there, they stay in the bottom of the canyon and the "main" trail is fairly easy to follow. Of course, hikers could always walk on the dirt road, but the trees block the view of the road, so hikers might not be aware of the nearby road.

Lower Telephone Canyon Trail
Nice views above S-curves (view NW)

After winding among the trees for about 1 mile, the trail reaches a more obvious junction with another mountain bike trail (Wpt. 04). At this point, the route leaves the main trail and begins climbing the hillside to the west. Shortly, another trail junction is reached (Wpt. 05), and at that point, the route wanders off trail into an opening with nice views (Wpt. 06). This is the end of the "Lower" Telephone Canyon Trail and a nice place to sit, relax, take in the view (as good as it gets), and eat a bit of lunch.

Hikers could wander farther up Telephone Canyon on trails that eventually would reach the Robber's Roost Trailhead or even Hilltop Campground.

Lower Telephone Canyon Trail
Nice views above S-curves (view NW)

Heading down, the hike follows the trail back down through the forest and down the sunny S-curves to Telephone Canyon Road (Wpt. 03). However, at this point, the hike continues across Telephone Canyon Road, staying on the bike trail, which also is used by horses at this point (evidenced by dust and stink). This begins the partial loop.

Fortunately, the horses quickly leave the trail at a junction where hikers stay to the left (Wpt. 07); the remainder of this segment of trail is much less dusty. The trail eventually intersects an old road (Wpt 08) and turns right. Following the road west, it intersects Telephone Canyon Road (Wpt. 02) to close the partial loop. Turning left onto Telephone Canyon Road, the hike crosses the gully and returns to the trailhead (Wpt. 01).

Lower Telephone Canyon Trail
Hiker among trees in bottom of Telephone Canyon (view NW)
Lower Telephone Canyon Trail
Hiker among trees in bottom of Telephone Canyon (view NW)
Lower Telephone Canyon Trail
Hikers at lunch spot (Wpt. 06; view W)
Lower Telephone Canyon Trail
Nice view at lunch spot (Wpt. 06; view W)
Lower Telephone Canyon Trail
Top of the S-curves (view S)
Lower Telephone Canyon Trail
Hikes crossing Telephone Canyon; starting partial loop (view SE)
Lower Telephone Canyon Trail
Scenery (view W up Kyle Canyon to Mt. Charleston)
Lower Telephone Canyon Trail
Scenery (view SE across Kyle Canyon to La Madre Mountain)
Lower Telephone Canyon Trail
Hiker on trail (view S)
Lower Telephone Canyon Trail
Hikers on Forest Road 45530A nearing the trailhead (view W)

Table 1. Hiking Coordinates Based on GPS Data (NAD27; UTM Zone 11S). Download Hiking GPS Waypoints (*.gpx) file.

Wpt. Location UTM Easting UTM Northing Elevation (ft) Point-to-Point Distance (mi) Cumulative Distance (mi) Verified
01 Trailhead 628520 4014746 6,267 0.00 0.00 GPS
02 Forest Road 25871 628499 4014811 6,289 0.05 0.05 GPS
03 Mtn. Bike Trail 628268 4015592 6,506 0.51 0.56 GPS
04 Trail Junction 626589 4016702 7,048 1.44 2.00 GPS
05 Trail Junction 626578 4016685 7,056 0.02 2.02 GPS
06 Lunch Spot 626581 4016670 7,079 0.02 2.04 GPS
03 Mtn Bike Trail 628268 4015592 6,506 1.45 3.49 GPS
07 Trail Junction 628535 4015415 6,508 0.23 3.72 GPS
08 Road Junction 628944 4014803 6,321 0.54 4.26 GPS
02 Forest Road 25871 628499 4014811 6,289 0.29 4.55 GPS
01 Trailhead 628520 4014746 6,267 0.05 4.60 GPS

Happy Hiking! All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate.
copyright; Last updated 170721

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