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Spring Mountains Visitor Center
Hiking Around Las Vegas, Spring Mountains (Mt. Charleston)
Spring Mountains Visitor Center
Turning out of the round-about (view S)

Overview

The Spring Mountains Visitor Center, or the Spring Mountains Visitor "Gateway" as they prefer to call it, is a typical visitor center on par with would be found in any National Park. Visitors can stop in and pick up maps, ask questions, peruse the educational displays to learn about the area, pick up souvenir trinkets, and perhaps attend an interpretative program.

Outside, there are several exhibits on the back porch (ecology, native peoples, cold war memorial), an amphitheater, and trailheads to short and longer walking trails. There is also a classroom that groups can use and a picnic area.

Link to map.

Spring Mountains Visitor Center
Approaching the Visitor Center ranch gate (view S)

Getting to the Spring Mountains Visitor Center

The Visitor Center is located in Kyle Canyon up in the Spring Mountains National Recreation Area, about 45 minutes northwest of Las Vegas.

From downtown, drive north on Highway 95 towards Reno for 17.0 miles. Just beyond the edge of urban Las Vegas, turn left onto Highway 157 (Kyle Canyon Road) towards Kyle Canyon.

Drive west on Kyle Canyon Road and head up the hill for 16.3 miles to a "round about." Drive 3/4 of the way around the loop and exit right under the ranch gate, which leads into the large visitor center parking lot. Continue towards the tall building ahead in the distance and find a convenient place to park.

Spring Mountains Visitor Center
Entering the big parking lot (view SW)

The Visitor Center

Inside the visitor center, displays provide information on several aspects of mountain history and ecology. Read about the native people who called this home and the loggers, miners, and settlers that came after them. Other displays provide information on how plants and animals survive in this arid and cold environment. Some species occur only on this "sky island." What does that mean and who are they? Stop in and find out.

Outside the visitor center, there are display signs about mountain ecology, there is a memorial to people who died in an airplane accident on the mountain on their way to work on a secret mission during the cold war, and there is an area where native peoples who lost this land are remembered (they didn't entirely go away). Staff provide educational discussions in the outdoor amphitheater.

In addition, short and somewhat longer trails begin from the back porch, and there is a nice picnic area.

Spring Mountains Visitor Center
Spring Mountains Visitor Center walkway entrance (view W)
Spring Mountains Visitor Center
Entrance sign (view S)
Spring Mountains Visitor Center Spring Mountains Visitor Center
Spring Mountains Visitor Center
Approaching the Visitor Center (view SW)
Spring Mountains Visitor Center
Outdoor map
Spring Mountains Visitor Center
Front Desk
Spring Mountains Visitor Center
Long suffering, but cheerful staff
Spring Mountains Visitor Center
Exhibit Hall
Spring Mountains Visitor Center
Exhibit Hall
Spring Mountains Visitor Center Spring Mountains Visitor Center
Spring Mountains Visitor Center Spring Mountains Visitor Center
Spring Mountains Visitor Center
Information about local people
Spring Mountains Visitor Center
Gift shop
Spring Mountains Visitor Center
Polarized glasses on loan
Spring Mountains Visitor Center
Upper window -- not much to see ...
Spring Mountains Visitor Center
... but hold up the polarized glasses ...
Spring Mountains Visitor Center
... and the miracle of light comes into play revealing a beautiful scene
Spring Mountains Visitor Center
Rare plants found only in the Spring Mountains
Spring Mountains Visitor Center
Back porch ecology information signs
Spring Mountains Visitor Center
Back porch with seating and winter fireplace
Spring Mountains Visitor Center
Cold War exhibit and memorial
Spring Mountains Visitor Center
Cold War exhibit and memorial
Spring Mountains Visitor Center
Cold War exhibit and memorial
Spring Mountains Visitor Center
Trails on the hillside across the valley
Spring Mountains Visitor Center
Native people's display
Spring Mountains Visitor Center
Native people's display
Spring Mountains Visitor Center
Native people's display
Spring Mountains Visitor Center
Outdoor amphitheater (view SW)
Spring Mountains Visitor Center
Picnic area in the distance (view NE)

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

Site Location UTM Easting UTM Northing Latitude (N) Longitude (W) Elevation (ft)
1609 Spring Mountains Visitor Center 626923 4014720 36.27089 115.58697 6,647
1610 Kyle Canyon Road at Visitor Center Road 627158 4014886 36.27236 115.58433 6,601

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

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