CATHEDRAL ROCK, NV
Trail Rating: Moderate
Distance: Approximately 3 miles roundtrip
Notes: First things first. Chipmunks! Palmer's Chipmunks to be exact. The top of Cathedral Rock is the only place in the world that you'll find them. And they are cute little rascally buggers. They have no fear and will come right up to you, especially if they hear you open up a bag of trail mix or break open your lunch. As tempting as it might be to toss them a treat, resist the urge. The more reliant they become on humans for food, the less of them we'll see up there. Why? In the winter, they survive solely on their gathering skills and if they lose their instinct to find food, they'll die off. So enjoy watching them scamper about, but leave them to find their own food and then they'll be around a lot longer.
Next up. The trail. Cathedral Rock is the pinnacle of rocks up at Mount Charleston, just outside of Las Vegas, Nevada. Hiking to the top is absolutely breathtaking (literally and figuratively)! From the trail head to the top, you're looking at 1.4 miles and 900 feet of elevation gain. If you take your time and rest along the trail at the benches conveniently placed at scenic view points, you'll make it up to the top, no problem. The trail has a steady incline as you follow the switchbacks to the top, but it gets particularly steep when you veer right (look for the brown wooden post with Cathedral written on it and an arrow pointing right) for the last tenth of a mile. Pace yourself as you climb the steps to the top and enjoy the view along the way.
Once there, the views are spectacular. To the west is Mount Charleston Peak, to the northwest, you'll see Mary Jane Falls, to the north is Mummy Mountain and to the east is Kyle Canyon with views extending out beyond Las Vegas. This is where you'll see the Palmer's Chipmunks racing in and out of rocks. As tempted as you might be to get the perfect picture on the cliff's edge, be cautious as it's a sheer drop 1,000 feet to the ground below. A fall from the top is definitely not worth "the shot", if you catch our drift. Do enjoy the beautiful scenic views though and bask in the tranquility that surrounds you! The top of Cathedral Rock is one of the most stunning views you'll see in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Trail conditions are always changing, so be careful out there and TREAD LIGHTLY. Leave no trace. Pack in. Pack out.