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Mt. Charleston Camping
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May 8, 2013
I will be heading out to Mt. Charleston for a few days and was wondering if there is free dispersed camping within a few miles of The Hood climbing area. I called the National Forest people but they weren't sure so maybe they don't own that land. She actually said people have been just popping up tents where ever they want. I haven't been up there in a few years but that doesn't sound right to me. Any recommendations or ideas on who owns the land?
Thanks
steve mullins
Joined Mar 17, 2010
0 points
May 8, 2013
if you drive past the roost passing it on your left there are two dirt roads on the right side before you come to the final turn, you can camp off those roads national forest style and there are two OK boulders there (conglomerate, the rock is much better at roost/ hood)


sorry, idk the names of the roads!
Jon O'Brien
From Nevada
Joined Apr 21, 2009
532 points
May 8, 2013
Great! I think that I found the roads you are talking about on Google maps. Before the Hilltop Campground area, correct? Thanks for the info steve mullins
Joined Mar 17, 2010
0 points
May 9, 2013
actually, i believe they have closed all free camping on the mountain- did that last year to the disappointment of alot of locals. there used to be a great free campground at the junction of the 156/158 (this is the one that Jon is talking about).

You'll have to pay if you want to camp on the mountain as far as i know. you may be able to camp backcountry for free- i'd check with the USFS (the curators of Mt. Charleston) to find out.
John Wilder
From Las Vegas, NV
Joined Feb 1, 2004
2,469 points
May 10, 2013
Rock Climbing Photo: beck on limestone
No Cost Car Camping...we'll the USFS made that pretty difficult. By keeping it very much on the down low you could camp in these three places for a few days. What the USFS focuses on is trash and fires rings left by picnickers....don't be one of those people...nough said.

You could pitch a tent are at the Echo trail parking lot trail-head off Echo Road by the wells. You could probably sleep in your pickup or van here if the neighbors did not complain. They might complain about noise, lights at night, public urination, feces, trash...you get the idea.

Second place is at the west end of Mary Jane Falls parking lot. Walk out west a bit and find a level site. East end of the parking lot has one level - sort of - space you could dirt bag in.

Third place is walking in to the old free camping area (now blocked to vehicles with boulders) just south and adjacent to the trail head parking lot off Echo Road which accesses The Hood. Please no campfires. It's already very dry up there.

There are side roads uphill of the Boy Scout Camp on the Deer Creek Road you could camp for a short time. That might be a shorter drive if you plan to climb at The Ice House, Glass House or Robber's Roost

I saw a van leveled up and parked overnight in the South Trail parking lot 2 weeks ago. No ranger hassle for those French climbers.

It's already hot on the south and east facing slopes of the Hood till after 2:00PM. Snow up there today to about 8500 ft but it will probably melt off fast.
Thomas Beck
From Las Vegas, Nevada
Joined Feb 5, 2006
960 points
May 13, 2013
Thanks for the info. Our camping will be minimal with no fires. I will give USFS a call today and see what they have to say. steve mullins
Joined Mar 17, 2010
0 points
May 30, 2016
Rock Climbing Photo: Storm over on Toms Thumb
Hey I will be at Mt. Charleston mid June and stumbled upon this. Was hoping to hear from more recent reports on where/how to camp for free at Mt. Charleston-$20 a night is ridiculous.

Where can you camp for free legitimately?
Pablo-Roberts
From Prescott, Arizona
Joined Feb 23, 2010
840 points
Jun 2, 2016
It's probably 45 minutes to an hour away but you can camp at Cold Creek for free at 7000' elevation. It is cool most of the summer. Eric-D
From Las Vegas, nv
Joined Sep 19, 2010
347 points
Jun 2, 2016
Pablo-Roberts wrote:
Hey I will be at Mt. Charleston mid June and stumbled upon this. Was hoping to hear from more recent reports on where/how to camp for free at Mt. Charleston-$20 a night is ridiculous. Where can you camp for free legitimately?


You cannot camp for free on USFS land at Mt Charleston- as already stated.

Unfortunately, gone are the days of super cheap camping on public lands- campgrounds are expensive to maintain and those costs must be paid for by someone.

There are more than a few threads complaining about the high cost of camping around the US ($38/night at the Gunks these days). If you're not willing to pay, then you must camp illegally and risk getting kicked out/fined. Thomas already pointed out your options in that respect.
John Wilder
From Las Vegas, NV
Joined Feb 1, 2004
2,469 points
Jun 2, 2016
Rock Climbing Photo: Bob Ross
Macks Canyon is a great place to camp, and it's free. Drive all the way in to the end of the road and set up. The turnoff for Macks Canyon is on Lee Canyon Rd. Chase D
Joined Apr 27, 2015
189 points
Jun 2, 2016
Rock Climbing Photo: Rapping Fitz
I've seen entire families with 2 room tents camp next to the Mary Jane Falls TH on more than 1 occasion. Never heard of the FS complaining about it and there are no signs there that say no camping (that my fuzzy memory can recall anyway). While not too private it's close to the car and fine for a bivy. Wouldn't leave a tent set up there though. earl mcalister
From Las Vegas, NV
Joined Aug 11, 2010
116 points
Jun 4, 2016
Rock Climbing Photo: Storm over on Toms Thumb
Thanks for the helpful info everybody. I appreciate everyone who still holds the value that camping in a pristine beautiful wilderness area should be free.

Anybody know about the backpacking? Could I just backpack in somewhere and camp off the trail. Usually in just about every wildness area that is legit.
Pablo-Roberts
From Prescott, Arizona
Joined Feb 23, 2010
840 points
Jun 4, 2016
Lots of people camp around the junction of trail canyon and the north loop trail area. Park at the trail canyon trailhead. Its a 2 mile hike but worth the views and its fairly flat. But I wont give away any of the secret amazing spots though. Locals only lol Jacob Koffler
From Las Vegas
Joined Jan 26, 2014
13 points
Jun 4, 2016
Rock Climbing Photo: Vegas the Dog
All well and good for free, but most pristine wilderness areas aren't within a 30 minute drive of over 2 million people. Gotta find some management balance in there regarding user impacts. JF1
From Las Vegas
Joined Jan 16, 2011
390 points
Jun 5, 2016
Rock Climbing Photo: We shall continue with style
Hope all of you renegade campers are atleast camping without a fire.....LAST thing our mtns need is another carpenter1 fire!!! BigB
From Red Rock, NV
Joined Feb 18, 2015
230 points
Jun 5, 2016
Agreed. Im definitely not suggesting anybody do any renegade camping. Backpacking on the north loop trail is acceptable I thought? For car camping Macks canyon is great, but in both cases fires aren't even allowed right now. Another fire would be devastating. Jacob Koffler
From Las Vegas
Joined Jan 26, 2014
13 points


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