Most visitors to Las Vegas don’t think of hiking when traveling to Sin City but to the outdoor enthusiast it might elicit enough excitement to agree to a road trip.
My idea of fun doesn’t involve sitting in a smoky casino losing my money and fantasizing about all of the gear I could have purchased with what I lost gambling. I would rather be hiking and jumped at chance to visit Mary Jane Falls with my sister-in-law.
The trail starts on an easy and wide gravel path. It travels through Ponderosa Pines and Fir as well as aspens and mountain mahogany. The 7800 – 8800 feet elevation makes it the perfect spot to escape the heat of Las Vegas.
It isn’t until about the last third of a mile that the trail gets harder. A few switchbacks may make the inexperienced hiker ready for a rest but the experienced hiker will find the moderately rated trail on the easier side. The falls lie in a straight shot just beyond the switchbacks. We hiked mid-spring and encountered some snow which we passed over with caution.
The spring runoff created plenty of water for the falls. Two caves, located at the bottom of the falls, also have water dripping over them. The day we hiked, a group of hikers had already filled the cave so we watched instead of venturing into them.
Overall, at 2.5 miles round trip, Mary Jane Trail is a great out and back for the beginner or intermediate hiker. I enjoyed the views of the mountains and still can’t believe of all of the times I’ve visited Las Vegas, I’ve never taken the time to hike the surrounding areas. Next time I visit Las Vegas, I would like to explore the longer trails on Mt. Charleston. Make sure to visit on a weekday as weekends get busy.
Getting to Mary Jane Falls Trail from Las Vegas:
Take I-15 North out of Las Vegas to US-95 toward Reno.Turn left at NV-157 and take 2nd left on roundabout onto Echo Road. At .35 miles take the left fork on Echo Road until the road ends. Park in the parking lot and use the restroom facilities at the lot instead of on the hiking trail.