Summer at Lee Canyon by Stephanie Forte
People say Lee Canyon is an escape from Las Vegas. Still, locals who have already adopted the mountain lifestyle see it differently. Lee Canyon is an escape from the city heat, yet it is very much a part of life in Las Vegas. Especially in the summer. What guests can expect at Lee Canyon during phase one of its summer 2020 opening:
Friday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Dogs are welcome but they must be on a leash.
MEXICO TO ALASKA IN UNDER AN HOUR
Cool mountain breezes roll off Lee Peak, elevation 11, 289 feet, leaving Lee Canyon’s trails and base area (8,510 feet), up to 25 degrees cooler than Las Vegas. In the thick of our desert summer, this change in temperature can feel extreme and inviting. Yet it’s the transformation of the landscape that takes most people by surprise.
Traveling through several eco-zones on the drive from Las Vegas, elevation 2,001 feet, to Lee Canyon, the experience has been compared to going from Mexico to Alaska. But this drive takes less than an hour from most points in the valley.
The journey to Lee Canyon starts in the desert shrub lands that include creosote bush, black brush, and Joshua trees. Next, guests go through the low-conifer zone’s evergreen pinyon pines and juniper trees. The drive concludes in the high-conifer zone, with its ponderosa, limber and bristlecone pine trees along with white fir trees. Dramatic limestone cliffs line the mountainside, perched both among the treed and above the tree line, while wild horses roam the trails.
HIKING & HILLSIDE LODGE
For years, hikers have paired logging steps at the nearby Bristlecone Trail with a post-hike lunch or après-hike cocktail on the deck at Lee Canyon. The Bristlecone Trail offers hikers two options, the Upper Bristlecone that’s roughly 6.3-mile round-trip or the Lower Bristlecone’s 5.5-mile out-and-back experience. Whatever route a hiker chooses, there’s an entirely new summer dining experience at Lee Canyon.
In January 2020, Lee Canyon cut the ribbon on the new 10,000 sq. ft. Hillside Lodge that has been called the most significant transformation to Lee Canyon since its opening more than 50 years ago. The two-story Hillside Lodge offers a modern feel with indoor and outdoor spaces.
With sweeping views of the mountain landscape, guest can enjoy snack from Brewin Burro, Lee Canyon coffee house, on the deck of Hillside.
SCENIC CHAIRLIFT RIDES
The Sherwood chairlift whisks visitors from the base-area above the trees to an elevation of 9,310 feet. Guests get a magnificent bird’s eye views of the mountain. Chairlift riders can opt for a round-trip experience or exit the chairlift and hike down to the base area.
Cost: $8 for adults, $5 for youth (age 6-17) and kids under 5 are free
Winter season pass holders get one complimentary chairlift ride per day; they must present their pass.
DISC GOLF COURSE
Lee Canyon’s 18-hole disc golf course, rated No. 1 in the Las Vegas Valley, starts players at 9,310 feet in elevation before leading them to hike down the mountain to each hole. Players access the start of the course by riding the Sherwood chair, though some locals opt to tackle the roughly 40-minute uphill hike.
While the course is best suited for intermediate to advanced players, Lee Canyon’s community of disc golfers are welcoming, so beginners are encouraged to build their skills. Sturdy footwear is recommended.
$50 Disc golf season pass
Rental packages: $16
WHAT ABOUT COVID?
Lee Canyon is committed to safety for you, our employees and the Mount Charleston community. Guidelines are in place to mitigate exposure, and Lee Canyon will continue to monitor and follow all guidance regarding safe operations from Gov. Sisolak, and local authorities.
- Employees will continue to practice exceptional hygiene with hand washing, hand sanitizer, face coverings, physical distancing, frequent disinfection of frequently use items.
- Guests will be under guidelines to practice exceptional hygiene, including hand washing, hand sanitizer, social distancing and abiding by lee Canyon’s informational signage regarding COVID-19 protocols.
- Both guests and employees who feel sick should stay home and contact their medical provider.
- Anyone who does not wish to abide by Lee Canyon’s COVID-19 protocols will be asked to stay home.