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Echo Trail
Hiking Around Las Vegas, Spring Mountains (Mt. Charleston), Kyle Canyon
Echo Trail
 
Echo Trail
Echo Trail information sign

Note: Trails in the Carpenter 1 Fire area are closed. Check with the Forest Service.

Overview

Echo Trail runs for about 1.2 miles between Echo Trailhead and Cathedral Rock Trailhead. The west half of the trail mostly runs on old roads, with some steep bits, and the east half runs on a regular trail. The entire trail runs through a forest of ponderosa pine and white fir beneath Cathedral Rock.

The trail provides some nice views to the north across Kyle Canyon, and it runs across the bottom of an avalanche chute strewn with the remains of a forest that once was higher up the hillside. This trail also provides access to the Little Falls Trail.

Link to map.

Echo Trail
Start of Echo Trail (note sign on the left)

Watch Out

Other than the standard warnings about hiking in the desert, ...this trail seems more strenuous than it should be, so take it easy at this elevation if you've just come up from the desert (the air is thin up here at nearly 8,000-ft elevation). Other than that, the trail is safe and easy to follow, but keep an eye out for trail junctions.

While hiking, please respect the land and the other people out there, and try to Leave No Trace of your passage. Also, even though this hike is short, be sure to bring what you need of the 10 Essentials.

Echo Trail
Echo Trail sign at the trailhead (Wpt. 01)

Getting to the Trailhead

This hike is located in Kyle Canyon up in the Spring Mountains National Recreation Area, about 1 hour northwest of Las Vegas. From town, drive out to the Spring Mountains Visitor Center, then continue up the road, staying right onto Echo Road, to the Echo Trailhead.

Hikers can also access this trail from the Cathedral Rock Trailhead.

Echo Trail
Trail starts heading up Kyle Canyon (view W)

The Hike

From the Echo Trailhead (Table 1, Waypoint 01), the trail starts running northwest as if to go up Kyle Canyon, but shortly the trail bends to the left, crosses Kyle Creek, and climbs the far hillside heading up and to the southeast on an old road going down Kyle Canyon. The old road, cutting up and across the hillside, can be seen from the trailhead.

The trail runs up into a forest where ponderosa pine and white fir trees provide intermittent shade. A forest of these two conifer species indicate that this area is in the Canadian (Pine-Fir Forest) Life Zone.

Echo Trail
Trail bends left and climbs to the southeast (view S)

The trail climbs the hillside, then levels out some with open areas providing views towards the Coxcomb and other limestone cliffs to the north across the canyon. Here, the trail runs on an old road. At about 0.28 miles out, the old road forks (Wpt. 02). A small sign and some rocks indicate the turn, but it would be easy to miss.

The trail turns right on an old road that climbs the hillside at a stiff grade. When the trail begins to level out, the old road forks again (Wpt. 03). The trail turns downhill to the left, beginning the descent into Little Falls Canyon. It is obvious at the fork that many people turn to right and continue hiking up the old road. That road ends at a flat area, but a use-trail continues very steeply up the hillside, eventually climbing above the cliffs and into the high country.

Echo Trail
Echo Trail crosses Kyle Creek (view SE)

Staying on Echo Trail (Wpt. 03), the old road descends the hillside to a point (Wpt. 04) where the trail turns right and heads into the woods (now a "real" trail). The trail winds around and eventually crosses the bottom of an avalanche chute strewn with the remains of a forest that once was higher up the hillside but has been carried by snow to this point. This is a good example of the power of moving snow.

The trail crosses avalanche chute and Little Falls Creek, and then climbs the far bank to a junction (Wpt. 05) with Little Falls Trail. The Echo Trail turns left to run downhill, but hikers can turn right and hike uphill about 0.3 miles to Little Falls.

Staying left on Echo Trail, the trail runs gently downhill to a point below the towering north face of Cathedral Rock. In the old days, this was a trailhead, but now the trail continues southeast, wrapping around Cathedral Rock.

Echo Trail
Echo Trail on hillside above Kyle Creek

The trail climbs along the hillside, now with dense trees and lots of shade, to a highpoint beneath the east face of Cathedral Rock. The trail turns downhill, winds through a couple of switchback along the edge of the Mazie Canyon avalanche chute, then arrives at a trail junction (Wpt. 06) with the Cathedral Rock Trail.

The Cathedral Rock Trail turns right to run uphill, while the Echo Trail stays left (straight) continuing downhill. Shortly, the trail arrives at another trail junction (Wpt. 07). Here, the South Loop Trail turns right and runs up into the high country, while the Echo Trail turns left on the level.

Staying left, the trailhead parking lots quickly come into view as the trail drops towards the pavement (Wpt. 08) and the end of the trail at the Cathedral Rock Trailhead.

Echo Trail
Looking back down the trail to a grand mountain view
Echo Trail
Grand mountain view of the Coxcomb
Echo Trail
Scenery
Echo Trail
Old road forks and trail turns right (Wpt. 02)
Echo Trail
Old road climbs at a stiff grade (view SE)
Echo Trail
Old road forks and trail turns left (Wpt. 03)
Echo Trail
Trail descends old road into Little Falls Canyon (view SE)
Echo Trail
Old road forks and trail turns right (Wpt. 04)
Echo Trail
Trail entering Little Falls avalanche zone (view SE)
Echo Trail
Echo Trail at Little Falls Trail (Wpt. 05)
Echo Trail
Trail sign on Echo Trail at Little Falls Trail (Wpt. 05)
Echo Trail
Trail sign on Echo Trail at Little Falls Trail (Wpt. 05)
Echo Trail
Continuing along the trail (view NE)
Echo Trail
Looking back down the trail (view SW)
Echo Trail
Trail in the shade of Cathedral Rock (view SE)
Echo Trail
Hiker coming down the trail (view SE)
Echo Trail
Approaching the highest point along the trail (view SE)
Echo Trail
Echo-Cathedral Rock Trail junction (view E)
Echo Trail
Sign at Echo-Cathedral Rock Trail junction (view W)
Echo Trail
Sign at Echo-Cathedral Rock Trail junction (view E)
Echo Trail
Echo-South Loop Trail junction (view W)
Echo Trail
Sign at Echo-South Loop Trail junction (view W)
Echo Trail
Approaching the trailhead (Lower Parking; view SE)
Echo Trail
Approaching the trailhead (Upper Parking; view NW)
Echo Trail
End of the trail (view E)
more to come ...

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

Wpt. Location UTM Easting UTM Northing Elevation (ft) Point-to-Point Distance (mi) Cumulative Distance (mi) Verified
01 Echo Trailhead 620941 4013699 7,651 0.00 0.00 GPS
02 Trail 621128 4013428 7,769 0.27 0.27 GPS
03 Trail Junction 621153 4013293 7,772 0.10 0.37 GPS
04 Trail 621211 4013219 7,779 0.08 0.45 GPS
05 Echo-Little Falls Trail Junction 621251 4013102 7,766 0.09 0.54 GPS
06 Echo-Cathedral Trail Junction 621724 4012921 7,728 0.48 1.02 GPS
07 Echo-South Loop Trail Junction 621802 4012928 7,716 0.05 1.07 GPS
08 Cathedral Rock Trailhead 621731 4013026 7,713 0.11 1.18 GPS
01 Echo Trailhead 620941 4013699 7,651 1.18 2.36 GPS

 
Note: All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate.
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© 2014 Jim Boone; Last updated 130603

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