Griffith Peak Summit: 11, 064 feet

This was a difficult hike in terms of both mileage (approximately 11 miles round trip), and elevation gain (about 3,000 vertical feet from the trail head to the peak).

I think that most of the folks who did this hike with me were feeling the burn (I know I was). Switchback after switchback was the name of the game, and as we gained elevation, I really started to feel it in both my legs and lungs.

The landscape, towards the peak, had an ominous feel to it, with twisted trees creating interesting silhouettes against a moody sky. As we hiked, I kept imagining this to be the land of a villain in a Disney Movie or something of that sort. The charred remnants of a forest fire only added to the fantasy – like maybe it was the backdrop for an epic battle in which the villain lost and was forced to flee the land.

Of course there were fire-breathing dragons…

I digress.

Closer to the top, the wind became more gusty and the pockets of sun were greatly appreciated to help ease the cold. We stopped for a quick lunch to refuel, took a few minutes to absorb the view and sign the visitor’s log, and then made our way back down the mountain.

For me personally, the way down was much easier than the way up. I felt a second wind from my lunch/caffeine, and I enjoyed the natural tendency to run here and there on the steeper parts of the trail. I know you’re not technically supposed to run going downhill, but I do it anyway because it’s fun. I’m a rebel like that. 😉

I would love to do this hike again – always up for a challenge!

This trail is located by Mount Charleston, about an hour or so from Las Vegas.

For more information on this hike, including directions to the trail head, I recommend visiting this article on