Summary: This is no longer a designated or maintained trail by USFS, but it's too great of a spot to keep it hidden. Follow the directions for Mary Jane Falls and begin on that trail until you reach the base of the switchbacks. At this point, leave the MJ trail (turns R up the mtn.) and go straight up the old gravel road into the canyon. You can follow the path as it heads along the wash rocks and eventually turns into a bouldering route. If the water is running, follow the path along the R side, eventually heading up either the steep L or R slopes when you find a 20 ft. waterfall and boulders blocking your way. I've been up both sides and they're about the same difficulty - scrambling up a game trail, loose rocks. Take heart, it's a really easy path, albeit sloping once you're up top. You can see Big Falls from here and a tilting old wood USFS marker on the R or W slope along the path. Keep going to the incredible falls - it really roars in early spring, pool at base.
Trailhead: I-15 N from Las Vegas to 95 N towards Reno, W on SR 157 (Mt. Charleston-Kyle Canyon) continue past the hotel, 2 miles W of USFS ranger station, to Echo Road. This is where the road curves sharply to the left to head up into old town and the lodge. Instead, continue to the R (almost straight) as it becomes Echo Road. Turn L at the fork (signed) onto the gravel road and park at the trailhead for Mary Jane Falls. Big Falls is an UNDESIGNATED trail which is no longer maintained by the USFS. The rocks in Big Falls Canyon are very slippery, and this hike is mostly bouldering (much like you would find in Red Rock Canyon) so be very careful of your footing. You will need to follow some game paths up along the slopes more than halfway into this hike, so be very careful with small children and dogs. To the L (E) above and beyond Big Falls is the "hard" way to Charleston Peak -- this is a mountaineering route and not for the novice. Water is always cold at Big Falls! (Lat:36.26762 Lon:-115.66354)
Trail Guides for Big Falls:
Hiking Around Las Vegas
by Jim Boone (Jim L. Boone)
USFS free trail guide handout for Spring Mtns (pickup at visitor center Kyle Canyon)
by Spring Mountains Natl Rec Area (USFS and USFWS)
120 Best Hikes in Southern Nevada and Beyond (CD)
by Branch Whitney (Branch Whitney)
Best Seasons: Fall, Spring, Summer,
User Groups: Hikers, Dogs,
Ranger Contact: USFS - Humboldt-Toiyabe NF, Spring Mtns NRA (702) 515-5400, emerg (702) 872-5306
Localhikes Reporter: This hike was submitted by Kat Green, who has posted 86 other hikes on this site
Trail Reviews Page 1 of 4 Submit your own review
Reviewed by AP on 9/13/2012
AJV - I've hiked this route 4 times, and it definitely sounds like you were heading the right way. I believe it is about half a mile up the wash, but with all the boulder hopping the hike can start to feel a bit longer. If you just keep going up the wash, you'll eventually hit the falls. However, by July the falls are usually a trickle. It's best to go in late Spring (early May or so).
Reviewed by AJV on 7/23/2012
We attempted this hike Sunday 7/22/12. I say attempted because we were unable to find the falls. Unfortunately the markers we were told to look out for were very vague and a "fallen tree" or "boulder." We'd really like to be able to visit this site if anybody can help out with more specific directions. We followed the gravel road into the canyon and up what we thought was the right wash but found ourselves just climbing/scrabbling with no real direction. We had two dogs with us so eventually we were forced to head back toward the shade. Does anybody have insight on how far it is up the wash or how you can determine you're heading in the right direction?
Reviewed by MD on 6/20/2011
Did this hike today and had a great time. Nice to scramble over boulders and get off the beaten path. Did this hike with my 7 yr old daughter and she no no problem what so ever. She had a blast. Waterfall was raging and never seen anything like that before at Mt. Charleston. I would strongly recommend over Mary Jane Falls which I hiked last week.
Reviewed by Slarti on 6/5/2011
This is a nice trail that has a good end. I like it better than MJ Falls which is always crowded and has garbage. Big Falls is a better waterfall too. As far as dogs go, it's great! I have two pits that love this hike, though the limestone can be a bit tough on their feet. A lot of the limestone is the rough and pointy type, almost like rock velcro. Overall, it's great for tough dogs that can handle some paw abuse. In spring the waterfall is powerful like a huge fire hose
Reviewed by Brian on 4/27/2011
Haven't done the trail. Wondering if a German Shepard would be able to do this hike. She is pretty good at climbing.
Reviewed by Greg on 6/20/2010
I hiked up to Big Falls on 06/18/10 with a couple buddies. Man! What a site! I've done Mary Jane a couple times and been disappointed by the small water flow. We decided to do Big Falls and was amazed. This baby was gushing this week. Worth the rock scrambling required to make it to the end. Just be careful walking up near the fall on the ice. We walked right up to the edge with no problems then climbed up on the ledge to the left of the fall for a snack break. While we were sitting up there a HUGE chunk of the ice we had just been standing on crashed into the pool. I'm sure it's only getting more and more dangerous as the weather heats up. Be careful on the ice.
Reviewed by Mike on 6/10/2010
Spectacular waterfall!!! The last 1/4 mile of the stream was covered by snow and I could hear the water rushing beneath it. Lots of water coming down, crashing onto the rocks, through a cut out hole, about 15ft below the snowpack. Went there last week. Will go again sometime.
Reviewed by Gregg on 6/3/2010
Big falls hike on 5/22/10. Once we got into the wash, a whole lot of snow still there. In fact, the 20 ft boulder you have to scramble around was completely buried under the snow. We did trek through up to the falls. Going to go back when a little more snow melts.
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