About Little Falls
Little Falls was a surprisingly attractive and reliable spring-fed waterfall in the Mt Charleston area despite its name.
Not only did this roughly 30-50ft waterfall tumble over multiple drops, but it sat within a tightly-squeezed canyon beneath Cathedral Rock further adding to its scenic allure.
Unlike the popular but typically trickling Mary Jane Falls further up Kyle Canyon, Little Falls showed itself as a more legitimate waterfall with good flow even well into Summer.
Case in point, I visited this waterfall in mid-August 2020, and as you can see in the photo above, it still put on quite a show.
In fact, I’d argue that it was way more scenic than it was during my late April 2017 visit when a lot of snow covered it up.
Of course, given my observations, if I had to time a visit for maximum flow and minimum snow, then I’d guess that late June or early July would be best.
That said, the narrow canyon that Little Falls sat in tended to be in shade most of the day so conceivably it tended to hold onto its accumulated Winter snow.
I’d imagine that also helped enhance the reliability of this waterfall, especially since I noticed water pipes in the area.
Such piping infrastructure was a sure sign that someone else thought this spot had enough water to justify setting these things up here.
As for accessing Little Falls, there were two approaches – one from the Cathedral Rock Trailhead and another from the Echo Trailhead.
Hiking to Little Falls from the Cathedral Rock Trailhead
The most obvious and popular way to access Little Falls was by starting from the Upper Parking Lot for the Cathedral Rock Trailhead (see directions below).
From the end of the upper parking lot I followed an obvious trail past a trash container that followed the contours of the northern base of Cathedral Rock.
It followed this path west as it followed Kyle Canyon Road until it ascended to a trail junction almost a quarter-mile from the start.
I kept right (west) to continue heading towards Little Falls (ignoring incoming spur trails coming up from private properties).
The path on the left switched back towards the Cathedral Rock itself.
Anyways, as I continued on, I reached a signed trail junction in about 500ft, where the trail from the Echo Trailhead came in from the right.
Note that this sign at the trail junction was the first mention of Little Falls on this hike.
I kept going straight ahead from this junction, which continued a gradual climb as the trail also started to narrow the higher up it went.
Eventually, the path was pretty much within the tight canyon containing Little Falls, where I also started to notice water pipes as well as graffiti on the cliff walls.
I’d imagine that it was in this narrow canyon that my GPS devices started acting crazy as they couldn’t get a line-of-sight to the GPS satellites for a fix.
After another quarter-mile or so, the trail eventually went around a bend to the left, where it reached its dead-end right in front of the Little Falls.
According to my trip notes, it took me about an hour away from the car to complete this hike, including the moments I had enjoying the waterfall.
Hiking to Little Falls from the Echo Trailhead
When I first visited Little Falls, I actually started from the Echo Trailhead (see directions below).
Even though this trail was about 1.7 miles round-trip, I actually got lost trying to find Little Falls because there were lots of false trails conspiring to lead me astray.
In fact, I managed to find a bonus waterfall that I called “Medium Falls” during that moment where I was going the wrong way in pursuit of Little Falls.
Anyways, the way I ultimately did this hike correctly was by first crossing a dry wash next to the Echo Trailhead.
Right across the wash was an easy-to-miss sign pointing the way east saying “Trail”.
Note that I had previously made the mistake of following the wash to the west (in the direction of Mary Jane Falls).
In any case, I followed the trail as it climbed and then reached another fork where another “Trail” sign pointed to my right.
The trail continued to climb somewhat gradually before reaching a confusing trail junction with an “Echo Trail” sign pointing in both directions (left and right).
It turned out that I had to go left at this junction, but I did briefly explore going right from that sign, which degenerated into a very steep scramble and caused me to turn back.
Eventually after making it about 0.6 miles from the Echo Trailhead, I then finally reached the signed junction where the Little Falls Trail continued on the right.
Like with the Cathedral Rock Trailhead approach, this sign at the trail junction was the first mention of Little Falls (though I’m not even sure if that sign was there when I did it back in late April 2017).
In any case, I then followed the remaining 0.3-mile uphill to the end of the trail and the Little Falls as described earlier.
Little Falls resides in the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest near Las Vegas in Clark County, Nevada. It is administered by the USDA Forest Service. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, you can try visiting their website.
To access Little Falls, I could have started hiking from the Cathedral Rock Trailhead or the Echo Trailhead.
I’ll describe directions to both from the Las Vegas so you can choose how you’d like to start this excursion.
So from the Las Vegas Strip, I drove onto the I-15 north towards the US95 Freeway heading west.
I then followed the US95 for about 16 miles before turning left onto Kyle Canyon Rd.
Then, I drove on Kyle Canyon Rd (NV-157) for about 20 miles going through the village of Mt Charleston.
At this point, I had a choice of leaving the NV-157 by turning right onto Echo Drive or keeping left to cross the bridge and continue on Kyle Canyon Rd.
Turning right onto Echo Drive would have led to the Echo Trailhead (as there was a brown sign for Trail Canyon and Mary Jane Falls directing me to turn this way at this point).
The Echo Trailhead was another 0.1-mile on Echo Drive, where there was a small parking area on the left.
Keeping left to continue on the Kyle Canyon Rd (NV-157), the road crossed a bridge as it curved and continued past some private buildings.
Eventually, I reached the signed turnoff for Cathedral Rock on the right, which was about a half-mile from the Echo Rd turnoff.
After ascending the spur road into the Cathedral Rock Trailhead area, there was a lower parking lot straight ahead as well as the upper parking lot on the right.
The one on the right was the closest starting point for Little Falls though I suspect that the one on the left might have been closer for Cathedral Rock (because that one seemed to be full).
Overall, this 44-mile drive would take around an hour after leaving the New York New York Hotel and Casino.
To give you some context, Las Vegas was about 265 miles (about 4 hours drive; possibly more with traffic and drivers ignorant of the keep right except to pass highway etiquette) northeast of Los Angeles, California, 121 miles (2 hours drive) southeast of Beatty (near Furnace Creek in Death Valley), 99 miles (over 90 minutes drive) north of Laughlin, 123 miles (about 2 hours drive) southwest of St George, Utah, 276 miles (about 4.5 hours drive) west of Page, Arizona, and 424 miles (about 6 hours drive) southwest of Salt Lake City, Utah.
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