I seriously LOVE Mt. Charleston! I finally made it up to the mountain a couple weeks ago for a solo day hike and chose to hike up to Griffith Peak, the 3rd highest peak in Nevada at 11,054ft. The hike was 10.5 miles (from the lower parking lot including a side trip to the spring) with about 3,500ft elevation gain. I really, really, enjoyed everything about this trail. It is well maintained, and climbs up skinny switchbacks with some serious views. It felt rugged and the solitude was incredible (I only saw 4 hikers all day)!
The Fall colors were in their peak, and the entire trail looked like it was dipped in gold. From Aspens to Goldenrod, everywhere I looked shimmered in beautiful hues of oranges, yellows, and gold. It was just stunning, especially set against the sheer white walls of the rocky canyon.
Once on the peak, there was a 360 degree view, including nice views of Vegas, Mummy Mountain, Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, and the other local mountains. The day I went was very windy (40-50 mph gusts) on the peak and very cold (below freezing) so I didn't get to spend as much time as I would have liked on top to explore. There are lots of fossils in the rocks on the trail that remained from thousands of years ago when the area was covered by a shallow sea, with a high concentration of them on the peak. I was able to find and take pictures of a few on the peak but wonder what I may have missed up there.
I can't wait to get back to Mt. Charleston and explore some more of the trails, including hiking to Mt. Charleston peak at just under 12,000 feet! I used this trail description and a map for the hike: