Mount Charleston Lodge will rise again above Las Vegas

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T1004MOUNTCHARLESTONLODGE1_C_HR [Credit: Mount Charleston Lodge]
The main structure at Mount Charleston Lodge was destroyed in a fire last month, but its guest cabins continue to take reservations. Photo Credit: Mount Charleston Lodge
Paul Szydelko
Paul Szydelko

An accidental fire consumed the beloved Mount Charleston Lodge high above Las Vegas on Sept. 17. No one was injured in the early-morning blaze at the landmark A-framed structure that housed a bar, lounge and restaurant.

The adjacent guest cabins were unaffected, and the fire did not spread to the surrounding wilderness of Kyle Canyon, part of the Spring Mountains National Recreation Area. The owners have promised to rebuild the lodge.

A scenic escape from the oppressive heat in the summer and a snow-filled wonderland in winter, the rustic Mount Charleston Lodge is a sharp contrast to the Strip. Temperatures at the lodge, about a 45-minute drive from the city, are typically 20 to 30 degrees cooler than in the Las Vegas valley.

"It's a true Las Vegas destination to experience all the seasons. This is just one of the reasons this has been such a popular spot for out-of-towners, tour groups and those planning and hosting events to consider for so many occasions," said Christina Ellis, general manager for Ellis Island Hotel, Casino & Brewery and additional family holdings that include the lodge.

Although skiers go to nearby Lee Canyon, those hiking Mount Charleston's 50 miles of marked trails considered the lodge a charming getaway option.

The destroyed lodge with a capacity of 200, featured a massive stone fireplace in the center, a small dance floor, an intimate stage (where the zany polka band the Dummkopfs played for decades), a 20-foot loft ceiling and windows on three sides.

"This is one of those structures that, it does become more than just a structure, more than just a business. It's one that becomes part of people's lives because it's just the place you go," historian Mark Hall-Patton told KTNV-Channel 13.

"The outpouring of love and memories has been incredible," Ellis said.

(I hold some of those memories myself. I proposed marriage to my wife there the day after Christmas 1994. I hid the engagement ring in one of the gloves I handed her to keep warm in the snow. A less cherished memory is pushing a car that got stuck in a sudden snowstorm with my father and uncle -- certainly not what they expected on a visit to Vegas.)

T1004MOUNTCHARLESTONLODGE2_C_HR [Credit: Mount Charleston Lodge]
The Mount Charleston Lodge included a massive stone fireplace, a 20-foot-loft ceiling and windows on three sides. Photo Credit: Mount Charleston Lodge

While Ellis says it is too soon to announce a timeline to rebuild, she reports that planning is already underway. "We most certainly want to incorporate and pay homage to the original look and feel of the lodge, while also creating something special for the next generations to enjoy," she said.

"While we are committed to rebuilding, our first priorities are to take care of the team members and guests who helped make the lodge feel like a second home to so many."

In the meantime, Ellis' team is working to move events that had been planned for the facility to other locations in the Ellis portfolio or connecting event hosts and brides to other venues on the mountain.

"The loss of the lodge has been heartbreaking, but our team recognizes how horrible it is to lose the location of an event you've been planning for months or possibly years," Ellis said. "We want to do our best to assist our guests during this time."

The lodge's 21 guest cabins reopened a week after the fire. Guests receive a continental breakfast at the hospitality cabin, which also hosts games and movie nights. Management is working on longer-term food-service solutions until the lodge is rebuilt.

For more information or to book a cabin, visit MtCharlestonLodge.com.

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