Hiking Ice Box Canyon Trail at Red Rock Canyon
The Ice Box Canyon trail at Red Rock Canyon is a nice mix of trail hiking and rock scrambling. The trail is considered moderate in difficulty but will give your knees and ankles a workout hopping from rock to rock.
Along the way you will experience stunning views as you move through steep canyon walls and end up at a large waterfall. Depending on the time of year there may or may not be water coming from the falls.
This is also a nice hike in the summer as there is a lot of shade as you get deeper into the canyon and you will notice a considerable temperature drop. If hiking in the summer be sure to check the weather before starting your hike, flash floods can be an issue in this canyon.
How to Get to Ice Box Canyon Trail
To get to the trail just pull into the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area off of State Highway 159. Follow the scenic drive around for about 9 miles until you get to the Ice Box Canyon parking lot.
The trail starts at the lot. Be sure to get there early because the lot is smaller and fills up fast.
Hiking Ice Box Canyon Trail
The Ice Box Canyon trail starts out as a fairly easy hike as you move toward the canyon. About .5 miles into the hike you will intersect another trail that runs parallel to the mountains, just continue to move straight. There will be several trails that intertwine back and forth so just choose the one that looks the most traveled to avoid brush.
At around .75 miles into the hike, you will start to enter the canyon, and shortly after the trail will drop down into the wash. You can always move down into the wash sooner if you feel the trail is not difficult enough for you, just head down one of the paths to the left of the main trail.
Once you enter the wash you will experience many large boulders that you will have to scramble around and over. If you run into a boulder that is too large to go over just look for a trail either to the left or the right of the obstacle. Along the way, you may see people climbing up the sheer canyon walls as this is a popular area for rock climbers.
A little over a mile into the hike you will come to a couple of large logs that have been stripped clean of their bark. This means you are getting close to the end of the trail. Shortly after you will run into a large boulder that looks like it blocks the entire wash. You can either scramble up a path to the right through the brush or along the left there is a natural walkway you can follow which will lead you around as well.
At that point, you have reached the waterfall. Many people will try to scramble about 30 feet up the rocks to where the water pools. It may be fairly simple to get up there but is very steep and can be treacherous coming down. If the rocks are wet I wouldn’t recommend trying to get up there as many people have fallen and gotten severely hurt.
At this point, you are about 1.5 miles into the hike and you can turn around and head back or there is another canyon off to the side which you can explore as well.
I have hiked this trail several times now and I enjoy it every time. It is a good hike for anyone who wants to try a little rock scrambling. There is just enough challenge involved to make your legs feel tired and the view at the end is definitely rewarding.
About The Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area
Red Rock National Conservation Area is a great place to hike because of its stunning red rock formations and canyons. The area is home to over 26 hiking trails which vary in terrain and difficulty. The trails are easy to follow and offer a variety of options for hikers of all levels.
The area is easy to explore by driving the 13 mile scenic loop. Be sure to stop by one of the several overlooks along the way that make for great photo opportunities.
Just outside the Red Rock National Conservation Area you will find additional free hiking trails, opportunities for horseback riding with views of Red Rock Canyon as well as trails more suited for mountain biking.