Hiking Ice Box Canyon is one of my favorite hikes mainly because you feel like a kid again! Jumping rock to rock, climbing up and down, and hopping between boulders trying to find the best route. If scrambling isn’t your style, you can opt for the upper trail and avoid much of the fancy footwork from the trail below, but note that eventually you will reach a point where the trails join and you’ll need to get more technical with your hiking.
The trail is about a 45 minute drive from Henderson, and the trail itself is 2.2 miles out and back trail rated as STRENUOUS. There isn’t much shade depending on the time of day you go, so make sure you are prepared for hiking Ice Box Canyon by bringing more water than you think you need, a hat, hiking shoes, and sunscreen. Visit Red Rock National Conservation Area’s Summer Safety Page for additional information. We went at about 10AM and there was very little shade. There is a restroom at the parking area.
Throughout your hike, keep your eyes peeled for rock climbers on the cliff walls adjacent to trail. They’re almost unnoticeable sometimes until you look closely! I was pleasantly surprised with the amount of flowers throughout the trail. For this hike, my friend Jake from Washington State joined me during his first trip to the area, and he was surprised at how alive the desert landscape here really is.
The trail ended at the waterfall area, however the waterfall was dry at the time we visited. We were able to scramble up the first rock wall (not very well, I’ll add) and we found a small pool of water. Jake was able to scramble up the second rock wall to the second pool of water and grab the below picture. The picture doesn’t do it much justice, but it was pretty high up there and the second pool was beautiful.
I’d recommend taking a meal with you and resting at the turnaround point to eat and relax. You’re tucked in the shade here and the acoustics are very entertaining when birds fly through and squawk.
This is definitely one of the top hikes I’d recommend in Red Rock National Conservation Area, and you won’t forget hiking Ice Box Canyon! To access this trail, you’ll need to enter through the pay station, however military is free. Check out the video below of the dry waterfall area!