This extremely popular hike ascends a steep-sided canyon carved into a slot between two incredibly steep mountains. After crossing part of the desert, you will hike up a very rocky creek basin to access the microclimates of Icebox Canyon.
From Las Vegas follow Route 157 West as it exits the city. After less than 10 minutes of driving from the city limits you will reach the turn off for Scenic Drive, and signs towards the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area Visitor Centre. Make this turn and pay your dues at the park entrance. Follow the one-way Scenic Drive for approximately 12.9km until you reach the Icebox Canyon parking lot. This is a very small lot, which fills quickly.
|When to do|
Spring and Fall, avoid summer heat
Out and back
The trail begins on the right side of the road. Follow the signs pointing towards Icebox Canyon at the first fork as you begin to cross the desert. The desert crossing can be excruciatingly difficult in midday sun, so plan the timeframe of your hike accordingly.
Once you arrive in the canyon you will be greeted by not only the usual shade of the canyon walls, but also the shade of many trees lining each side of the creek bed. The trail, after all, soon fades and all you are left to follow are the people ahead of you and the boulder filled creek bed.
This is truly the crux of the hike. The mileage and elevation gain on this trail pose no real threat, however, navigating through the larger boulders can be a real challenge. Additionally, it is very easy to twist an ankle while meandering over the patches of the creek filled with medium size rocks. In our most recent trip, in fact, a member of our party did just that! Continue as far up the canyon as you wish (at the end there is a small seasonal waterfall) then return the way you came.
If a member of your party sprains his or her ankle, get ice from the Chevron near the edge of town to reduce swelling of the appendage.
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