When you decide to head to Las Vegas for a weekend, what’s the first thing you think of? Maybe parties, gambling, and staying up until the sun rises. What do I think of? Hiking. Go figure.
My best friend lives in Las Vegas so when I found out that Ellie Goulding (my favorite of all time, you guys) was going to be performing at the hotel where she works, we decided to make a weekend out of it and explore the nearby Red Rock National Conservation Area which has been on my bucket list for a while. I was a little skeptical about how pretty it would (or wouldn’t) be to go adventuring right outside Sin City, but as soon as we drove into the park, I was speechless.
Red Rock is a little Nevada oasis filled with breathtaking rock formations, striped red and white or speckled with cream and brown and black. The ground all along the roads was flat and littered with cacti, and then out of nowhere, a mountain would rise up. We went on one of the best possible days we could have, I think, because it had been rainy and the tops of the hills were shrouded in swirling fog. It was truly amazing.
Our final destination was Icebox Canyon, a side hike out of Red Rock that was rumored to have a stunning waterfall if you timed your visit correctly with the rainstorms. It had been raining the day before, so we hoped our luck would pan out. We started off along the rocky trail in between the looming, hazy cliffs.
Distance: 4.8 miles round trip
Time: 2-3 hours
Location: Icebox Canyon Trailhead in Red Rock National Conservation Area – around mile 8 on the Red Rock Scenic Loop & there is a parking area
Steps: 7-8K as tracked by Fitbit Charge HR
Dog friendly: Yes
The first mile or so of the hike is relatively easy as you follow the trail from the road into the canyon. We passed a group of girls looking very chilly who told us the trail ahead was flooded and we should plan on our feet getting wet. This wasn’t enough to make us turn back, so we kept going and soon came to the riverbed that was the new trail. It was filled with water – not a normal occurrence, as we were informed by the locals, but it gave us hope that the waterfall would be there so we waded on.
The last mile and a half to the end of the trail was definitely much more difficult than the first half, especially if you’re like us and go after a rainstorm. It was a lot of boulder scrambling, leaping to dry rocks across the stream, and ducking under scratchy tree branches. Finally we reached our destination and it could not have been better if it tried. The waterfall had three levels, pouring water from the top of the cliff, and each person there was in awe. Everyone we talked to said they had never seen the fall like this before and that day was a special day.
• Sandals: Something you can walk through water in would be ideal, although if you go in the summer months, you may not be walking through much water.
• Snacks & water: Self explanatory. Also, please #leavenotrace. There was so much trash on this trail, which is uncool.
• Waterproof bag: Wait till a rainy day to go so you can see the full glory of the waterfall, but bring a bag with a waterproof lining or cover so your camera doesn’t get damaged.
After fully enjoying the falls, we started heading back. We had barely emerged from the river when suddenly the heavens opened and started pelting us with hail! We ran all the way back to the car, shielding our bare arms and getting soaked and filled with laughter in the process. All in all, it was a day for the books.
Have you ever explored the natural wonders in Nevada? Tell me where I should go next!