2. Ice Box Canyon Trail
This hike is very popular, and you don’t even need to complete the entire 2.6-mile trailto find it enjoyable. This is especially true in the spring (April), when the wildflowers are blooming. From the parking lot, you can see the entrance to the canyon, where the sheer stone walls reveal a narrow opening in the distance. Dramatic yellow and charred-looking black walls line this high-walled canyon. At the base are pine trees and other foliage, giving the canyon floor a relatively lush look. As this is a true box canyon with no outlet, the trail eventually dead ends, and steep walls rise up around you on three sides.
The hike begins by crossing a flat area of small trees and shrubs, from where there are great views of the canyon in front of you. This is almost as dramatic as walking through the canyon. It climbs slightly, winding through junipers and pinon pines. As you approach the opening to the canyon, the trees become much denser, and the area takes on the look of a forest. Beyond the canyon entrance, the trail is littered with large boulders, some the size of cars, which you will need to negotiate. If you are not up for a difficult hike, you can turn back at this point. Continuing on, the trail eventually leads to the end of the canyon, where the stone walls seem to envelop you. This is an in-and-out hike, and vistas on the return trip stretch out to the red rock hills across the valley.