Monday, January 2, 2017
Hike 2016.050 -- Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area: Lost Canyon, Icebox Canyon, and First Creek Waterfalls
The last "hike" was actually three separate hikes: Lost Canyon waterfall (2/3 of a mile, roundtrip), Icebox Canyon waterfalls (2.2 miles, roundtrip), and First Creek waterfall (2.2 miles roundtrip).
Lost Canyon trailhead is off of Rocky Gap Road. You have to take the big, looping scenic drive just about halfway around. Rocky Gap is the second road after you've passed the scenic view at the top of the loop. Once on Rocky Gap Road, the first parking area on the left is the one for Lost Canyon (and the Children's Discovery trail). For Lost Canyon, take the trail that heads from the middle of the ends of the parking area.
You'll soon be treated to the view of the first photo in this post (looking to your right). There's a (usually) dry wash crossing, then a slight incline, then some boardwalk as you walk among the spring.
No idea who the hikers in the photos are, by the way. But, on this day, the trail was busy enough that waiting for a chance at an un-modeled shot would take too long. Also, the other hikers give a sense of scale to this waterfall.
I'd been to Lost Canyon twice before in recent years, once when it was mostly dry, and once, during active rain, when it was flowing.
this post, from 2013.
The first part of this hike is largely level. Yes, there's an incline. But it's easy going. You soon cross a connector trail (last time here, I walked that connector, down from Lost Canyon). But I had the goal of multiple waterfalls, and didn't want to tire myself out with the extra two miles roundtrip from Lost Canyon.
As the trail proceeds and the canyon narrows, you soon find yourself overlooking the sound and sight of running water, down on your left. You should resist the urge to drop down into that canyon until the last possible moment, since the trail (and the going) is a lot easier up top than it is down below.
This includes the "final" barrier, to the base of the lower waterfall. In this case, head to the left, and climb up behind the tree that shields you from a possible fall as you climb the few feet up to the next level.
Returned to my car, and completed the scenic loop. Then I turned right, towards First Canyon. I had never been here, before. It appeared to be about the third trail access point west from the loop. It also had a big sign that said, "First Creek," at the wide area on the side of the highway. The other two spots I had stopped did not have signs on my eastbound approach. I think the Oak Creek trailhead, at least, should normally be signed, but it appears stupid people make a habit of vandalizing signs out here.