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    Jessica Daniels Setter reviewed Cucamonga Peak Trail

    about 3 years ago

    Cucamonga peak trail
    9/26

    Distance: 12.3 miles
    Ascent: 4,300 ft (in 4 hours)
    Total time: 8 hrs
    Hiking time: 5.5 hrs

    We arrived early and were surprised to see the parking lot already very full, any new cars driving in wee forces to turn around and fend for themselves along the street. We did so, displayed our adventure pass, and suited up. When we got to the trail head, there were 2 very large groups starting up (around 8am) one was an Eagle Scout troop heading out to do some repairs on the trail.

    Heading out on the trail, we were surprised by the landscape and how woodsy it was. Some of the leaves had turned orange and fallen off the trees. As we crunched through the dry leaves, the smell of fall wafted up. Along the trail are cute little cabins, a few were inhabited, one was for sale and the others for rent. We were glad to find that the large groups had sectioned off and kindly offered to let us pass. We played leap frog with a few pairs, like ya do.

    The first 2 miles of the trail were relatively easy with a very shallow incline. The sound of running water filling our ears made it easy to forget the trail was quite crowded. We hardly heard anyone else. Just after mile 2.5 the trails takes a quick rise and you're no longer following in the creek bed. The terrain opens up and becomes much more rugged. A few spots of scree here and there and some larger rocks to navigate.

    Around mile 3 the switch backs start and continue for the next mile and a half up to Ice House Canyon Saddle. The switch backs weren't bad at all and were a pretty gradual ascent which was aided by the mountain's shade of the morning. Once we found our pace it was no problem.

    At the Saddle we took a break for a cliff bar and enjoyed the view along with everyone else. This was the first time we felt like we were in a crowd again. The saddle seems to act like a spoked wheel of sorts, sending trails in every which way. You can even find a connecting trail over to Mt Baldy. After our break, we headed off to the right towards Cucamonga peak.

    From here, the trail to Cucamonga was much less crowded. It's only 2.5 more miles to the Peak, but don't let that fool you into thinking you're almost done. The first mile along this trail is quite easy and there's even some down hill. In that first mile there's a couple of gems. A hairpin corner that gives a great vista with 3 gnarly old trees guarding it. They are quite eye catching. A little farther on we found a small cave and had to throw a few rocks in to see if anyone was home. No luck. Brandon shine is flashlight in and it looks like it goes quite a ways back. It's right on the trail, you won't miss it. If you brave be cave let us know what it's like.

    When you come to a second saddle, that's when the serious work begins. You are greeted with more stunning views and we had a welcome breeze coming up the valley. This bit of the trail is mostly exposed, so the breeze was a wonderful treat and helped keep us cool. The last mile and a half are rather grueling (not steep) switchbacks, some tricky scree spots and narrow paths. Pay attention to your GPS as there are a few spots where you could easily find yourself in an off shoot of the trail.

    We made it!!! 8,800 and some ft elevation. Such an accomplishing feeling. The views are stunning and almost 360. We had a long break for lunch in the shade and even took a little nap.

    Thankfully the way back is almost 100% down hill. We even ran/jogged down a few switchbacks after the saddle. On the journey back down, we noticed quite a few natural springs just coming right out of the mountain. There's lots of water in the first 2 miles of the hike, keep your eyes out for springs and small waterfalls on the left of the trail. Then right before the 2 mile mark, below the trail on the right, there's another spring under a rock flowing out. The water is beautifully clear and ice cold. This is the last water on the way up that we know of. I'm sure it would be clean enough to drink straight, but we never risk it and use our Sawyer mini water.

    Here's our ratings for the trail. In terms of beauty I'd give the first stretch to Ice House Saddle an 8 out of 10 because it's so woodsy. After the saddle to Cucamonga peak, I'd rate it as a 7 out of 10 because it becomes much more rugged and open. Still beautiful, but much more exposed.

    In terms of difficulty: miles 1-2.5 I'd rate a 4 out of 10. It's quite leisurely. The next mile, mile and a half of switchbacks going to the Saddle, I'd rate a 6 out of 10. Slightly more difficult incline. From the Saddle to the top of Cucamonga I'd rate the difficulty as a 7 out of 10. The ascent is much more steep and slower going with the loose rocks.

    Over all this was a beautiful hike and we look forward to going back and camping near the stream of we can.

    Jessica Daniels Setter reviewed Mount San Antonio (Mt. Baldy)

    about 3 years ago

    Our day began by already being pleasantly surprised by the cool air when we arrived at Manker Flats. The valley was on its way to 100 degrees and we were enjoying some cool air in the mid 60s. We opted for the chairlift to bypass the "less exciting" section of the hike up to Baldy Knotch, the fire road didn't sound like a fun start to the day... but heck a chair lift - yes please!

    We hopped off the lift around 9:30am. At the top there really isn't much, but the little diner/lodge is an interesting little find and the smell of bacon was in the air (we resisted...) From there, we started up the ski run since that was the faster route but I definitely wouldn't take that route next time, just too steep for the start of a hike and all scree. Like walking on marbles - next time trail for sure. Although the trail adds a little distance it also is more gradual.

    At the top of the ski run we stopped for some water and a little rest on the cool cement of the chair lift tower - by now the sun and climb had really heated us up so this brought a little life back into us after that.

    From there, turning left we found ourselves beginning what is the beginning of Devils Backbone trail which I think is a rather fitting name. For us, this was the point we finally felt like we were on a hike. The terrain changed, the man-made structured faded away in the distance and the steep shale slopes dropped off on either side. We loved the next couple of miles as the 360 degree views showed off our vast surroundings. This was really quite enjoyable and we found a good stride. We even saw some mountain goats!

    From there the next milestone we remember is the base of the final climb up to the summit. Looking up there about 20 different lines in the skree that you could choose from. Since I was leading , this was a little frustrating because I wanted to choose the "right" path. We were wishing we had known just how much skree there really was - most of this hike was a little like walking on a bed of gravel rocks.

    We opted to go around to the right as we climbed the final leg to the summit and take the less steep route vs. many other people we saw opt for straight up.

    We made it!! 10,064ft above sea level, we took the obligatory photo with the sign, and took a good long break in a little rock outcropping out of sight from the crowd (yes there are quite a few people on this hike) with some hot Pad Thai thanks to our Jet Boil and Backpacker's pantry.

    After some rest we decided to take the loop route down the mountain around Baldy Bowl passing the Ski Hut along the way. I would HIGHLY recommend your gps because it would be very easy to continue straight an end up on Bear Canyon Trail and adding another 5+ miles to your hike and landing in the wrong destination! Thankfully my husband is always prepared.

    So down we went... we kind of expected to continue following a trail as well marked as what we had already hiked but boy were we wrong. If you choose this route down bring along that handy GPS, track route, and map saved in offline mode because it is a must. We found ourselves "generally" taking the proper route down but the first 2 miles are mostly just pick what looks like the best way for you an go down. (Sort of like the end of Devil's backbone) Check every once and a while to make sure you're still following your GPS track. We figured we were on the trail when we'd occasionally pass another hiker coming up or spot one down ahead of us.

    Finally this section comes to a section of trees and a trail again that cuts back into Baldy Bowl. There have been a few rock slides over the years that for us made it hard to find the trail a few times but once again just follow the GPS and it got us back on track.

    Here's the part that brought a smile to our face... after hopping over a rock pile we spotted the Ski Hut and heard the sound of a stream, yes in the middle of a 4 year drought there was a stream! So we took a few minutes to filter some water and refuel - what a pleasant surprise to have some nice cold water. So fresh several guys were drinking it straight (but I never like to risk it if I don't have to...)

    This is around mile 4 from the summit. By now the knees were getting pretty tired from the downhill workout. Our shoes had certainly proven their worth given our toes were happy since we had the right amount of room in our toe boxes. (Brooks Cascadia 10)

    From the ski hut we were nearly home. Not much to write about after the Ski Hut, just more down hill for another 2 miles or so. Finally we came to the fire break road, turned right and were brought back to Manker Flats Trailhead with the opportunity to take a detour to the waterfall along the way. (Which we did not)

    Overall we give this hike a 7 out of 10 in terms of natural beauty (definitely pretty but very exposed), 7 out of 10 in terms of difficulty (the fishtank rocks and steep up and down were tough), and 8 out of 10 in feeling accomplished.

    After all that we were hungry

    Jessica Daniels Setter saved Kalalau Trail

    over 3 years ago

    Jessica Daniels Setter added Shelf Road

    over 3 years ago

    Jessica Daniels Setter completed Shelf Road Trail

    over 3 years ago

    Jessica Daniels Setter saved Pratt Trail

    over 3 years ago

    Jessica Daniels Setter reviewed Ediza Lake

    over 4 years ago

    My husband and I enjoyed this hike Memorial Day weekend 2014 while camping at Red's Meadow. We hike pretty regularly and accomplished the 15 miles, 2898 ft ascent, as a day hike in just over 7 hours with plenty of snack breaks and even lunch at Ediza Lake.

    The first mile is pretty flat along Agnew Meadow and just as you enter into the Ansel Adam's Wilderness it drops down into the valley. At 2.8 miles you pass the first lake, Olaine Lake. Very pretty but don't stop here!! Continuing on, just as you pass the bridge, the up hill trek begins. But don't be discouraged, it's more like an epic stair climber with GORGEOUS mountain views. At 5.5 miles you will be welcomed into Shadow Lake. This is one of the most beautiful and rewarding mountain lakes I have ever seen. And if you don't feel like doing the whole 7.5 miles to Ediza, this is a worthy stopping point. Moving on past Shadow Lake the trail meanders for another 200 ft elevation climb (only 2 more miles!) And these 2 miles are stunning, with glassy clear rivers, towering trees, and majestic peaks. As you round the last corner, Mt Ritter, Banner, and the Minarets give you quite a show. And my husband says he hasn't seen anything like it since the Swiss Alps! The time of year we did the hike, there was still snow on the lake (and crunchy patches along the trail) I would suggest waiting till mid June or July for the snow to melt. Reward yourself with a nap and head back. It's mostly downhill from here.

    Here's a few extra pointers...
    -You will be crossing quite a number of little creeks, so waterproof hiking boots are a plus.
    -Bring lots of water. We went through 3 Liters each in out hydration packs, so lugging a water bottle isn't a good option. Or just bring a water filter pump and enjoy abundant mountain water.
    - Be prepared for possible random thunder shower.
    - Bring more food and snacks than you think you need. We had 2 Clif Bars each and an MRE (meals ready to eat) which we prepared with our JetBoil (an excellent investment)

    Jessica Daniels Setter reviewed Agnew Meadows to Ediza Lake (Backpacking)

    over 4 years ago

    My husband and I enjoyed this hike Memorial Day weekend 2014 while camping at Red's Meadow. We hike pretty regularly and accomplished the 15 miles, 2898 ft ascent, as a day hike in just over 7 hours with plenty of snack breaks and even lunch at Ediza Lake.

    The first mile is pretty flat along Agnew Meadow and just as you enter into the Ansel Adam's Wilderness it drops down into the valley. At 2.8 miles you pass the first lake, Olaine Lake. Very pretty but don't stop here!! Continuing on, just as you pass the bridge, the up hill trek begins. But don't be discouraged, it's more like an epic stair climber with GORGEOUS mountain views. At 5.5 miles you will be welcomed into Shadow Lake. This is one of the most beautiful and rewarding mountain lakes I have ever seen. And if you don't feel like doing the whole 7.5 miles to Ediza, this is a worthy stopping point. Moving on past Shadow Lake the trail meanders for another 200 ft elevation climb (only 2 more miles!) And these 2 miles are stunning, with glassy clear rivers, towering trees, and majestic peaks. As you round the last corner, Mt Ritter, Banner, and the Minarets give you quite a show. And my husband says he hasn't seen anything like it since the Swiss Alps! The time of year we did the hike, there was still snow on the lake (and crunchy patches along the trail) I would suggest waiting till mid June or July for the snow to melt. Reward yourself with a nap and head back. It's mostly downhill from here.

    Here's a few extra pointers...
    -You will be crossing quite a number of little creeks, so waterproof hiking boots are a plus.
    -Bring lots of water. We went through 3 Liters each in out hydration packs, so lugging a water bottle isn't a good option. Or just bring a water filter pump and enjoy abundant mountain water.
    - Be prepared for possible random thunder shower.
    - Bring more food and snacks than you think you need. We had 2 Clif Bars each and an MRE (meals ready to eat) which we prepared with our JetBoil (an excellent investment)

    Jessica Daniels Setter completed Sturtevant Falls Trail

    almost 5 years ago

    Jessica Daniels Setter saved Red Route Trail

    almost 5 years ago

    Jessica Daniels Setter reviewed Volcan Mountain Trail

    almost 5 years ago

    My mom and I enjoyed this hike on a 70 degree day in February. We are both very active, enjoy hiking regularly and would agree that it is Moderate. The beginning trail is rather steep but the views at the top are spectacular. The 3.2 mile loop does not include the summit hike which is an additional 2 mile loop for a total of 5, from the beginning of the trail, around the summit and back. The "5 Oaks Trail" is a switch back trail and another option for going up or down. Beautiful scenery and overhanging oaks. (Watch for poison ivy) BRING WATER!!!!

    Jessica Daniels Setter completed Volcan Mountain Trail

    almost 5 years ago