Icehouse Canyon to Cucamonga Peak Trail is a 10.5 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Mount Baldy, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding and is best used from March until November. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.
dogs on leash
Cucamonga Peak offers amazing views over Southern California's Inland Empire, east toward Apple Valley and beyond. This hike from Icehouse Canyon is a strenuous 10.5 mile out-and-back route with over 4,000 feet of vertical gain and a top elevation of 8,859'. The north-facing slope holds snow much later in the season than other peaks. From atop Cucamonga Peak you can see most of the better-known peaks in Southern California, including the distinctive saddleback mountains (Santiago and Modjeska peaks) in Orange County; Mt. San Jacinto, San Gorgonio, and Mt. San Antonio (Mt. Baldy). This is the second of six southern California summits in the 6-Pack of Peaks bundle. Done in sequence, they provide great training anyone preparing for bigger hikes such as Mt. Whitney or Half Dome. Each hike in the 6-Pack is progressively higher in altitude, and all have respectable distance and vertical elevation gain.
So I get to the first Saddle, easy peasy
Definitely need snow cleats to complete the hike during the colder seasons. Not suggested for beginner hikers.
Tried this hike on my own the day before Thanksgiving this year (2016). I started very late (1:00PM). I made it past the mini saddle and up two switchbacks before the sun set and I realized I was ill prepared for the weather. I was only wearing a pair of joggers, a breathable exercise shirt and a very thin running sweater plus I was wearing running shoes. Not only was I freezing by this point my footwear wasn't adequate enough to continue up the icy switchbacks leading up to the peak. I remember sitting down and taking my camera out to take a picture and my camera wouldn't turn on...that was the last straw and what finally caused me to turn around and head back. There was no one else on the trail and I hiked down using only the flashlight from my iPhone (which I think was more than enough light to safely make it down). It wasn't until I was nearly a mile away from the parking lot that I ran into a group of 4 that was heading up to the saddle. Keep in mind it was about 8:30/9:00PM by this point. I finally reached my vehicle a little after 9 this time. When I got home I traced my hike and realized I was only about a mile from the peak and was frustrated at my decision to turn back. 12/17/16 I decided to try again. This time with my brother and in better gear. Temperatures were reported to be around 41 but I'd imagine that was at Mt Baldy Village because it def felt a lot colder than that. We started the hike around 11AM this time. It was cold enough that the hoses to our hydration packs froze solid just past Icehouse Saddle. We finally reached the peak at about 4:30PM just in time to view the sunset. The weather at the top was extreme. I pulled out a sandwich I had taken to eat and it was nearly frozen as well. The wind made things a million times worse but we enjoyed the views nonetheless . We were up there about an hour before heading back down the mountain. The hike down was even more treacherous because by this time the snow that had been covering the path had melted enough to refreeze and become ice making the trial that much harder to hike down. This time I was prepared with a better flashlight although I felt my iPhone did great the first time. We finally reached the parking lot around 9:30PM and man were we glad it was over. I don't know why it's reported here that it's a 10.5 mile hike...from the parking lot to icehouse saddle is 3.6 miles...and from icehouse saddle to the peak is another 2.4 miles for a total of 6 miles one way and 12 miles there and back. It's def a more difficult hike than I was used to but one worth the reward. Going to go again but I'll wait until the weather warms up.
By far the best hike! Not only does your mind body and soak get tested once you hit the peak the views alone are worth every step of the way. It is an 8 hour hike and would not recommend someone with no experience going up there. I also highly suggest microspikes if you go during this time because the snow is not easy to walk on. Can't wait to do it again.
What a beautiful trail but not very safe in the fall with snow. We started at 6:30am & made it the summit shortly before the storm came in. Conditions were dangerous on the way down. Heavy wind, snow & LOTS of ice. Our footprints turned icy & made it very difficult. Ran into a couple of other groups on our way down that decided to turn around because of the conditions. Due the weather & being extra cautious it took us 8.5 hours to complete.
Great Trail ...it's hard and the rocks don't make the path easier. Took me 8 hours to complete ..
11/14/16- about 12 miles and it took me 6.5 hours; finishing right before the sunset. Adventure pass required and self service permit for the trail is at the head of the trail. If there are no more permits, you can leave your info on a scratch paper and leave it in the box. I recommend to come on a weekday because of limited parking. If coming on a weekend come extra early in order to get parking. The trail after the saddle is very narrow, very rocky, and steep drop offs. Sometimes the trail looks like it dead ends but if you look beyond you'll see that it continues. I don't recommend to do this hike when there's snow. I also recommend using a gps to help track your route because there are no signs after the saddle and the trail does split. There is one sign when you're almost to the peak and that's it. At one point on the trail there is a cave/den that could belong to a bear or animal - be mindful when you're walking past it. As I walked passed it I didn't see anything inside but you never know.
Yes! Finally had a chance to go to Cucamonga Peak! The weather was perfect when we hiked this trail with beautiful autumn leaves everywhere and almost no wind! Having little wind is quite important for this trail since the single track trail after the saddle gets suuuper narrow with loose rocks and steep drop offs. Extreme wind can definitely make you lose your balance here (and you don't want that!!). The terrain is very rocky throughout most of the trail so watch your footing! The views are absolutely stunning at the peak and also throughout the trail. The parking lot was completely full when we got there around 8:30 AM but the trail was surprisingly not that crowded. I did see a few groups chilling near the cabins and the lower section of the trails so I'm assuming some people just come here to have a little picnic or enjoy a stroll through the woods.
Total miles for this hike was 12.8 miles with a total elevation gain of 4,219 ft. It's not an easy hike but is definitely do-able and I don't recall walking through super steep sections. My biggest struggle was probably dealing with all the loose rocks! It didn't help that I was wearing brand new hiking shoes but those rocks really mess with your footing....blister time!
Pit toilets are available at the parking lot. It's usually not that terrible (anything is better than the Chantry Flats restrooms!) but you may need to bring your own toilet paper. Permit is required for this hike and I have run into rangers checking permits on the Icehouse Canyon trail. The permit is free and can be found in the brown box near the map at the trailhead. Make sure you keep the yellow copy so you can show it to the ranger if they ask. Adventure pass is also required for your vehicle. Dogs are allowed on leash.
Gorgeous peaceful hike!! Do it!
Great fall/cool weather hike. The first part to Icehouse Saddle is wooded and there was a stream running. Despite the trail being very rocky in the beginning, it's a pleasant first half. The 2nd half from Icehouse Saddle to Cucamonga Peak is mostly exposed which has some spectacular views, but would not be pleasant in the least on a hot or sunny day. I was quite glad to have cloudys and be in the mid 60's, perfect for this grueling uphill hike to the peak. The views at the top are well worth it and there is a large open area with plenty of places to sit and eat lunch overlooking the towns below. Overall, the trail has very few ups and downs - you go up to the peak, you go down to the parking lot. Took us 4 hours to the top and 2 hours back down plus lunch and a break at Icehouse Saddle. Only saw a few other hikers on the trail. Highly recommend this hike on a cooler or cloudy day.