Icehouse Canyon

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As seen in the Nobody Hikes in L.A. Guidebook!

Stream in lower Icehouse Canyon
View of the San Gabriels from upper Icehouse Canyon

Text and photography copyright 2010 by David W. Lockeretz, all rights reserved.  Information and opinions provided are kept current to the best of the author’s ability.  All readers hike at their own risk, and should be aware of the possible dangers of hiking, walking and other outdoor activities.  The author does not take any responsibility for injuries sustained during hikes or walks on the routes described here.   Check the informational links provided for up to date trail condition information.

Icehouse Canyon

  • Location: Angeles National Forest near Mt. Baldy.  Take I-210 to the Mountain Ave/Mt. Baldy exit, drive 4.3 miles north on Mountain Ave (which will become Shinn Road).  Take a right on Mt. Baldy Road (the end of Shinn Road), drive 6.4 miles and take a right into the Icehouse Canyon parking lot.  On the way drop by the Mt. Baldy Visitor’s Center and pick up the free wilderness permit required for the Cucamonga Wilderness.   A United States Forest Service Adventure Pass ($5 day/$30 year) is required to park here.  Click here to purchase.
  • Agency: Angeles National Forest, San Gabriel River Ranger District
  • Distance: 7.2 miles
  • Elevation gain: 2,600 feet
  • Difficulty Rating: R (altitude, elevation gain, distance, steepness)
  • Suggested time: 4 hours
  • Best season: All year (snowy in winter, hot in summer)
  • Recommended gear: hiking poles
  • USGS topo map: “Cucamonga Peak”; “Telegraph Peak”
  • More information: here
  • Rating: 9

The Icehouse Saddle is noted as a point of departure for several peaks such as Cucamonga, Ontario and the “Three T’s”, but it is also a challenging destination in and of itself.  While snow can make the going tough during the winter, it is still a nice place to get out and enjoy some fresh air.  During the summer, the exposes slopes higher on the canyon can get hot, but the flowing water and shade of the lower canyon makes for very pleasant hiking.

Leaving the parking lot, you will head east into the canyon, where the trail follows a clear stream under a thick cover of oaks and pines.  After a mile of steady uphill, pass the turnoff for the Chapman Trail.  This trail takes a longer route, passing by the Cedar Flats campground, and it makes a nice detour if you have an extra hour or so.   The Icehouse trail continues climbing, reaching the Cucamonga Wilderness boundary at 1.8 miles.  From here on out the views of Ontario Peak and the higher country start opening up, as the trail follows the north wall of the canyon.  After a few steep switchbacks, the trail rejoins the Chapman Trail.  Take a right and climb the last few switchbacks to the saddle.  From here, you can see most of the Angeles National Forest to the west and Lytle Canyon to the east.  If you still have energy, see if you can polish off one of the nearby peaks.

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