As seen in the Nobody Hikes in L.A. Guidebook!
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.
- 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 National Forest Service adventure pass ($5 per day or $30 per year) is required for parking at the Icehouse Canyon trailhead. Click here to purchase.
- Agency: Angeles National Forest, San Gabriel River Ranger District
- Distance: 12 miles
- Elevation gain: 4,100 feet
- Difficulty Rating: NC-17 (altitude, elevation gain, distance, steepness)
- Suggested time: 7 hours
- Best season: May to October
- USGS topo map: “Cucamonga Peak”; “Telegraph Peak”
- Recommended gear: hiking poles
- More information: ANF page (with description of the hike to Icehouse Saddle) here; trip report of Cucamonga Peak here
- Rating: 10
Note: This hike begins with the 3.6 mile climb to Icehouse Canyon. For a description and photos of that portion of the hike, click here.
If you get off to an early start today, chances are you might be able to pull off the hike to Cucamonga Peak and make it back home in time for the 4th of July. And if not, Cucamonga Peak is a great way to burn off calories from a barbecue on the 4th (or any other day). I’m writing this on the anniversary of my climb of Cucamonga Peak. Although I don’t agree with a fellow hiker’s comment that day that Cucamonga is tougher than Mt. Baldy, it’s certainly a challenge – and gives a lot for what it asks. Cucamonga is often visible as a pointy peak southeast of Baldy, and it rises sharply from the edge of the Inland Empire, making the views from the top all the more striking.
From Icehouse Saddle, take the signed trail to Cucamonga Peak, heading southeast. There are great views of the Lytle Creek area to the north as the trail clings to the Ontario/Cucamonga Ridge. Soon you come to a saddle between Cucamonga Peak and Bighorn Peak, and views to the south open up. Unfortunately these views are likely to be smog-filled, although I was lucky in getting a very clear day to do the hike.
From here, the trail starts switchbacking up the northwest face of Cucamonga. (Since this part of the trail can maintain snow late into the season–especially after a snowfall as heavy as this past winter–make sure you check to see what the conditions are. The last time I was in this area, early June, there was still some snow on the north side of Cucamonga). Soon, you will see a signed spur, and begin a short but steep climb to the summit. From the top, you will have great views of Baldy, San Gorgonio, San Jacinto and will be almost directly across a stretch of suburbia from Old Saddleback. On clear days, the ocean is visible too. For being so close to Mt. Baldy, Cucamonga Peak offers a very different–but just as memorable–hiking experience.