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 for the year) is required for parking here. Click here to purchase.
- Agency: Angeles National Forest, San Gabriel River Ranger District
- Distance: 13 miles
- Elevation gain: 4,500 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 reports of Telegraph Peak from Manker Flats here and 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.
Telegraph Peak (elevation 8,985) is the tallest of the three “T” mountains, located south of Thunder Mountain and north of Timber Mountain. While it might not be as well known as nearby Mt. Baldy or Cucamonga Peak, the hike to Telegraph Peak offers some spectacular views–while offering a significantly different hiking experience. It’s challenging, to say the least, but offers some great scenery and more isolation than on the more famous mountains nearby. Telegraph Peak’s steep, pointy profile makes for great views on the whole climb. This hike was originally a sort of consolation prize for me–I was planning on doing San Jacinto but there was still to much snow, so we opted for this one instead. But instead of “settling”, I ended up having one of my best hikes.
Telegraph Peak can also be reached via Thunder Mountain from Manker Flats (see link above) I have done that route as far as Thunder Mountain, and although the way I have described is more challenging, I found it to be far more scenic.
From Icehouse Saddle, take the signed Three Ts trail north. At about half a mile, stay left at a juncture, where a spur leads to Timber Mountain. Here, the trail contours around the north side of Timber and drops about 200 feet to a saddle. To the left (west) are views of Baldy and the San Gabriels; to the right you can see San Gorgonio and San Jacinto. Enjoy the views–you will pay for them on the return trip.
After making your way across the saddle, the ascent resumes, switchbacking up the southeast slope of Telegraph Peak. Views of the Ontario/Cucamonga Ridge open up as you get closer to the summit. Finally, about two and a half miles from Icehouse Saddle, a signed spur to the right takes you up the final stretch to Telegraph Peak. There is some rock-scrambling required to reach the summit, but the route should be pretty obvious.
From the top, your 360 degree view includes Baldy to the west, the high desert to the north, San Gorgonio to the east, San Jacinto southeast, and Cucamonga and Old Saddleback to the south. Telegraph Peak may ask a lot from hikers–those 200 feet you descended back at the saddle will seem very long when you are ascending them after having already hiked nine miles–but the rewards are huge. If you want to hike in the area and avoid the Ontario/Cucamonga Peak crowds, this is definitely a trip you want to do.