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: North of Upland. From I-210, take the Mountain Avenue exit and go north (left if you are coming from the west, right if from the east) for a total of 2.5 miles. (At 2.1 miles, Euclid joins Mountain Avenue.) Look for a turnout on the right side of the road, just before the road curves north past the San Antonio Dam. Approximate trail head coordinates are N 34.15809, W 117.66981.
- Agency: Angeles National Forest, Mt. Baldy Visitor Center
- Distance: 4 miles
- Elevation gain: 2,200 feet
- Difficulty Rating: R (Steepness, trail condition, elevation gain)
- Suggested time: 3 hours
- Best season: September – May
- USGS topo maps: Mt. Baldy
- Recommended gear: hiking poles
- Recommended guidebook: Afoot & Afield: Inland Empire
- More information: Trip description here; Yelp page here; Peakbagger page here
- Rating: 8
Frankish Peak is not very well known, and certainly does not cut a recognizable profile like that of Cucamonga Peak or the other nearby summits, but it should not be under-estimated by local hikers. The trail has some very steep sections and can be difficult to follow, but on clear days, the views, of both the Inland Empire and the Ontario/Cucamonga Ridge, are great.
A common approach to the peak is via the Cucamonga Truck Trail fire road, but the route described here begins closer to where most hikers will be coming from–and it’s a little more interesting. Even finding the trail from the parking area can be tough; look for a firebreak heading straight up to a ridge. That’s your route–and it will get steeper later on. Follow it northeast for 0.6 miles to a dirt road. Head right and then make a quick left, following the dirt road to its ending. Here, the most challenging part of the hike begins.
The trail climbs steeply up the side of the ridge, at some points with seemingly no space on each side before the drop-off. After leveling out, the ascent continues to a false summit. From this point, follow the trail down to a saddle and climb again to the Cucamonga Truck Trail. Since the trail you have just used is pretty obscure, mark it well so you can find it on the way back (although I still managed to walk past it). Head right on the Cucamonga Truck Trail for the last 0.2 miles to the summit.
From here, your view includes Cucamonga Peak as you’ve probably never seen it before to the north, the front country of the San Gabriels to the west, Old Saddleback to the south and the San Bernardino Mountains to the east. On a clear day, the view is definitely worth the effort, and even if the visibility is disappointing, there are few hikes that pack more of a workout into a shorter distance.