Frankish Peak

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Frankish Peak View
Baldy, Ontario and Cucamonga from the trail to Frankish Peak
Frankish Peak Descent
At least the hard part’s done: Descending Frankish Peak

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.

Frankish Peak

  • 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: PG-13 (Steepness, trail condition, elevation gain)
  • Suggested time: 3 hours
  • Best season: September – May
  • USGS topo maps: Mt. Baldy
  • Recommended gear: hiking poles
  • 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.


  1. Hi David – we decided, on your recommendation, to do the quarry route to Fish Canyon Falls, but then saw your update online that the trail is closed. In casting about for a trail in the vicinity to do today, we hit on Claremont Hills Wilderness to pair with the shorter route to Fish Canyon Falls. But then we saw your write-up of this peak and decided to ti it and possibly also the Wilderness hike. Frankish peak (where did it get that name?) definitely was as billed- it’s fairly punishing and a real workout hike. That said, we enjoyed it. The views, even on a hazy day, were fascinating. I don’t get the dumping at the beginning and the glass on the top… other than that, serene (even with Highway 210 noise) and isolated. I’m also wasn’t sure which peak was Cucamonga, Ontario, etc. The trail was so steep going up that I was quite anxious about going down, but it turned out not to be as scary or difficult as it seemed to be when we were going up – very counterintuitive. We didn’t go too far off trail, and appreciated all your advice. One of the other write-ups you mentioned had a nice photo of the trailhead. It no longer has the yellow sign, but otherwise is just as it looks in the photo, and given our 1996 Volvo doesn’t have a working odometer, the photo helped. The only place I got a bit confused was in determining the “road” when the ridge trail ends at the road. To me, the ridge trail takes a left (west) and goes along the side of a ridge on what might have once been a road for .1 to .2 miles, before you truly hit the road. It looked like people had tried to turn right at that left turn (which is pretty inhospitable and sends you into the canyon). The true road looks much more road-like and, obviously, has a clear left and right to it. In any event, we cleared that up (mainly because my husband has more sense than I do). Going down, the turn back onto the trail from the upper road is now marked with a large arrow made of stones. If you walk the left (south) side of that road coming down, you won’t miss the turn off. We ended up only doing this hike and not the Wilderness hike, in large part because the husband’s brand new boots (the tread of which was essential for this trail) turned out to be too narrow and his toes hurt too much. Luckly, REI (not too far away) exchanged the boots. In any event, all advice good and well-taken. We enjoyed the “butt-buster.” And a PS, we did Lukens from Stone Canyon last week and we thought it was not at all difficult and in darn good shape.

    1. Hi Dianne, thanks for the update on Lukens – I have still not hiked it via the Stone canyon route and may try that one soon. Thanks too for the updates on Frankish Peak (not sure how it got that name to answer your question). It was a long time ago- more than 5 years that I did it so I wouldn’t be surprised if things have changed a little (new use trails, lack of maintenance, etc). Thanks as always for reading and happy/safe hiking.

    1. Hi Chris, thanks for the update and for sharing your track. It’s been years since I’ve been there so I’m probably due for a revisit so I can update the photos and descriptions.

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