Ice House Canyon
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A classic nearby hike that is great for a morning or a weekend.
Relevant Guidebooks & Maps
Trails of the Angeles, Cucamonga Peak topo map.
Go up Mills to Baldy Rd, turn right and follow that all the way up to Baldy Village. You will need to stop at the ranger station (across from Baldy Lodge) to get a wilderness permit if you are hiking all the way to the saddle. After you leave the village (and before you get to the steep switchbacks), the road forks, with the main road curving off to the left. Take the rightmost fork (which goes pretty much straight ahead) and park in the lot. It takes about a half-hour from Claremont.
If you need to get out of this slime pit but don't have much time, this is the place to go. It's only a few miles from the sprawling metropolis, but you'd never know it once you're there. The trail is easy to follow. It goes up the floor of the canyon, past several cabins and along the stream. After a mile, the trail branches. You can go either way, but OTL graduate Alan Kaufmann prefers to follow the lower main trail up to the saddle and take the "high road" back down. The trail continues up the side of the canyon and then switchbacks up to the saddle. Mile posts let you mark your progress. At the saddle, there is a metal map, showing routes and mileages to Ontario Peak, Cucamonga Peak, The Three T's, and from there, Mt. Baldy via the Devil's Backbone. If you have all day or two days, a trip to one of the closer peaks is do-able. Baldy is still a long way off, and it will probably take you two or more days to do that trip (and you need a car shuttle). If you only have half a day, just turn around and go back the way you came. The high road meets up with the main trail within 1/4 to 1/2 mile from the saddle. If you choose to go back that way, watch carefully for the junction as you descend- The high road heads off to the right from the top of a switchback and is easy to miss. The High Road trail hugs the lower flanks of the Three T's and Mt. Baldy. It is steeper and longer than the lower trail, but very picturesque. This day hike is about 7 miles round trip if you take the lower trail both ways, 8 1/2 if you do the loop. There is snow from late November - April, but still decent for hiking.
Water is available from the stream along the lower part of the trail, but needs to be purified. Higher up on the lower trail. Columbine spring has water year-round, but is should be purified as well (see map for location).
Edited by (in order): OTL Staff
Last updated: 05/22/2009