- Home - Hiking Trails - LA Mountain Hikes Hike Ontario Peak and Bighorn Peak
If you want a great mountain hike without the crowds, hike Ontario Peak (8,696 ft) and Bighorn Peak. You might see more bighorn sheep than people!
14.7 miles (23.7 km)
4170 ft (1271 m)
First half well marked, second half sparsely marked
First half popular, second half not many
Great views, solitude, bighorn sheep
Ontario Peak And Bighorn Peak Hike Trail Maps
Google Maps trailhead:
20 Ice House Canyon Rd, Mt Baldy, CA, 91759, USA The trailhead for the Ontario Peak and Bighorn Peak hike is just outside of Mt Baldy Village, about 90 minutes east of downtown LA. You hike up to Icehouse Saddle, then up to a higher ridge where you hike Bighorn Peak to the left, then Ontario Peak to the right. The hike is a steady uphill effort, with a small dip in-between Bighorn Peak and Ontario Peak. Interactive Map Ontario Peak And Bighorn Peak Hike Map Downloads View a Printable PDF Hike Map Download the Hike GPX File Gear for the Ontario Peak And Bighorn Peak Hike The best hydration daypack out there. The CamelBak Fourteener has been perfect on hikes of all distances (including Mt Whitney and Cactus to Clouds). It's light, has plenty of room for super-food snacks, extra layers, hiking gear, and comes with a 3 liter water bladder. I also like the raised sweat pads on the back that keep your back dry. It's the perfect blend of high-tech, durability, and simplicity. I've got hundreds of hours on it and still love it. CamelBak Fourteener Reviews My favorite hiking boot of all time. The La Sportiva Synthesis (for men and women) are waterproof, super-light, have incredible grip, and won a Backpacker Magazine Editor's Choice Award ( my review here). I've gone through a lot of boots and these are my favorite. They feel like comfortable sneakers with the protection of hiking boots. La Sportiva Hiking Boot Reviews Don't hike without this in your backpack. It's a GPS emergency beacon and can save your life ( more on that here). On the trail, you're often out of cell phone range, and even something as simple as a twisted ankle could become a life and death situation. This beacon works where cell phones don't and is the size of a fist. Just press a button and help is on the way. Your life is worth every penny. ACR GPS Beacon Reviews And don't forget to My complete list of hiking gear and survival kit contents is here, check it out! check out REI outlet for great gear at half price. Ontario Peak And Bighorn Peak Hike Directions What to Expect Many people spot bighorn sheep on this hike (pictures below). Keep your eyes open above and below you on the trail. The Ontario Peak summit is a cool little rock nest with incredible views. The Ontario Peak hike starts on Icehouse Canyon Trail, which can get crowded. After Icehouse Saddle, the crowd thins out. This is a long and challenging hike. Make sure you pack plenty of water, snacks, and layers. In the winter, there can be snow and ice. Call the ranger office for the latest conditions and don’t take any risks. You need a permit to hike in the Cucamonga Wilderness, and it’s easy and free. A box at the trailhead has permit forms for you to fill out. Bring a pen. If there are no forms, fill out your info on a piece of paper and leave it. There is a big parking lot, but it fills up by 7am, and you need a parking pass. I use the affordable National Parks Pass, which gets me in every park, monument, and national forest. You can also use an (Southern California only) Adventure Pass, or buy a $5 day permit from the ranger’s office. Turn by Turn Directions There is plenty of parking at the Icehouse Canyon trailhead, but it fills up quickly on weekends. There are also primitive bathrooms here, the only ones on the hike. The trailhead is at the far corner of the lot and has notices and updates for the Cucamonga Wilderness. The hiking permit box is to your left by the board. Fill out a hiking permit, save the yellow copy, and put the white copy in the slot on the side of the box. Start hiking on the Icehouse Canyon trail as it gently climbs along Icehouse Creek. You’ll pass some cabins and ruins as you go. The ruin of the big fireplace is the old Icehouse Canyon Resort, a tavern built in 1921 that burned down in 1980. At about 0.5 miles, take the left. After climbing past the cabins, continue straight through the junction. Going left brings you to Icehouse Saddle but adds some miles onto the hike. So yea, just go straight. At about 1.7 miles, you officially enter the Cucamonga Wilderness area. The trail can get tricky as it goes through the stream bed. Look for cairns and footprints if you aren’t sure. After leaving the creek bed, the trail starts to climb up the slopes. At about 3.2 miles, continue to the right towards Icehouse Saddle. As you climb, you’ll get nice views of Mt Baldy appear. At around 3.8 miles you should reach Icehouse Saddle junction. The trail to Ontario Peak is to the right as you enter the saddle area. Icehouse Saddle is a great place to take a break and fuel up for the hike to Ontario Peak. Head on the trail to Kelly Camp and Ontario Peak from Icehouse Saddle. This part of the trail is incredibly beautiful. You’ll have views of Mt Baldy and down into Icehouse Canyon. It’s also pretty remote. It’s not uncommon to be the only hiker here. On this day, I shared the trail with a few bighorn sheep who were meandering ahead of me (look closely at the picture!). If you want to see bighorn sheep, don’t forget to look up on the slopes above the trail. There’s no guarantee you’ll see any, but who knows? In this picture, a bighorn stares down at me as I struggle up the trail. It’s a scenic mile or so from Icehouse Saddle to Kelly Camp. After about 4.8 miles, you’ll reach Kelly Camp, which used to be a resort. These days you can camp here among the old stone ruins. Hike to the left at the fork. The trail heads up through dead trees and manzanita. Keep your eyes peeled, the trail twists and turns here. There are also some logs to hop over in this section of the trail. After you clear the dead forest, you reach the ridge line, the Bighorn Peak trail goes to the left. Head left to hike to Bighorn Peak. From here on out, as the trail winds on the ridge line, the views are spectacular. Here you can see Saddleback Mountain rising above the clouds in Orange County. The trail to Bighorn Peak winds it’s way around the ridge. The trail is small, so keep your eyes open. At the small saddle, start climbing up the final stretch to Bighorn Peak, winding up the small switchbacks. You made it! Welcome to Bighorn Peak. This pile of stones marks the official peak. There’s a trail register hidden around the summit. Add your name and notes to the trail register if it strikes your fancy. Soak in the views of Cucamonga Peak and Mt Baldy, take a picture or two, and head back to the trail intersection on the ridge. Back at the intersection, head straight towards Ontario Peak. The trail continues for a while, going through some sections of manzanita. There are a few peaks that look like the summit as you go. Keep on hiking. At about 7.8 miles, make the right in the little backcountry camping area. As the trail goes along the ridge line, the views are jaw-dropping! This pile of rocks is the Ontario Peak summit. Almost there. Climb to the middle of the rock pile to reach the summit of Ontario Peak. There’s a bigger pile of rocks you can scramble up for even better views. The Ontario Peak trail register is in a pile of rocks. If you brought a bottle of beer, someone has been nice enough to install a bottle opener up here! Grab your pictures, have a bite to eat, and head back the way you came. You can skip the side trip to Bighorn Peak on the way back down unless you’re feeling particularly energetic. The trip back down along the ridge line offers new views from the other direction. It’s an incredible section of trail. I hope you love the hike as much as I do! Ontario Peak And Bighorn Peak Hike Video Please subscribe to my YouTube channel here!
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Read More A quick note. These directions are meant as a guide for the hike, and not a definitive source. Conditions change, and the information here can be different based on time of day, weather, season, etc. There can be small side trails that you might see but I missed. I have made every effort to include all the information you need to complete the hike successfully. I recommend using this guide in conjunction with a map, GPX file, common sense, and call to the ranger station or park office. If you do the hike and notice something has changed, please contact me and I will update the guide.
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