Hike Ontario Peak and Bighorn Peak sign

Hike Ontario Peak and Bighorn Peak

In This Guide
  • Turn by Turn Hike Directions & Video
  • Ontario Peak Trail Maps
  • How to Get to the Ontario Peak Hike
Distance14.7 miles (23.7 km)
Hike Time8 Hours (Total)
DifficultyHard
Total Ascent (?)4,240 feet (1292m)
Highest Elevation8,696 feet (2651m)
Fees & PermitsFree Permit & Parking Fee
Dog FriendlyLeashed
Park ContactAngeles National Forest
Park Phone909-982-2829

If you want a great Angeles National Forest mountain hike without the crowds, hike Ontario Peak (8,696 ft) and Bighorn Peak. The hike begins on the popular Icehouse Canyon trail but soon moves off to the much less traveled Ontario Peak Trail, where you might see more bighorn sheep than people. The Ontario Peak Trail roughly follows a ridge line, offering great views culminating in the “rock nest” summit of Ontario Peak. There’s also a short spur trip to Bighorn Peak, because, why not? This is a tough hike but worth the effort–one of my favorites.

How To Get To the Ontario Peak Hike

Use this GPS trailhead address: 20 Ice House Canyon Rd, Mt Baldy, CA, 91759, USA.

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.

Hike Ontario Peak and Bighorn Peak parking
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.

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.

Gear for the Hike

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. Check this summit weather and call the ranger office for the latest conditions and don’t take any risks. This is not a hike to do when there is snow or ice.

Here’s the gear that I personally use, have tested, and recommend for this hike*.

Osprey Talon

Osprey Talon 33

My best lightweight pack for hikes between 3-10+ hours. I use mine with the 3L water bladder from Osprey.

Women’s Reviews

Men’s Reviews

Garmin Inreach Mini Beacon

Garmin InReach Mini

You can text, SOS, and get weather in the backcountry where your cell phone doesn’t work. Literally a life-saver.

Lowest Prices

My In-Depth Review

La Sportiva Spire

La Sportiva Spire GTX

Modern materials mean you get the protection of a traditional hiking boot (waterproof, etc.) with feel of a sneaker.

Women’s Reviews

Men’s Reviews

Black Diamond Trekking Poles

Black Diamond Trail Ergo Cork Trekking Poles

If you’re not using poles yet, you should be. This model takes a beating, is light, and is super comfortable.

See The Reviews

Socks Sock Liners

2-Layer Sock System

I use a light inner toe sock and then a top-quality outer sock to prevent blisters.

Injinji Sock Liners

Darn Tough Socks

Probar

Nutritionally Dense Superfoods

Probars are great: no preservatives, vegan, low-GI, compact, and tasty. Put good fuel in your body.

See the Probar Flavors

If you’re hiking in the backcountry it makes sense to have a decent emergency kit and some basic gear to spend the night in a pinch.Full HikingGuy Gear List

* No company pays me to promote or push a product, all the gear you see here is gear I use and recommend. If you click an REI link and buy gear, I get a small commission that helps offset website expenses. There is no cost to you.

Also → Big Sale at REI On Now:

REI SALE

Ontario Peak & Bighorn Peak Trail Maps

Click To View Map

Hike Ontario Peak and Bighorn Peak Map Downloads

Download the Hike GPX File

View a Printable PDF Hike Map

Here’s what I use to navigate my hikes. I recommend a combination of paper and electronic options with backups.

Gaiagps

Gaia GPS

Gaia GPS is a planning and navigation tool that you can use on your phone, tablet, and the web. I use it on my phone when I need to interact with the map and know where my position is on it. I use it at home on the computer to plan routes. You can overlay maps such as public lands to find out free places to camp. It’s a powerful tool.

HikingGuy Discount on Gaia GPS

Fenix Nav

Garmin Fenix Watch

This thing does everything: maps, GPX tracks, compass, barometer, altitude, heart rate, blood oxygen, fitness tracking, sleep tracking, and the list goes on. I keep a GPX route on the watch so I can quickly glance down and make sure I’m in the right place.

Fenix Prices & Reviews

My In-Depth Review

Topo Map

Topo Maps & Guide Books

Don’t be caught out if your batteries die. Take a topo map with you on the trail. Some people also print my guides out for use on the hike.

I also highly recommend taking a map and compass navigation course. It’s a few hours, it’s fun, and it could save your life.

Map and Compass Navigation Basics Classes

Don’t just rely on a cell phone, especially if you are hiking in the backcountry.

Hike Ontario Peak and Bighorn Peak 3d map
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.
Hike Ontario Peak and Bighorn Peak elevation
The hike is a steady uphill effort, with a small dip in-between Bighorn Peak and Ontario Peak.

Ontario Peak & Bighorn Peak Hike Directions

Video Directions

Get notified when new guides come out with the links below.

Subscribe to HikingGuy on YouTube

Get My Quarterly Newsletter

Turn by Turn Directions

Hike Ontario Peak and Bighorn Peak trailhead
The trailhead is at the far corner of the lot and has notices and updates for the Cucamonga Wilderness.
permit box
The hiking permit box is to your left by the board.
permit box
Fill out a hiking permit, save the yellow copy, and put the white copy in the slot on the side of the box.
Ontario Peak and Bighorn Peak hike trail
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.
Ontario Peak and Bighorn Peak hike trail junction
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.
Cucamonga Wilderness sign
At about 1.7 miles, you officially enter the Cucamonga Wilderness area.
stream bed
The trail can get tricky as it goes through the stream bed. Look for cairns and footprints if you aren’t sure.
Ontario Peak and Bighorn Peak hike trail climbs
After leaving the creek bed, the trail starts to climb up the slopes.
Ontario Peak and Bighorn Peak hike trail right turn
At about 3.2 miles, continue to the right towards Icehouse Saddle.
view of mt baldy
As you climb, you’ll get nice views of Mt Baldy appear.
Icehouse Saddle junction
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.
cris hazzard at Icehouse Saddle
Icehouse Saddle is a great place to take a break and fuel up for the hike to Ontario Peak.
trail to Kelly Camp and Ontario Peak
Head on the trail to Kelly Camp and Ontario Peak from Icehouse Saddle.
bighorn sheep on trail
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!).
bighorn sheep on trail
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.
Ontario Peak and Bighorn Peak hike trail
It’s a scenic mile or so from Icehouse Saddle to Kelly Camp.
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.
Ontario Peak and Bighorn Peak hike trail
The trail heads up through dead trees and manzanita. Keep your eyes peeled, the trail twists and turns here.
log on trail
There are also some logs to hop over in this section of the trail.
Bighorn Peak 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. Update from Will M: The sign is missing and there’s a small cairn now.
view of Saddleback Mountain
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.
Ontario Peak and Bighorn Peak hike trail
The trail to Bighorn Peak winds it’s way around the ridge. The trail is small, so keep your eyes open.
Ontario Peak and Bighorn Peak hike trail
At the small saddle, start climbing up the final stretch to Bighorn Peak, winding up the small switchbacks.
Bighorn Peak
You made it! Welcome to Bighorn Peak.
stones marking peak
This pile of stones marks the official peak.
trail register
There’s a trail register hidden around the summit.
trail register
Add your name and notes to the trail register if it strikes your fancy.
cris hazzard on bighorn peak
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.
Ontario Peak and Bighorn Peak hike trail
Back at the intersection, head straight towards Ontario Peak.
Ontario Peak and Bighorn Peak hike trail
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.
backcountry camping area
At about 7.8 miles, make the right in the little backcountry camping area.
Ontario Peak and Bighorn Peak hike views
As the trail goes along the ridge line, the views are jaw-dropping!
Ontario Peak summit
This pile of rocks is the Ontario Peak summit. Almost there.
summit of Ontario Peak
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.
Ontario Peak trail register
The Ontario Peak trail register is in a pile of rocks.
bottle opener on ontario peak
If you brought a bottle of beer, someone has been nice enough to install a bottle opener up here!
cris hazzard at ontario peak
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.
Ontario Peak and Bighorn Peak hike trail views
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!

Did something change on this hike? If so, please contact me and let me know. I'll update the guide.