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With one of the coolest summits in the San Gabriel Mountains, the Cucamonga Peak hike is a favorite. The climb is tough but not brutal, the scenery and views are awesome, and the crowds aren't as bad as Mount Baldy.
12 miles (19.3 km)
4300 ft (1311 m)
Crowded to Icehouse Saddle, then sparse
Views, Alpine Scenery, Cool Summit
Cucamonga Peak Hike Trail Maps
Use this address in Google Maps to get to the trailhead:
20 Ice House Canyon Rd, Mt Baldy, CA, 91759, USA
The trailhead for Cucamonga Peak is about 90 minutes east of downtown LA. It's just outside of Mt Baldy Village, where you can grab a bite to eat.
It's a long, gradual climb up from Icehouse Canyon. Then a final push to Cucamonga Peak. You can see the peak's position gives you great 360 views of the surrounding.
The hike is steadily uphill on the Icehouse Canyon Trail. After Icehouse Saddle the hike is level and you get a breather, and then you go up. And up.
Interactive Map Cucamonga Peak Hike Map Downloads Gear for the Cucamonga 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 For my complete gear list and survival kit contents, please check out my post on the modern hiking essentials here. I'd also recommend taking a quick look at the Every day they mark down great quality hiking gear, fitness gear, and clothing. Pick up an inexpensive lifetime REI Outlet site. REI Membership for an extra 10% off. Cucamonga Peak Hike Video Cucamonga Peak Hike Directions What to Expect The summit, Cucamonga Peak, at 8,862 feet, has spectacular views of the LA sprawl, the desert, and surrounding peaks. There are areas on the summit were you can do some primitive camping. Keep your eyes open above and below the trail for bighorn sheep. The hike to Cucamonga Peak 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 The Cucamonga Peak hike starts at the Icehouse Canyon trailhead, at the far end of the parking lot. Hiking permits are in the box in front of the trailhead sign. Fill the hiking permit out, take the yellow copy with you, and drop the white copy in the slot on the side of the box. If there’s no permits left, fill out your info on a blank piece of paper and leave it in the box. Start hiking up the developed Icehouse Canyon trail, passing some cabins along the way. The trail gets really beautiful as it winds up along Icehouse Creek. Shortly after starting, there’s a tree stump with SCE on it. Hike to the left and continue on the Icehouse Canyon trail. There are cool ruins along this part of the hike. After hiking about a mile, there’s a junction, hike straight through. You’re next destination is the Icehouse Saddle, 2.6 miles down the trail. After hiking about 1.7 miles, you officially enter the Cucamonga Wilderness area. As the trail gently starts to angle upward, there are a lot of really cool rocks and geological formations. There are some rocky sections of the trail here. Look for the cairns if you get lost. As you climb, the views back into the canyon are beautiful. The trail steepens and traverses several switchbacks. At about 3.2 miles you reach a junction. Hike to the right to continue towards Icehouse Saddle. At around 3.6 miles, you approach Icehouse Saddle. Icehouse Saddle is a great place to stop for a snack. There are five trails that intersect here. You want to hike on the Cucamonga Peak trail, which is straight through the saddle area from where you came. This is the Cucamonga Peak trail (from Icehouse Saddle). Shortly after hiking on the Cucamonga Peak trail, another trail splits off left. Keep hiking right on the Cucamonga Peak trail. The trail follows the side of Bighorn Peak. The hike here is level with some downhill sections. There’s lots of great views to the left. The trail skirts the side of the mountain. There are some narrow and washed out areas, but it’s all safe and doable. At around 4.5 miles, you’ll see an abandoned mine shaft. If you want to see what it’s like inside, check this out. Shortly after the mine, the trail crosses a small saddle and starts climbing. As you hike up, take time to stop, turn around, and look around. There are great views of the surrounding peaks, Mt Baldy and the Baldy Bowl. LA and the inland empire come into view. Keep your eyes open, there’s a point where you can see the skyscrapers of downtown LA from here. At about 6.2 miles, after some serious climbing, the trail to Cucamonga Peak splits off to the right. Someone stole the sign on this day, so keep your eye open for the wooden post. You did it! The actual peak is to the left. There’s an American flag to the right. The summit has tons of cool rock formations to take pictures on. The views are incredible. The area with the flag has views toward the west. From here, you just hike back the way you came up. Happy hiking! An easy way to give back is to simply pick up any trash you see on the trail. 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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