Hiking Ontario and Bighorn Peaks via Icehouse Canyon
Los Angeles › Icehouse Canyon Trailhead
Added by Drew Robinson
- Distance: around 11.5 miles roundtrip
- Summit two peaks in one day, overlooking the Inland Empire and Southern California
- Ontario Peak - 8,694 ft and Bighorn Peak - 8,441 ft.
- Great chance to see bighorn sheep
- Pass through the beautiful Icehouse Canyon
- Overnight backpacking opportunity at Kelly Camp
To reach Big Horn and Ontario Peak, start at the Icehouse Canyon Trailhead, a 3.5 miles trail that gains 2700 ft to the Icehouse Saddle. From the Icehouse Saddle, you'll find the trails for Cucamonga Peak, 3 T's Trail, Middle Fork, and the trail towards Kelly Camp and Ontario Peak.
Icehouse Canyon is a beautiful hike in its own right, with a creek that runs year round, huge boulders, canyon walls, and mountain peaks all around. There are fir, pine, cedar, and oaks that offer shade during the warmer months. During the winter, the trail becomes a winter wonderland. This trail can be very crowded, so make sure to wake up early and get to the Icehouse Saddle without the crowds.
Once you've reached the Saddle, the trail for Ontario Peak will appear on your right. The trail moves gradually from here towards Kelly Camp and offers a wonderful view of Mt. Baldy. Kelly Camp is a wilderness camping area perfect for overnighters.
If you're doing this as a day hike, continue on to Ontario Ridge. At Ontario Ridge, you'll find a wooden trail sign that points left towards Bighorn Peak and right towards Ontario Peak. Bighorn Peak is only 1.4 miles roundtrip from here, whereas Ontario Peak is just under 3 miles roundtrip back to Ontario Ridge. Some prefer Bighorn first, but you can choose either way.
The trail to Bighorn Peak is a dusty foot path that runs up along a ridge before descending to the base of the summit. The trail can be somewhat washed out, at times, so just head towards the highest point.
The trail to Ontario Peak is more frequently traveled, and you will have no trouble finding your way. The views on the trail to Ontario Peak offer a panoramic shot of Mt. Baldy, Thunder Mountain, Telegraph Peak, and Timber Mountain. At the summit, you'll find a large tree and a mount of boulders. Hop your way to the top, and enjoy your views of the Inland Empire. On a clear day, you'll be able to see Los Angeles and the Pacific Ocean.
Driving Directions: From 201 east, take exit 52 (Baseline Road). Turn left on Baseline Road, then right onto Padua Avenue. After 1.7 miles, turn right at Mount Baldy Road. You will pass through Mount Baldy Village, where you can get a permit at the ranger station. After 1.5 miles, take a right on Icehouse Canyon Road, where you will find the parking area and trailhead to the left of the road.
- Hiking essentials
- Quality trail shoes
- Crampons/microspikes in the winter
- Trekking poles
- Snacks and water
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Backpacking, Camping, Hiking
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Tips for First Timers
A couple tips for this one: 1. Wear long pants! the trail is a little overgrown with bushes full of bees! (We hiked this is July) 2. Poles are really helpful on this one. Steep climb on the way up and uneven footing with ice house canyon being full of small rocks, boulders and sand. 3. There is a bottle opener installed in the tree at the top of Ontario so bring a beer for a mountaintop celebration! Enjoy!
I always miss the Bighorn Sheep on this one!
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