Hike to the Icehouse Saddle

3.8
7.2 miles 2600 ft gain  - Out-and-Back Trail

Added by Julie Cash

Ice House Canyon is a popular weekend trail, though many people only make use of lower elevation section of the trail by the creek. But don't expect to have the trail to yourself unless you head to further destinations.

The hike is accessible in all seasons, but in winter there can be snow and ice so special equipment may be useful, but not required. In mid-January there were patches of ice on the trail but were easily crossed in boots and trainers. You can take the trail and end at Ice house Saddle or continue on to other destinations for a longer hike or overnight camping.

Before you start, you will need an Adventure Pass for parking ($5/day or $30 annually) as well as a free wilderness permit. Permit and pass can be purchased at the Mt. Baldy visitor center. The parking lot can fill up on weekends so get there early. There are basic toilets at the beginning of the trail but not on the trail itself.

The hike starts directly past the parking lot on a gravel road that soon turns into a trail. Rustic cabins are seen along the creek, some looking more abandoned than others but, fun to see either way. There are some old ruins interspersed off the path to explore as well. The trail runs along the creek for about 2 relatively easy miles before it turns up into moderate to difficult switchbacks all the way to the top. Be sure to keep your ears out for a spring run off soon before the switchbacks start. It’s the perfect place for a break before starting your ascent. Once the switchbacks start you can take your time and, if needed, catch your breath while you watch the terrain and flora change into more of a forest with cedars and firs, and also catch some epic views of Mt.Baldy.

Once you reach the saddle you can take a few different trails to numerous peaks to get a better view, extend the day or camp for the night. If you are ending at the saddle, at least go up the ridge a little to the north to get a better view as the saddle view itself is a little lacking. Head back down the way you came or, for a longer but more gradual descent, take the Chapman Trailhead about .6 miles from Ice House Saddle. The hike down has the best views particularly of Baldy and I saw many things I missed on the way up.

This hike is not easy but it is a great workout and can be done by beginners up for a challenge, though it may take a little longer. The views are amazing, there is a chance you can see snow in the winter and spring, and it is a short distance from Los Angeles and other surrounding cities.

After your hike be sure to stop at the Mt. Baldy Lodge for something to cool you down or warm you up. The chili and grilled cheese are my top choices and they have lots of hot and cold drinks, alcoholic and otherwise, which you have more than earned.

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Photography
Hiking
Bathrooms
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Food Nearby
Forest
Scenic
Wildlife

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Reviews

Rate this Adventure

🥈 Contributor

about 3 years ago

Beautiful hike

Just did it this past weekend. It's almost like the Eastern Sierra, to an extent, but it needs fewer people playing music on speakers as they hike. C'mon. Seriously.

U.K.

Boop. Il

3 T's

Do 3 T's. Great hike!!!

Very Solid, Semi Strenuous, Pretty View Hike

Did the hike at the end of November (2015) and the weather was chilly so you needed a base layer and a decently warm jacket (gloves were helpful near the top too). The hike was doable by people who don't hike often, but are generally fit people (they were sore the next day). The views are very nice and the time we went there was snow on the ground, but sneakers were still fine with some decently warm socks. Busy on a Saturday morning, but the farther you go up the less people you see. Definitely recommend for a good workout, but not too hard where you can't talk along the way.

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