Saturday, November 12, 2011

Icehouse Saddle via Icehouse Canyon Trail

November, 7 2011
Update: November 21, 2011- Chapman Trail

Nearby City:
San Antonio Heights, CA

Driving Directions:
Take the 210 freeway East or West and Exit toward Base Line Rd. then in 0.4 mile make a left onto East Baseline Rd. Take the first Right onto Padua Ave. and follow that for 1.8 miles and make a slight Right at the light onto Mt. Baldy Rd. Continue to follow Mt. Baldy Rd as it winds up into the mountains, soon you'll see Mt. Baldy ahead of you covered in snow (if it's winter) Once at Mt. Baldy Village an Adventure Pass can be bought at the Mt. Baldy Lodge or the Visitor/ information center just a few feet further up the road. Continue to follow Mt. Baldy Rd. 1.5 miles to Ice House Canyon Rd. (Right) and park somewhere in the parking lot. An Adventure Pass is needed to park.

Sunrise to sunset

Moderate- strenuous

The trail starts off easy with very little incline. Once about 2.5 miles in you hit switchbacks and this is where it gets strenuous; but its only 1 mile more to the saddle!

Elevation Gain/Loss:
Trailhead- 4900'
Icehouse Saddle- 7555'
Total Gain/Loss- 2655'

This hike is great in the snow or in the summer. With trees towering above giving you plenty of shade and a roaring river to your right this trail can easily protect you from the suns rays during the hot summer months. In the winter the trail is covered in snow and patches of ice all the way up to the saddle and then to the summit. If you want to hike in the snow but never have, make sure to go at the first snow fall or in the spring when snow begins to melt. It is only the beginning of November and the snow and ice got to much for us to handle near the saddle.  Make sure to check weather conditions before heading out on this or any other trail.

Entrance/ Parking Fee:
An Adventure Pass is needed to park at the Icehouse parking lot. They can be bought online or at a location near you or the trail. There are a few places like the Mt. Baldy Lodge and the information center where you are able to buy an Adventure Pass, just make sure they are open before heading up the mountain.

For backpackers planing on spending the night out on the trail a Wilderness Permit is required. They can be  bought at the information center in Mt. Baldy Village. For the early hikers (before 8am) they can be bought the day before by calling (909) 982-2829 and they'll pin it on the bulletin board out front and you can pick it up in the morning.

Cell Service:
T-Mobile - I had no service anywhere in Mt. Baldy Village, at the trailhead, or anywhere along the trail.

Icehouse Canyon Trail-6.5 miles round trip
Chapman Trail to Icehouse Saddle- 7.5 miles round trip
Cucamonga Wilderness- 1.8 miles one way

Once at the Icehouse Saddle you will see that it is also a major junction with trails heading in four directions. The following list of trails are what trails you can take once you are at the saddle.

North: Three T's Trail
Timber Mt.- 0.9 mile
Telegraph Peak- 2.9 miles
Thunder Mt.- 3.9

Southeast: Cucamonga Peak Trail
Middle Fork Trail- 0.1 mile
Cucamonga Peak- 2.4 miles
Big Tree Trailhead- 9.1 miles

East: Middle Fork Trail
Commanche Camp- 1.7 miles
Third Stream Crossing- 3.2 miles
Stonehouse- 4.5 miles
Middle Fork Trailhead- 5.4 miles

Southwest: Ontario Peak Trail
Kelly Camp- 1.0 mile
Ontario Peak- 2.8 miles

Trail Directions:
From the trailhead follow the trail as it heads up into Icehouse canyon following the year around creek to the right of the trail. After 1.0 mile you'll reach the junction of the Chapman Trail (this trail is newer but will add 1.7 miles to your hike) on the left and the original Icehouse Canyon Trail, go straight. In a while you will cross the creek to the south bank and at 1.8 miles from the start you reach the signed entrance to the Cucamonga Wilderness. The forest is more open at this point so make sure to bring sunscreen. The trail crosses back to the north side of the canyon, and after a few minutes you pass a 2 mile marker. The trail gets steeper now and at 2.4 miles you are greeted by the refreshing water of Columbine Spring, high on the north slope above the canyon floor. The spring is barely viable from the trail, we found it by listening to the sounds of water and following a small foot path down and around to it where we sat and had lunch. Just after the spring you''ll hit a bunch of switch backs and just shy of 3 miles you reach the upper junction of the Chapman Trail. As you continue up the canyon (right) the topography becomes more gentle and after another half mile you'll reach the Icehouse Saddle.

Once at the saddle enjoy the views of the surrounding mountains and then you have to make a choice. Go back the way you cam, hike to the summit, or follow one of the many trails leading off in different directions. See the trail list below for the list of these trails. As Jessie's Trails hikes the long list of trails at the junction they will become links to their own page with trail directions.

Other Activities:
Mountain Biking
Trail Running
Dogs allowed on leash

Mt. Baldy
Adventure Pass
Wilderness Permit and Other Permits
San Bernardino National Forest

Jessie's Thoughts:
Loved this trail! I will say it again, I LOVE THIS TRAIL!! First hike of winter; beautiful snow all over the ground, stunning views of snow capped mountains, and lunch with friends at Columbine Spring; is it wrong to ask for more? NOPE! This trail provides great exercise as the trail gets harder the farther you go, exploration of tiny stone foundations of cabins that once stood there for the A.D.D hikers, a flowing creek all year if you want to take a dip in the summer time and did I mention snow in the winter?! I recommend this trail for everyone wanting a change from the norm. If you plan on hiking this trail in the winter make sure to check weather conditions before heading out and bring the proper equipment as the trail is covered in ice.


View Jessie's Trails in a larger map


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