About a week ago, I wrote about wanting to tackle six SoCal summits in six weeks starting in September. Then I remembered a little place called Zion and I had to make adjustments. Let’s see if I can tackle all six summits by mid-October that way I can start considering a trip up to back side of Yosemite to do a little backpacking with the girls in the 20 Lakes Basin area. So much to do before winter sets in in the Sierra’s and I’m really hoping we have a great winter, we need it.
Sorry, I got a little sidetracked. I tend to do that. The other great part about this hike, was that it was also an excuse to check out Icehouse Canyon which was on my list. My hiking list that is. I have lots of lists. It’s how I stay organized. That and post-its. Right, back to Icehouse Canyon. I had read about the year round stream, the oaks and sycamores, the massive bounders and the little cabins. Icehouse sounded perfect! The fact that it also connected to one of the summits that I wanted to tackle was an added bonus.
We started this hike before sunrise and followed the trail that departs from the Icehouse Canyon Road parking lot along a nice stream. Yep, water in August – AMAZING! We passed the little cabins as the sun was staring to hit the peaks around us. We continued our climb taking a few thousand, okay, maybe it was only a few dozen or so switchbacks, but it felt like thousands, until we reached Saddleback. From here there are a trails leading in all directions and a map that has seen better days. We were still able to read it and we set off along the Middle Trail which actually was quiet nice, and had a lovely rolling feeling to it, until we started another set of switchbacks. By this point though we were out of the canyon and the views were only getting better. I love when that happens. It inspires you to keep going and going and going.
We finally reached the summit with very few people around. I set off with the girls to take in all of the views while my hiking partner opted to take a more horizontal approach at first and enjoy the wind rushing up and over the summit. Abby did too!
From Cucamonga Peak you can see many of the well known peaks in SoCal, including the distinctive saddleback mountains (Santiago and Modjeska peaks) in Orange County, Mt. San Jacinto, San Gorgonio, and Mt. San Antonio (Mt. Baldy). But in case the views don’t do it for you, there were tons of chipmonks which meant that Abby and Lexi had to stay on a leash near the summit. It is incredibly hard to try and take a picture of chipmonk when you have two dogs who are very attentive and chipmonks who show very little fear.
We headed back down, eventually, and it really started to warm up. Thankfully we made it back to the naturally occurring spring and the creek. Abby and Lexi got to cool off and take a break in the shade.
So, all in we did about 12 miles round trip with a vertical gain of 4,300 in elevation reaching the summit at 8,859. The second half of this trail is steep and dry so get and early start or opt to hike on a cool day. Much of the trail also lies on the north side of mountain so the snow takes longer to melt in the spring. Other then that this was a great hike. A hike that actually felt like a hike and not just a wonder though some rolling hills. So, if you’re up for something more challenging, this hike will defiantly make you feel like you deserve a nice cold beer at the end, or Chinese food.