Objective: Summit Ontario Peak, San Gabriel Mountains, California
Distance: 11.6 miles (out and back)
Peak Elevation: 8,693′
Elevation Gain: 3,688′
The San Gabriel Mountains have two parallel east-west ranges. The front range is to the south and overlooks Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties. The northern back range is taller and goes from 6,000′ to 10,000′ with Baldy at the top. A general rule is to hike the front range in cooler seasons and the back range in warmer seasons. Nestled in the Cucamonga Wilderness, in the eastern end of the back range is Ontario Peak. The trail climbs Icehouse Canyon to Icehouse Saddle and reaches a ridgeline connecting Bighorn Peak to Ontario Peak. You can hike to either peak or both.
Directions to Trailhead
Head east on the 210, and exit Baseline Road in Claremont. Turn left on Baseline Road. Turn right on Padua Avenue. In 1.7 miles, turn right onto Mt. Baldy Road. In 7.2 miles, go past Mt. Baldy Village. Continue 1.5 miles and turn right at Icehouse Canyon Road. The trailhead is at the far end of the parking lot.
Directions to Summit
Trailhead: The hike begins on Icehouse Canyon Trail.
1 mile: At the Chapman Trail junction, continue ahead on Icehouse Canyon Trail.
1.8 miles: There is a sign for the Cucamonga Wilderness.
2.4 miles: Columbine Spring is on the north slope above the canyon.
3 miles: At the second Chapman Trail junction, stay right on Icehouse Canyon Trail.
3.6 miles: At Icehouse Saddle, turn right and follow the Ontario Peak Trail.
4.3 miles: The trail passes the eastern edge (to the left) of Kelly’s Camp.
4.8 miles: The trail climbs through some narrow shrubs to the ridgeline. (Bighorn is 0.75 miles to the east and Ontario is 1 mile to the west.) Turn right and follow the ridge to the summit.
5.8 miles: You have reached Ontario Peak. Turn around and head back.
The creek-side Icehouse Canyon Trail is dotted with cabins; honey-scented, blue ceanothus; and covered with rocks and streams. At the start, there is a giant tree whose roots restrain giant boulders. The trail becomes rocky just before it crosses a dry riverbed. After crossing the creek and entering the Cucamonga Wilderness area, the trail gently climbs to a big rock. The way is long, steep, and gradual like a slide, but covered with stable little stones. The trail steadily climbs the side of the canyon until it begins to switchback like crazy below Icehouse Saddle.<
The pine needle covered Ontario Peak trail hugs the slope beneath the ridgeline. After a mile, you pass Kelly’s Camp. Climb through dense shrubs and over a couple logs up to the ridge connecting Bighorn Peak to Ontario Peak. A mile hike along the ridge takes you to the summit of Ontario Peak. There are times when you want to just turn back before the top. Scramble on a pile of boulders. There is even a bottle opener in a tree to help you celebrate the views.
Display your adventure pass. Fill out a Self-Service Wilderness Permit at the trailhead kiosk.
Ontario Peak is named for the Canadian province of the same name.