The hike via the Icehouse Canyon Trail to Ice House Saddle travels through one of the most riveting and beautiful inner canyons of the San Gabriel Mountains. A year-round running stream among beautiful pines, cedars and foliage begins the hike. The last half of the hike leave the stream and take on for the high ground to the saddle. Although a difficult journey with roughly 2400 feet of elevation gain, it is one that is comprised of stellar views and an amazing ambiance. Embrace the feeling of really escaping Los Angeles.
Elevation Gain: 2600 ft.
Time: 5 hours
Distance: 8 miles
Traffic (human): Very crowded weekends
Dogs Allowed?: Yes
Parking directions and GPS map at the bottom of blog:
*As a note, this blog serves as a guide to Ice House Saddle, from Ice House Saddle you could hike to Cucamonga Peak or the three T’s. These are the three prominent peaks known as Timber Mountain, Telegraph Peak and Thunder Mountain.*
Trail Write Up:
The trailhead of this hike is located right next to the parking lot, with a huge map of the surrounding trails. On the map you will see Ice House Canyon saddle clearly marked.
The Trailhead, sorry for the shaky photo, it was a cold morning.
A little bit of hiking term knowledge: A saddle is a U-shaped compression in the mountain which typically forms when two peaks merge. Such as the U shape between two large waves guiding through an ocean. Giving Ice House Canyon saddle it’s name.
After hiking through the trail entrance, you’ll find the trail already encompassed by the native trees of Ice Canyon.
The Ice House Canyon Trail is very easy to follow up to the saddle. It’s the only trail you will need to take in order to reach the saddle, so there should be no confusion as to whether you’re following the right path to the saddle. Getting to the saddle is a strait shot.
Along the so far easy path, you’ll come across some cabin ruins of an older age.
One of many historic ruins to visit on the trail.
Moving on from the first set of ruins, the trail bobs and weaves through the giant cedars and pines of Ice Canyon, truly a magnificent sight indeed.
As the trail bobs and weaves through the canyon, new sights unfold, this is truly a way to escape the confines of the city.
In Autumn, the season we hiked in, the fall foliage was really in bloom. The trees, the ground and brush all exemplified that fall glow.
About 30 minutes into the hike the trail started to pick up a bit of accent. The trail got a bit harder due to the steepness, but the ambiance kept a fascinating feel. As we trudged up to the saddle we could feel the sun coming up around 8am.
Those 8am feels.
We knew it would begin getting a bit tougher at the inclined section, the brisk hike turned into more of a challenge. We encountered the beginning steepness at around the 2 mile mark.
The climb out of the canyon.
The immediate climb out of the canyon is a difficult one, you’ll feel the effects right away, but don’t fret there are plenty of opportunities to take a break. Take some time to soak in the scenery if need be.
At this portion you’re going to be looking at a constant elevation gain until reaching the saddle.
The sun really started to show up on the horizon at this point, but it was a refreshing welcome. Usually you are going to be hiking through some chilly temps in this region. It is the mountains after all.
But after a long and painstaking accent the end was near, Ice House Canyon Saddle closed in. Through the trees you’ll see sight of the saddle.
The Saddle, an amazing place to have a lunch, picnic, you name it.
Courageous hikers will continue the hike from the saddle to Cucamonga Peak or beyond. The saddle is also the junction to the three T’s.
Many options of trails at the saddle including the popular Cucamonga peak trail.
After hanging out at the saddle, you can decide to continue your hike beyond the resting point or decide to hike back (as we chose to).
The hike back down is not strenuous at all, expect to be down the mountain and back to your vehicle in about an hour and a half. Make sure to stop to see some of the more beautiful parts of the canyon.
Enjoy the fall foliage at the bottom of the mountain, it’s truly some of the most beautiful in Los Angeles.
Parking Directions and GPS map.
Parking Address: 7698 Ice House Canyon Rd.
Parking Coordinates: 34.250098, -117.636333
*As a note* Parking for this hike is very limited especially on the weekends. Additional parking can be found on the street behind the parking lot. Here is a photo of both parking areas:
The main lot.
Additional street parking.
The GPX Map
You can tap or click the blue graph to show elevation gains throughout the hike.