Icehouse Canyon Trail – Chapman Trail Loop

I was looking to beat the heat which has been bad on the coast.  I had heard that Icehouse Canyon, right near Mount Baldy, was cool even on hot days.  I wound up getting caught in a freak storm with no rain gear which made for a very memorable day.  If you hike here remember that you need both a Wilderness Adventure Pass for your car and a permit to enter the Cucamonga Wilderness area.  The latter may be obtained for free at the Mount Baldy Visitor Center, which you will pass on the drive to the trailhead.

1     2     3   I started out at about 7 a.m. The Sun was shining and the skies were blue. The ruins of an old resort sit right above the trailhead parking lot.

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4   There are several areas like this, covered from rock slides.

7     8   There are cabins along the first mile of the trail, some look almost new while others are mere remnants.

9   The first part of the trail also runs right next to a creek which makes for easy navigation.  Here is a video of the creek.


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16   I loved the redwoods and other trees along the trail.  Photo 3 – Lemon-Lime Acorn  Photo 4 – I’ve seen damage to logs like this before – maybe by some kind of beetle?  Photo 5 – The squirrels in the area are a lovely shade of silvery gray.

17     18   After about a mile I went to the left up Chapman Trail where these trail signs stand.  Icehouse Canyon Trail continues up the bottom of the canyon.

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Chapman Trail took me up out of the canyon on a moderate incline.  Chapman re-connects with Icehouse Canyon Trail in about 3 1/2 miles. I took Chapman first because I had read that the climb is less strenuous (although it’s about a mile longer, if memory serves me).

21     22   A mile and a half up Chapman Trail and I arrived at Cedar Glen, a little campground situated in the middle of a grove of Cedars.  Photo 2 – Bark Abstract



To the right of the campground is a hill which I climbed to get some nice views of the surrounding mountains.

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29   As I progressed on Chapman Trail, the trail got a bit narrow and sketchy in places, although I didn’t really feel I was in any true danger of falling.

31     30   Photo 2 – Snow white yucca


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35   I was relieved to see some clouds forming in the sky, especially when they got big enough to block out the ever-present sunshine.

37     36   The skinny little trail was a bit busy.  I passed several groups heading in the opposite direction.

38   I reached the upper junction for Chapman and Icehouse Canyon trails.  I sat down to eat lunch and noticed a few drops of rain hit the dirt.  By the time I finished eating, the rain was pouring down in buckets.  Lightning and thunder exploded in the sky.  The weather can change so quickly in the mountains.  Here’s a video of the beginning of the storm.

40     39     41   It didn’t take long until I was drenched to the bone but I pressed on.  I could barely see with the rain covering my glasses, and it seemed the trail might be somewhat difficult to follow even in good weather.  I convinced myself that hiking through these adverse conditions could only make me stronger.


The trail disappeared and was replaced by a stream.  I followed the path of the water downhill and hoped I hadn’t wandered of course.

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45   Something hit me in the ear.  I looked down and found pea-size hailstones accumulating at my feet.  The sun did briefly re-appear near the end of the hike.  As I began to relax, a 40 foot limb crashed to the ground across the creek.  A few hundred yards further down the trail I heard a loud cracking noise coming from the hill next to me.  When I looked up I saw a large boulder tumble down and take out a big yucca plant.  A wild way to finish this wild hike.  Because of the storm, I’m sure I didn’t get a typical Icehouse Canyon experience, but I know I’ll be back here again someday.

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