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.

6               5

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.

12

11         13        14         15

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.

19               20

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

23

24

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

25       26      27       28

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

32

33               34

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.

42

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.

43               44

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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *