Just east of the bustling city life of Los Angeles, Cucamonga Peak offers a great gateway into the San Gabriel Mountains and amazing views from the summit. Sharing the same approach road with Mount Baldy, this peak sometimes gets overlooked, but that doesn't mean that it doesn't get crowded during the summer months. Just a mile from Baldy Village, the Ice House Trailhead provides quite a lot of parking spots, but it tends to get filled up early during busy months. Make sure to get a parking permit at Baldy Village or purchase an Adventure Pass ahead of time.
From the trailhead, it's 5.5 miles to the summit. During the hot summer days, it's best to start early or late in the day, especially if you are planning to camp at the summit to avoid the heat. There isn't any water available on the trail, so make sure you carry plenty with you.
Icehouse Saddle, located 2.0 miles from the summit, is a great place to take a break and regroup. There are lots of different trails that you can take, and signage may be confusing or non-existent. Carrying a map might be handy at this section. From here the trail wraps around the hill going further and further away from the city. You will pass a pretty interesting small cave on the hillside; be really careful if you decided to peak inside.
Just before the summit there is set of switchbacks that feels like it never ends, but at the top of the switchbacks you will see a sign that points you to the peak (although the sign goes missing from time to time). The peak isn't too far from the junction. The summit ridge is pretty wide and offers plenty of spots to camp. On a clear day the summit offers a great 360-view of the valley and the best spot to watch both sunset and sunrise.
To return to the car, trace your footsteps back to the parking lot.
Note that winter ascents can be icy, so you'll want to bring mountaineering gear in the winter months.
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