The Chapman Trail is a side trail with its beginning and endpoints lying along the Icehouse Canyon Trail. Though slightly less scenic than Icehouse Canyon, Chapman may be a desirable trail for those looking to create a loop or use a different trail on the return trip to Icehouse Saddle, or for those who may want to set up camp at the Cedar Glen Backcountry Camp that sits along the Chapman Trail. The Chapman Trail also traverses the south slope of Thunder Mountain, so it may be less icy at certain times of the year than the Icehouse Canyon Trail.
Though paralleling the Icehouse Canyon Trail, those who incorporate the Chapman Trail into their hike to the saddle will be adding an additional 2 miles to the length of their hike.
The Chapman Trail begins at a signed fork about 0.9 miles into the Icehouse Canyon hike from the Icehouse Trailhead. From here it immediately begins a series of switchbacks taking it from dry oak-lined slopes and yucca-covered sunny stretches to more manzanita-covered alpine trails along rockslide buried slopes.
At 1.5 miles into the Chapman Trail, the path enters a shady flat bend. Marked only by a couple of unassuming brown metal posts and a sign forbidding all fire activity, this is Cedar Glen backcountry camp, an unimproved area open to camping with a free permit obtained from the Mount Baldy Visitor Center.
From Cedar Glen, the trail leaves the switchbacks and begins to trace the contours of the southern face of Thunder Mountain as it passes a sign announcing the Cucamonga Wilderness boundary. Most notably, the trail crosses the path of many landslides and flash floods, wide stretches of rocks, stones, and occasionally very large boulders, shifted by the movement and conditions of the mountains. Standing still, it is possible to hear rock trickles and movement upon walking to these areas, and the path leaves its general course to meander around slides and flood channels on a few occasions. It is a great trail to witness the sheer power and force of mountainous conditions being able to move masses of stone far larger than anything people would be capable of moving without some type of mechanical assistance.
From these exposed slopes, views begin to open up of the northern slopes of Bighorn and Ontario peaks across on the opposite side of the canyon.
Eventually, the high end of the Chapman Trail meets back up with the Icehouse Canyon Trail about 0.6 miles beneath Icehouse Saddle.
Because the beginning of the Chapman Trail is along the Icehouse Canyon Trail, parking is at the Icehouse Trailhead. An Adventure Pass is required to be displayed when parking here. A free wilderness permit is required to be filled out by everyone hiking the Chapman Trail. Both are available at the Mount Baldy Visitor Center (909.982.2829), though the visitor center seems to keep extremely unreliable and sporadic hours. Mount Baldy Trout Pools, located about a quarter-mile up the hill from the visitor center, also sells Adventure Passes.
The Icehouse Trailhead has trash and a picnic bench. An informational sign just inside the trailhead has a map of area trails, as well as wilderness permits.
Aside from a bar, there are next to no services in Mount Baldy Village. Make sure you pick up all of your supplies before leaving the metro area and heading up the hill.