Adventure Pass required to park at trailhead. Lot fills early on weekends. Do no leave valuables in car. Please do not cut switchbacks which damages the trail.
If the parking lot at the trailhead is full, park along Mt. Baldy Road (be respectful of private property/driveways along here). There are vault toilets and trash cans in the parking lot for last-minute needs. Sign-in to the trail registry if required.
The Icehouse Canyon Trail
is wide and flat for the first 0.5 miles or so as it rises gently along the stream. The surface is generally even with sections of stone steps. You pass several little cabins along the stream (again, respect the private property here). In this section, you'll notice small but very pretty waterfalls intermittently in the stream but different sections flow at different times of the year so waterfalls are not consistent.
At 0.9 miles there is a junction with the Chapman Trail #7W07
(left fork). About 1.5 miles up from the trailhead, you encounter the Cucamonga Wilderness boundary and associated signage. This also marks the transition into a rockier section of the trail as it follows a scree/dry riverbed section of the canyon floor. There are remarkable geological features along this portion. Try to watch the trail, especially on the way up, as it's easy to lose it on parts of the riverbed if you're watching the amazing scenery.
Just over two miles in, the trail begins to rise in earnest toward Icehouse Saddle from the canyon floor. The best way to describe this section is a classic lovely mountain trail. It's dusty and narrow with amazing specimen of pine and fir trees and occasionally steep switchbacks.
After 2.8 miles there is another junction with the Chapman Trail #7W07
. Bear right and continue east toward the summit of this trail, Icehouse Saddle. The last section is also rising switchbacks and the ecology changes to manzanita stands and open pockets of forest floor. This will take you up to the saddle, which then splits into a network of other trails out into the Cucamonga Wilderness. This is a great place to stop and enjoy the cool breezes and lovely scenery.
If you're a birder, bring binoculars! I have seen California quail and Stellar's jays and I'm not a very good birder, so that's just a sample.
Oaks, incense cedars, maple trees provide shade on the lower section of trail while Jeffrey pines, sugar pines, white fir are more common on the upper part. Alder trees are common along the riparian areas. Beautiful columbines and scarlet monkeyflowers are found around the springs. A good place to see Nelson bighorn sheep when there aren't a lot of people.