Our destination today was to hike Icehouse Canyon through the Cucamonga Wilderness to Icehouse Saddle and then summit Timber Mountain via the Three Tee’s Trail. Icehouse Canyon has quite a bit of history. In the 1800s, there was an icehouse here that serviced Los Angeles. The ice was brought down from the mountains by mules and sold door to door. There was also a resort here that was built in 1880. You can find more info. on all of this by searching it on Google. It’s very interesting and really makes you appreciate the area in which you are hiking.
Icehouse Canyon is a popular destination among Angelenos, so in order to beat the crowds, I was out of bed by 3:30 am, on the road and at the Old Baldy Ranger Station to collect our wilderness permits just after 5:30 am. We arrived at the trailhead in the dark, but soon dawn broke and the sun rose to turn pitch black skies to moody blue. As we began our ascent on the rocky terrain of the trail, we could hear the running creek off to our right. It followed us through the canyon until we we reached the beautiful Cucamonga Wilderness where the trail opened up to towering trees.
Much of this trail is walking on rock and uneven terrain, so you have to pay attention here. Then once you hit the switchbacks, get ready to party even harder! It’s a slow burn all the way to the saddle but I guarantee the scenery will make you forget about your fatigued leg muscles.
The saddle is a junction for a number of different hikes. Knowing the weather was going to heat up, we had already planned to summit Timber Mountain and be back down before it got too hot.
We took a short snack break at the saddle and then headed straight up the Three Tee’s Trail to summit Timber Mountain. It was a short one mile climb, but that was no easy trek. Once at the peak were were rewarded with the most beautiful mountain top covered in a forest of trees and huge, fallen pinecones. I now understand why it’s called Timber. We had a little lunch (sandwiches taste so good at over 8,000’), and took in the scenery until it was time to head back.
With the cardio work out of the way, I could now enjoy myself by taking photos of… EVERYTHING. Every which way I turned, it was a picture perfect landscape. Coming back was definitely another challenge. All those rocks we climbed up on had to be negotiated carefully on the way back down. I could feel my quads working hard. It was definitely something you had to pay attention to. When we arrived back in the canyon, the sunlight peaked through the shady canopy of trees to create magical hues of green and gold. Coupled with the sound of rushing water, I had to keep stopping and standing there saying, “Wow. Oh Wow! This is so pretty!”
We passed quite a few people on the way back down, but not nearly as many as I had originally anticipated. I guess not everyone likes getting up at 3:00 in the morning to beat the heat. Personally, I would not have it any other way.