Hiking Ice House Canyon to Ontario Peak

By Heather

Last week, I discovered the Sierra Club’s Hundred Peaks Section. As checker off of things enthusiast, this excited me to no end! Now I’ll have a little more direction in the hikes I choose to take, and I’ll plan many of them around scaling new peaks. Eventually, I hope, I’ll bag every single one!

To kick it off, I hiked to Ontario Peak a couple weeks ago.

I don’t know what it is about the San Gabriel Mountains. I’ll take a hike there and think it’s the prettiest one ever. But then the next hike tops that. And the next hike tops that. I thought Cucamonga was the end all, be all of San Gabriel hikes. Scratch that. Now it’s the one that takes you to Ontario Peak!

It starts off the same as the Cucamonga hike: Head to the Ice House Canyon trail head and make your way up to the saddle. At the saddle, make a right and head on up.

The trail winds through Manzanita bushes and there are views for miles. At one point, I could see Mt. Wilson way off in the distance.

ontario peak hike

I wanted this to be my first two-peak hike. When I got to the part of the trail where it splits off and going right takes you to Ontario, going left takes you to Bighorn, I was greeted with this sign:

bighorn peak ontario peak signI read the mileage to Bighorn Peak as 1 3/4 miles from that point and decided that I didn’t have the time. I’m not crazy, right? That totally looks like a 1! But we had a potluck at work the next day and I had to get home to buy stuff for that and make it, because as organized and proactive I can be, I can also be an epic procrastinator.

Turns out I totally had time to do both peaks. Not only is it just 3/4 of a mile from that point, I got back to the saddle so early that I would up taking the longer Chapman Trail back to the trail head to kill time. Argh!

Oh, well. Next time I’ll be older and wiser.

There are a few false summits heading over to Ontario. If you have to ask, you’re not there yet.

When you get there, you’ll likely find a summit register hiding in a little red can at the base of some rocks and a dead tree.

It was exciting to finally find and sign my first summit register. I took the opportunity to do some self promotion, too!


If you brought any celebratory beverages with you, feel free to pop them open on the handy little bottle opener that has been installed on said aforementioned tree.

I’m going to do this hike again in a few weeks, and will definitely add Bighorn Peak to the roster.

The final stats on the hike were 35,835 steps taken, 15.61 miles walked in 6:17 hours. I wish my Fitbit would save elevation gain in the activity log, but if memory serves, it was about 5,000 feet.

I can’t wait to get back here.

catalina from ontario peak