Ontario Peak

8694' Ontario Peak is easily among the most spectacular of the San Gabriels' front-range peaks. The summit offers a crazy juxtaposition of city and mountain views, making this one of SoCal's must-do hikes.

Primary access is via Mount Baldy Road and Icehouse Canyon, with a starting elevation right around 4975'. Be aware this is a very popular hiking spot—weekend crowds can be formidable.

From the Icehouse Canyon parking lot you have a number of outstanding options, including hikes to Bighorn Peak, Cucamonga Peak, and the three T's: Thunder, Telegraph, and Timber. And Icehouse Canyon itself is a worthy destination, with mature Cedars and a flowing creek.

Ontario Peak is just short of seven miles from the trailhead, which means the crowds will thin considerably once you pass Icehouse Saddle. The peak has a prominent false summit to the northeast, making it a bit of a grind to get all the way to the true summit.

If you do get there, the views are stunning. You can see virtually all the major San Gabriel summits from the top of Ontario Peak, plus a sweeping view of the vast Los Angeles metropolis.

As for red tape: are Forest Adventure Passes still required for parking? It appears that the Adventure Pass signs at the lot have been taken down. Note also that much of Icehouse Canyon sits within the Cucamonga Wilderness, which technically requires entry permits even for day use. There is currently a self-issue box near the trailhead.

I skied Ontario Peak all the way back in 2006, enjoying fresh powder on April 1st! It's hard to believe that was fifteen years ago. Where does the time go?

— May 25, 2021

Andy Lewicky is the author and creator of SierraDescents

Joe G. May 26, 2021 at 6:49 am

Andy you are crushing it! I love that you got up to Ontario. Personally, Ontario Peak is a special place for me.

I went to college in a foothill community about 13 years back. Ontario Peak loomed above our college campus. I led a sedentary, insular life back then but it was impossible for me to ignore Ontario as it lit up in alpenglow every evening. Staring at Ontario's pine crested bulwark all semester finally got me to attempt the summit my first spring.

Changed my life and I never looked back. That journey took me to Baldy, to Half Dome, and then later to the JMT, HST, and (most) of the California 14ers.

Matt D May 27, 2021 at 8:01 am

Now I'm realizing that it has been 8 years since I climbed Ontario Peak... where does the time go indeed.

Speaking of April snow, I bet that north facing side of the ridgeline would have been awesome in April 2020 after that weird storm. I skied Snowslide Canyon, which mostly faces west and southwest, down to about 6500' on April 15 last year. Of course Ontario and Cucamonga have much more severe south faces... still, I'm glad I'm not the only one who stares up longingly from the 210 :)

Brad Brown May 27, 2021 at 12:26 pm

The prodigal son has returned and in fine form! Love/missed the SD 360 vids, did a few in honor of yours, sadly the narrator on mine kinda sucks. Climbing bud Bob and I did OP and Buckhorn a couple of years back, plus 7-11-20 (birthday) we did Cuc and Etiwanda. Etiwanda may eclipse Cuc and OP for its extraordinary airplane views of The Inland Empire and interior SG range but the summit is basically a rock pile above the trail similar to many peaks along the 10,000’ ridge (ie Anderson) which are almost climbing after thoughts. To would be climbers, this time of year through fall the whole range is likely offers dry hiking and can be hot. I use a lot of water so I usually carry spare packaged bottles (cached for descending on out and back loops) which we used last year to aid a distressed hiker on the challenging final grade to Cuc, so caveat emptor. In the video Timber (1st “T”) Mountain (aka Chapman Pk I think) shows up while you’re panning easterly of Telegraph Pk. So yeah, both jealous of your trip and relieved SD and AL are alive and hiking, albeit “ill tempered” per your trademark.

Dan Conger June 1, 2021 at 1:49 pm

So many people have no idea that mountains like this are less than an hour from downtown LA. During the winter, LA can absolutely be a ski in the morning, surf in the afternoon kinda place.