Summary: The scenery in the Cucamonga Wilderness is breathtaking. Without a doubt, it is the most wild in the San Gabriels. The terrain is steep, dry, rugged, and covered in chaparral. Big Horn Sheep still roam, I saw a buck, fresh tracks and droppings along the trail.
At first, you may even begin to question whether this is a trail or not, as you cross a wash, it seems so overgrown that you can't fathom what later on parts may look like. Don't worry, it gets better, and if you have good trail sense, you should be fine. I never got lost, but I would suggest taking time to explore a bit when the trail gets sketchy, so your return will be smoother. Always look back at least.
The views are top-notch. I could see the Sierras in the morning and Catalina on top at noon. If you look carefully, you can spot the Ski Hut on Baldy.
This is a strenuous trip, but can be done fast. I also took the short trip up Etiwanda, well worth the extra effort.
Trailhead: Half the fun is getting there. Take the 15 North exit Sierra Avenue and head Northwest on the road for about a mile and a half. You may almost miss the sign to San Sevaine Flats and Joe Elliot Campground. If you do turn around.
Almost immediately this road climbs to command impressive views. It is very narrow, and anyone with a low clearance vehicle won't be able to go very far.
You can make it to San Sevaine Flats in any car, but you'll add 4.5 miles to your trip one way, so prepare to be pooped. After the flats the road is impassable unless you have 4WD. Park past the campground and follow the road to the trail signs.
The trail is not well maintained - you will lose it in more than a few spots, and you will want to wear long pants to protect your legs from the chaparral. Bring a topo and a GPS if you have one. If you have good trail sense you don't need one, I didn't. Still... (Lat:34.22274 Lon:-117.58539)
Trail Guides for Cucamonga Peak from Joe Elliot Campground:
Trails of the Angeles - 100 Hikes in the San Gabriels
by John W. Robinson (Wilderness Press)
Best Seasons: Fall, Spring, Summer,
User Groups: Hikers, Dogs,
Ranger Contact: San Bernardino National Forest - Cajon Ranger District (909)887-2576
Localhikes Reporter: This hike was submitted by Allen Riedel, who has posted 123 other hikes on this site. To visit this reporters web site, click here.
Trail Reviews Page 1 of 3 Submit your own review
Reviewed by HikingGuy.com on 8/21/2015
Do the Cucamonga Peak hike from Icehouse Canyon - it's much nicer. Full directions on my blog here.
Reviewed by Mike Leonard on 8/27/2012
The only reason this road is not open to traffic is because the ass hole seirra club has too damn much control over the foristry service these days, the may even be running it as far as we know. They closed it because they hate deer hunters, try packing a deer out 11 - 20 miles and youll see what I mean. The foristry department should be defunded and closed, the land belongs to everyone in the USA not the foristry departmant, screw the seirra club and PETA.
Reviewed by steve raborn on 4/22/2012
The forest service road 1N34 is closed year round now. Lytle Creek ranger station could not say if it will ever be open again. You can walk in from Lytle Creek, but it is far. There is still Etiwanda Ridge or Cucamonga Cyn for access to the 1N34 road, but if you park at the top of Haven Ave you can easily walk in. There are some wash outs, but passable on foot. Once you get to the campground at Joe Elliott the trail picks up and then becomes a little sketchy to completely overgrown in places. You have to stop to look around to get your bearings and then blaze your own way through. Once on the ridge it is easier to find your way because the overgrowth turns into low sparce brush and rocks. Wear long pants, long sleeves, take lots of water.
Reviewed by Bill S. on 11/13/2011
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Reviewed by Jerry Schad RIP on 9/25/2011
First read about Cucamonga peak via icehouse canyon from Jerry Schad's book. Did this trip on Sat sept 24. Weather was a perfect 74F. Cloudy cool weather. Few people past the IH saddle. Beautiful day 12 miles round trip. Thank you Jerry Schad where ever you may be.
Reviewed by af on 8/4/2011
Another bushwhacking route up Cucamonga Peak is from the south via Snowdrop Rd. Follow the road up the canyon until it peters out. Keep going up the canyon until you reach the forest service road. Follow it east until you get a break in the terrain, then head north crosscountry. Bring a pair of pruning shears, as there are a few short sections of extremely dense brush you'll have to cut your way through.
Reviewed by Todd M on 6/11/2011
Perfect hiking conditions, sunny, nice breeze, great views, expect the LA basin fog bank did not clear at all by the time we left the summit at 1 pm. Went Icehouse Canyon route to Cucamonga, then also Etiwanda. Only very little snow left. Trails in good condition.
Reviewed by Mike on 10/30/2008
At present road is open from Lytle Creek to Joe Elliot. Not much left of old campground and trail is difficult to find. Beyond camp, road is closed. Trail is very brushy.
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