Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Timber Mountain via Ice House Canyon

If you would like to add some difficulty to your Ice House Canyon trek, Timber Mountain is the trail for you.  Though you will be adding just 0.9 miles to your journey, it will bring much more satisfaction to your day of hiking.

From 210 freeway exit Baseline Road
Travel West 0.1 miles to Padua Ave Turn Right
Travel North 1.8 miles to Mt. Baldy Road Turn Right
Continue on Mt. Baldy Road for 8 miles passing through Mt. Baldy Village
Where the Road forks continue straight onto Ice House Canyon Road

From 10 Freeway exit Monte Vista Ave
Travel North on Monte Vista, it will turn into Padua Ave above the 210 freeway
Travel North 1.8 miles to Mt. Baldy Road Turn Right
Continue on Mt. Baldy Road for 8 miles passing through Mt. Baldy Village
Where the Road forks continue straight onto Ice House Canyon Road

View Larger Map

     Timber Mountain is located just 0.9 miles from Ice House Saddle.  Take the popular Ice House Canyon trail to the saddle and continue from there.  This write-up will only cover the Timber Mountain portion of the journey.  If you want a full description of Ice House Canyon, please check out the previous Ice House Canyon to Icehouse Saddle article.

Trailhead from the parking lot

     Ice House Canyon contains a well-maintained, well-marked, highly traficked trail.  The signs will guide you along the way and you will have plenty of sights on your way to the saddle.  Here are some of the landmarks you will encounter during your trek.
Keep straight on the Ice House Canyon trail, leave the Chapman trail for another day.

Keep an eye out for mile markers

Enter the Cucamonga Wilderness.  Make sure you have your free Wilderness Permit from the Ranger Station

Take a break on the saddle and check out the surrounding peaks

Take the Three Tee's Trail.  The trailhead is on the north side of the saddle.
      Once you reach the saddle, you will face many choices.  To the South you can hike to Ontario Peak while passing Kelly Camp and Bighorn Peak.  To the East you can take the Middle Fork Trail to Lytle Creek or head up to the summit of Cucamonga Peak.  And, to the North you can hit the Three T's of Timber, Telegraph, and Thunder.  Most of these hikes are very involved and may best be considered as backpacking trips with overnight stays.  Today, we will just conquer Timber Mountain.
     The ascent to Timber Mountain will cover 700 feet of elevation gain in 0.9 miles.  It is a solid hike for you and your dog and when you reach the summit you with feel accomplished.
If you see any rocks blocking your path, take a look around and make sure the trail does not travel in another direction.
     The hike to Timber Mountain can take place from late spring into fall.  This year we had very little precipitation so I was able to make it up at the beginning of March.  It is best for you and your dog to wait until later in spring and into summer to attempt to reach any peaks.  Snow can make it hard to follow trails, and it can slow you down and causes you and your dog to work harder.  In my experience though, Timber Mountain is usually the first peak to be accessible because most of the trail gets direct sunlight, keeping snow off the switchbacks.

     The trail to the summit is short and straightforward.  It is easy to follow and is just challenging enough to get your blood pumping.  You get some cool views on the way to the summit so take some breaks for pictures.  If you want to hike any peaks but you don't know where to begin, I would recommend this as a good practice/training hike.  The other peaks are more difficult, but this will give you an idea what you and your dog are capable of.


     When you travel almost 3/4 of a mile from the saddle along the Three Tee's Trail, you will see a sign guiding you to Timber Mountain.  Take a right and head up the final 1/4 mile to the summit.  This is quite a little trek, and it can be quite difficult if there is still snow on the trail.  There is no clear trail, but it is obvious where you need to go.  Just continue your ascent straight up the mountain.
Be sure to sign the register in the tree to the right of the Timber Mountain Sign
     You Made it!  That was quite a little hike there at the end, but you're there now.  Be sure to take some pictures in front of the Timber Mountain sign.  If it is a weekday, you most likely won't see anyone up here, but you may encounter some people on weekends. There are some rocks to sit and rest.  I recommend taking some time to rest, eat, give your dog a snack, and drink before you travel back down the trail.  Also, don't forget to sign and date the register that is in the capsule in the tree on the right.
Wander around the summit to get some spectacular views

Large amounts of pristine snow on the summit
     There is a lot of land to explore on the summit, so take some time to explore.  Take some pictures and enjoy the views.  You get some amazing views of the surrounding peaks and canyons.  You can even catch a glimpse of the highway.  You may even be the first person to step foot in the snow up here.
We made the first footprints in the snow
     So is this a good dog hike?  Well, yes.  Ice House Canyon is a great dog hike and the extra 0.9 miles to Timber Mountain are quite rewarding.  If you get to the saddle and you think your pup still has some gas left in the tank, then go for it.  Just know that if your dog hasn't hiked a lot or if they have a lot of weight to carry, the climb may be a little too much for them.  Dogs need conditioning too, so if you intend to hike any of the surrounding peaks it may be a good idea to have a couple trips to the saddle and back before you continue on.  Dogs are known the continue on just to please their owner, so be sure to stop and see how they are doing now and then.  There also are stories of dogs that give up and refuse to continue on and the last thing you want to have to do is carry a dog for 4 miles back to your car.
     Also, take snow into consideration (you will most likely encounter snow here from November - April).  Your dog may enjoy the snow, but make sure your dog's paws are doing okay.  Take breaks and check their pads and clean out any snow or ice that can cause irritation.  Some dog's pads are more sensitive than others so keep an eye on them.  You can avoid some problems by keeping your pup's nails trimmed and by keeping the hair in-between their pads groomed and trimmed.  If your dog's paws are sensitive, it may be a good idea to invest in some dog boots.
     Ice House Canyon is a busy trail, so I have to prepare you by saying that you may encounter other dogs and many people along the way.  This is always something to be aware of if you pup doesn't interact well with strange dogs.

The "trail" to the summit

Elevation Gain: 3300 feet
Distance: 9.0 miles round-trip
Difficulty: Moderate +
Time: Around 6-7 hours total
Required Permits: Cucamonga Wilderness Permit, Forest Adventure Pass
Where to Obtain Permits: Mt. Baldy Visitor Center (In Mt. Baldy Village 909-982-2829) If you want to hike before 8 a.m. call the day before for a Wilderness Permit. Buy a Forest Adventure Pass
Dog Approved: Yes!

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