Yesterday, Sourabh and I drove to the northeast of Orange County to meet friends for a hike in the San Gabriel Mountains. It was our first legit hike here in CA!
It's great that Sourabh worked in LA and Orange County this past summer because he made friends with some of the other summer associates in his class (and I got to know them when I visited twice). Bjorn and Leah are also into hiking, so we decided to meet up for a Saturday morning hike somewhere close to both LA and OC.
We met in the parking lot of the Von's on the corner of Base Line Road and North Mills Ave. It's right off the Mt Baldy Road, so it was a great place to meet up so we could grab some water and snacks and take one car up the windy road to the trailhead. We saw several other groups doing the same thing so it's definitely a good meet-up point.
The hike itself has two options: an out-and-back that's roughly 7.5 miles or a loop with a short out-and-back to the Ice House Saddleback that's roughly 9 miles total. We did the out-and-back since it was actually fairly cold at the saddle and we wanted to head back to the warmer, lower part of the canyon ASAP.
There was no real flat section other than about half a mile near the beginning. Then it's up, up, up. However, it's a nice open trail, so you are looking around the canyon the whole time, which is a nice distraction.
Ice House Canyon Trail Stats
Length: 7.5-9 miles
Elevation Gain: ~2700 ft. (starting around 5,000 ft elevation so it gets cold at the top)
Dog Friendly? Yes!
Water? Nope, make sure you pack plenty.
Bathrooms? Only at the trailhead. Trees are somewhat sparse at that elevation in CA, and the sides of the trail are fairly steep, so it would be tough to get off trail behind a bush.
Parking? Yes, but it's a popular hike so at 8:30 AM it was fairly crowded and we had to park on the street.
(Edited to Add) Permits: Forest Adventure Pass required for hiking from Icehouse Canyon or Middle Fork. Adventure Passes are $5/day or $30/year. Interagency Passes also accepted. (This site explains it all quite well.)
After the hike, we went to Eureka! Discover American Craft (yes, that's a mouthful of a name) in Claremont for burgers and beers (or hard cider in my case). The service was pretty meh but the food was fine and it was very dog friendly which was key since Mason was along. Mason got quite a few bites off the table since he had worked so hard -- he made it all the way up the mountain with no problems!
I'm so excited to be within an hour drive of mountain hiking. I hope we can do at least one or two hikes like this a month, depending on my work schedule. Speaking of which -- tomorrow is my first day at my new firm! AHH!