National Forest Foundation

Hiking the Angeles National Forest’s Ontario and Bighorn Peaks

Adventures, Hiking and Backpacking

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At 8,696 feet, Ontario Peak is one of several peaks in the spectacular San Gabriel Mountains of Southern California. The peak lies within the Cucamonga Wilderness in the Angeles National Forest. It is named after the nearby city of Ontario in the Inland Empire. On a clear day, Ontario Peak offers sweeping views of the spectacular San Gabriel Mountains, the Inland Empire, Los Angeles and Orange County and the blue Pacific Ocean.

Photo by CeCe Lorthioir

Hiking up Icehouse Canyon is a beautiful hike on its own. It is a well-traveled trail, with a creek that meanders alongside it. Surrounded by sugar pine forest, which shades the trail during the summer months, the trail features massive boulders, canyon walls, and mountain peaks. And if you’re lucky enough, you may see some of the resident big horn sheep.

Photo by CeCe Lorthioir

After climbing 4.5 miles through the Icehouse Canyon, you will arrive at the historic ruins of Kelly Camp.  It is a remnant of foundations of a former trail resort. This was once owned by John Kelly, who built it in 1905 as a mining prospect, and then Henry Delker turned into a trail resort in 1922. This is a great spot to camp if you’re doing an overnight.  Be advised, it can be crowded though, especially on weekends.

Photo by CeCe Lorthioir

Photo by CeCe Lorthioir

Photo by CeCe Lorthioir

The trail continues on to a fire-scarred Ontario ridge, where you will have a dramatic sweeping views of Timber Mountain, Telegraph Peak and Mt. Baldy. 

Photo by CeCe Lorthioir

Photo by CeCe Lorthioir

At the summit, you’ll find a large dead tree, which has become the landmark for Ontario Peak, and a tall heap of boulders. On a clear day, you can see sweeping views of Inland Empire, Los Angeles and the Pacific Ocean.

On the way back, one option is to take the spur trail to the summit of Bighorn Peak at elevation 8,441’. This will add about two miles round trip, for total of 14 miles with 8,700’ elevation gain. 

Photo by CeCe Lorthioir

Photo by CeCe Lorthioir

About the Author

CeCe Lorthioir is the founder and hike leader of Hike Beyond the Hills. Her mission as a hike leader strives to build and support a community of responsible hikers who prioritize safety. CeCe is also an ambassador for Six Pack Of Peaks Challenge. She lives in Southern California with her husband and daughter.

Learn more about Hike Beyond the Hills and follow them here: Hike Beyond the Hills Facebook and Hike Beyond the Hills Instagram.


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