This 12,800-acre wilderness is characterized by rough terrain, sharp peaks and steep mountainsides. Elevations vary from 5,000 to 9,000 feet. Wood fires permitted only at designated spots. Use of portable stoves is highly recommended in the wilderness. Water is scarce. The heaviest use of the wilderness occurs along canyon bottoms where water is available. Party sizes are limited 15 people. Visitor permits are required. Quotas are in effect for all travel zones.
A wilderness visitor's permit must be obtained for day hikes or overnight camping before you enter the Cucamonga Wilderness on the Middle Fork and Cucamonga Peak Trails. Permits and additional information may be obtained at the Lytle Creek Ranger Station.
Middle Fork Trail - 5.5 miles, difficult. Beginning elevation 4000 ft. This trail takes the eastern approach to the Wilderness, climbing up the Middle Fork of Lytle Creek through the heart of the wilderness to Icehouse Saddle. There is an elevational change of 3600 ft. A difficult trail to climb. You start in semi-arid chaparral, progress upward through belts of big-cone Douglas-fir, yucca, sugar pine, and Jeffrey pine, and end in the cool high country of lodgepole pine and white fir. If you're lucky, you may spot a member of the San Gabriel herd of Nelson bighorn sheep. The trail can be reached by turning west on Middle Fork Road (Forest Road 2N58) 2 miles north of the Lytle Creek Ranger Station and following the dirt road 2 1/2 miles to the trailhead. Be prepared for numerous switchbacks and rapid increases in elevation. Hikers should be experienced and in good physical condition.
Cucamonga Peak Trail - 7.3 miles, difficult. Beginning elevation 5800 ft. This trail traverses the high sub-alpine region of the Cucamonga Wilderness bounded by high peaks, pine forests, precipitous slopes, all in relative isolation. From Cucamonga Peak (8859 ft.) you can take in a view of the eastern end of the San Gabriel Range, the San Bernardino Valley, and the mountains beyond. Icehouse Saddle is located at the head of the great horseshoe ridge that encircles upper San Antonio Canyon; from this point you can zig-zag along the ridge trail that leads to Timber Mt., Telegraph Peak, and Thunder Mt. (3 T's Trail). The Big Tree Trailhead is located at the northwest end of Joe Elliott Camp via a 13 mile drive along the Cucamonga Canyon/San Sevaine fire road. High-clearance and/or four-wheel drive vehicles are recommended for travel along this rough dirt road. Be prepared for numerous steep trail switchbacks and rapid increases in elevation. For experienced hikers in good physical condition.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication
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