Icehouse Saddle via Middle Fork Trail

2 reviews #24 hike out of 475 in
4.9 mi
1 hrs 49 min
3,642 ft
Elev Gain


This is a difficult one way trail to Icehouse Saddle in San Bernardino National Forest.

This trail goes by Stonehouse, Third Stream Crossing, and Commanche.

Once you've gotten tired of the standard cattle call herding up to Ice House, this offers an alternative to the saddle from the other side as well as some other great side trips including camping spots along Lytle Creek and a gorgeous waterfall.

See the notes about getting to the trailhead: 2WD, but not for the faint of heart.

Once you get to the trailhead, the trail immediately splits. The left fork drops precipitously down into the creek basin and presumably joins another trail leading up to Stone Campground which I've never seen. The map shows a trail breaking off of the main trail at about 1/2 mile which also access Stone Campground and rejoins the main trail at about 1+ miles, but it's faint and I've so far resisted the temptation. I only mention it because the route shown for this trail goes through this bypass which I've never met anyone who took it. So, stay right unless you want to explore.

The right fork follows the single track up a moderate incline for 1.4 miles before getting to the wilderness boundary sign. The trail is exposed in most parts with some limited shade as you move further up the canyon. Looking backward, you are rewarded with views of San Gorgonio and the desert peaks beyond. The trail continues for another mile before passing the 3rd Stream Crossing location which is unmarked. A large creek enters the main channel on your left, and that is the creek with a waterfall. Be careful climbing up the creek to the base of the waterfall to enjoy the view of the double drop before returning down to the main trail. You can return to the trailhead for a pretty moderate day of only 5 miles and an elevation gain/loss of 1,300 ft, or turn left to head up to Ice House.

If you go up, the trail then continues to climb steeply up the hill making the saddle at 5 miles with a total knee-burning elevation gain of 3,600 ft. The route down is the reverse, and you'll end up with a 10+ mile day with a great elevation gain if you are training for the Sierras!

Getting Started

Take I15 north like you are heading toward El Cajon Pass and exit at the Sierra Ave exit in Fontana. Head west to the small down of Scotland and turn left onto Middle Fork Lytle Creek Road. Drive 3 more miles carefully down the graveled road. it's had some recent work to make it better, but the route has a couple rough spots for 2WD cars.

Taking Children

This can be great hike for kids if your focus is getting to the creek. The area is however very warm, so bring plenty of sun block and water. The trail to the Ice House Saddle would not be appropriate for most children with it's steep climb and long distance.

    Rate this Hike

    user_profile stars
    10 months, 1 week ago
    I wrote the description, so read that. I nice strenuous hike with some hidden gems built in.
    ★ ★ ★ ★

    10 months, 1 week ago

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