If you’re a hiking enthusiast staying or traveling in Ontario, California, you should explore some of the awesome trails in the area. Located close to the spectacular San Gabriel Mountains, Angeles National Forest, San Bernardino National Forest, and Chino Hills State Park, the city offers a wide array of hiking experiences. Whether you want to challenge yourself with a strenuous summit hike or just enjoy a relaxing stroll with your family, you can easily find a nearby trail that perfectly suits your preferences. Check out the five best hiking spots near Ontario.
Icehouse Canyon Trail
Located in Angeles National Forest, Icehouse Canyon Trail is a 9.8-mile unpaved trail that sees heavy traffic, especially from March to November. Rated difficult, this loop trail has an elevation gain of about 2,600 feet and usually takes a full day to complete.
Icehouse Canyon Trail runs along a scenic creek and ascends to the pristine high country where you can enjoy breathtaking canyon views. Besides hiking, it also offers great wildlife viewing, bird-watching, and camping opportunities. For most hikers, the destination is Icehouse Saddle, which offers fantastic views of Mount Baldy. Advanced hikers may try to reach the summit of the 8,303-foot Mount Timber. The trail also connects to a number of other trails, including one that goes to Mount Baldy.
The trailhead of Icehouse Canyon Trail is located near Mount Baldy Village, where you’ll find a ranger’s station that offers parking permits. Generally, all parked vehicles in Angeles National Forest are required to show a day pass ($5) or an Adventure Pass ($30 for one year). This national park is open 24 hours every day.
Etiwanda Falls Trail
Etiwanda Falls Trail is another popular hiking trail near Ontario. With an elevation gain of about 800 feet, this 3.4-mile trail is rated moderately difficult and takes about one to two hours out and back. It’s partially paved and clearly marked, making it suitable for the whole family.
Situated in the Etiwanda foothills near Rancho Cucamonga, Etiwanda Falls Trail offers wonderful views of mountains and the Inland Empire. During your hike, you’ll see many informational markers explaining the importance of the area in protecting sensitive native species and valuable ecosystem functions. The main attraction on this trail is the beautiful Etiwanda Falls, which is located north of the boundaries of North Etiwanda Preserve.
The starting point of Etiwanda Falls Trail is situated off Etiwanda Avenue. You can park your vehicle in the gravel lot at the trailhead or the residential area just south of the trailhead. Vehicles parked along the street are often ticketed or towed. This trail is open from 6:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. from November to February and 6:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. from March to October. The entrance fee is $5.
Potato Mountain Wilderness Trail
If you don’t feel like driving into the mountains but want to get a good workout, Potato Mountain Wilderness Trail is a great option. This 4.5-mile out-and-back trail is unpaved and has a total ascent of 1,270 feet, offering a moderately difficult hike. On average, hikers need about two hours to finish this hike.
The Potato Mountain Wilderness Trail starts at the southern border of Angeles National Forest. While you’re hiking up the mountain, you’ll pass an oak-lined canyon and a seasonal stream and get nice views of Sunset Ridge and Cucamonga Peak. On the flat summit of Potato Mountain, there’s a cylindrical concrete platform on which you can leave a decorated potato like other hikers. On a clear day, you can see San Jacinto, San Gorgonio, Palomar Mountains, downtown Los Angeles, and even the Pacific Ocean from there.
Located along Mount Baldy Road, the trailhead of Potato Mountain Wilderness Trail is at a parking lot with a yellow gate. This trail is open 24 hours every day and doesn’t require an entrance fee.
Michael D. Antonovich Trail
Michael D. Antonovich Trail in San Dimas is an easily accessible trail that’s suitable for hikers of all skill levels. This 6.5-mile out-and-back trail has an elevation gain of only 440 feet, making it the ideal option when you want to enjoy hiking without burning your legs on uphill climbs. It normally takes about two hours to finish.
Despite being surrounded by densely populated suburban neighborhoods, Michael D. Antonovich Trail is a secluded trail that allows you to feel a world away. Also, since it’s mostly well-shaded, it’s a great place to go for a hike or stroll in the summer months. The trail starts with a relatively steep downhill stretch before leveling out for the remainder of the hike. You’ll come across several shallow creek crossings, which you can easily get through by carefully stepping on the rocks. Ducks are a common sight on this trail.
Michael D. Antonovich Trail begins at a small dirt pull-out on South San Dimas Avenue that can fit about 15 vehicles. It’s always open and free to use.
Claremont Hills Wilderness Trail
Claremont Hills Wilderness Trail is one of the most heavily trafficked trails in the Inland Empire, especially on weekends. This loop trail is partially paved and covers a total distance of about 5 miles. With a total ascent of 876 feet, it’s a relatively easy trail that can take anywhere from one to three hours to complete, depending on your fitness level.
It isn’t easy to get lost on Claremont Hills Wilderness Trail because it’s well-marked and even has distance markers. The trail offers great views of the Inland Empire, Potato Mountain, Marshall Canyon, San Gabriel Mountains, and even downtown Los Angeles.
Claremont Hills Wilderness Trail starts at a parking lot along North Mills Avenue. If you aren’t a resident of Claremont, you need to pay a $3 parking fee. The trail is open from 5:30 a.m. to 6:30 a.m. and closes at 5 p.m.Â to 8:30 p.m., depending on the time of the year.
As hiking enthusiasts ourselves, the staff members at Lem Garcia Law have explored numerous trails in the Inland Empire. We all agree that these five trails are the best around Ontario. If we missed a favorite trail of yours, contact us and let us know. We’ll surely add it to our list.