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Hiking Southern California
by Ron Adkison (Falcon Guides)
This rewarding trip takes hikers from the upper reaches of San Antonio Canyon through the heart of the Cucamonga Wilderness to the landmark pyramid of Cucamonga Peak, where panoramic vistas unfold. The San Gabriel Mountains are part of California’s Transverse Ranges province. These ranges extend east-west across the framework of California’s predominantly northwest-southeast–trending mountains and valleys. The Transverse Ranges province is approximately 300 miles long, stretching from the Eagle and Pinto Mountains of Joshua Tree National Park in the east to Point Arguello near Santa Barbara in the west.Typically, the highest terrain lies near the eastern terminus of each of the mountain ranges constituting this province. Cucamonga Peak stands high on the eastern end of the San Gabriel Mountains, soaring out of the deep gash of the San Andreas Rift Zone.This flat-topped “volcano-shaped” mountain is a familiar landmark to many southern Californians and is one of the most remote mountains in the range.The shortest route to its lofty summit involves a minimum 6 miles of hiking and thousands of feet of elevation gain. But hikers who complete this strenuous trip are rewarded with sweeping vistas of a large portion of southern California. The subalpine forest of weather-beaten lodgepole pine on this flat, sandy summit offers a cool respite from oppressive summertime heat in the valleys below. Hikers relaxing on the summit often see a variety of soaring raptors riding the strong thermals that often sweep the slopes of the peak. Usually taken as a day hike, this trip can be extended by an overnight stay in Cedar Glen or Kelly Camp, both of which have water.
Afoot and Afield: Inland Empire
by David & Jennifer Money Harris (Wilderness Press)
Ontario and Cucamonga Peaks form an imposing wall overlooking the western end of the Inland Empire. They rise more than a vertical mile from the endless subdivisions at the 2000-foot base to the summits at almost 9000 feet. Cucamonga Peak is another of the classic climbs of Southern California. It is named for the Cucamonga Rancho, established in the valley below in 1839 by Tiburcio Tapia. The ranch, in turn, got its name from the Tongva/Shoshonean word kukill-mongo, whose meaning is uncertain. The easiest way to the summit is to hike to Icehouse Saddle, then follow a good trail to the summit.
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