Middle Fork Lytle Creek
Features: Hike through the Cucamonga Potential Wilderness Area and the Middle Fork Lytle Creek Potential Wild & Scenic River. Flowing from the sub-alpine heights of the Cucamonga Wilderness, the Middle Fork Lytle Creek supports a naturally reproducing rainbow trout population prized by anglers and its canyon is home to regionally significant populations of Nelson’s bighorn sheep and yellow warbler. The creek’s upper watershed was identified by the Forest Service as an Area of High Ecological Significance. The agency also determined that the creek was eligible for National Wild & Scenic River protection due to its outstanding wild trout fishery. The Middle Fork Trail parallels much of the creek, providing scenic access to the Cucamonga Wilderness. John Robinson’s definitive trail guide, Trails of the Angeles,describes the area accessed by this trail as “one of the few islands of subalpine wilderness left in Southern California.” The road-accessible segment of the lower creek is also a popular water play and angling destination for summer visitors.
The Middle Fork Lytle Creek trailhead is just a short 30-minute drive from the Cities of Fontana and Rialto on Interstate 15. Take the Lytle Creek Road exit from I-15 and drive northwest to the hamlet of Lytle Creek. Turn left on to the Middle Fork Road and proceed to the road’s end at the trailhead (caution: cars with good clearance are required for the last mile of this road). The steep trail climbs from 4,000 feet elevation up through the spectacular Middle Fork Canyon past three wilderness campsites (Stonehouse, Third Stream Crossing, and Commanche) and a couple of nice waterfalls 3.5-miles to Icehouse Saddle at 7,580 feet elevation. From there, forays may be made north to Telegraph Peak or south to Cucamonga Peak. If you are quiet and lucky, you may see bighorn sheep negotiating the rock cliffs across the canyon, watch a multi-colored mountain king snake cross the trail ahead of you, or come upon a fresh pile of bear scat. A true wilderness experience, just minutes away from one of the largest metropolitan areas in the U.S.!
Caution: Weather and road conditions can change in an instant. Always check with the managing agency before embarking on a trip. Always hike with a friend and carry a cell phone for emergencies. Bring plenty of drinking water, food, and clothing for changing weather conditions. Let someone know where you are going and when you intend to be back. Remember, California’s wild places are beautiful but they can also be dangerous to the unprepared and unwary. The California Wilderness Coalition assumes no liability if you intend to visit any of the wild places featured in our materials.
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- San Gabriel Mtns Hikes