[Click here to see photos of the trail from Icehouse Canyon to Cucamonga Peak.]
Need a fall-colors fix that doesn't involve flying east?
Head to Icehouse Canyon in the Angeles National Forest above Mount Baldy Village, one of my favorite hiking spots, where a short stroll up a rocky wash leads you to the refreshing pools of a fast-moving stream. In autumn, big-leaf maples and willows lend a golden glow to the lower canyon, and temperatures remain cool (at about 8:30 a.m. Sunday, it was 55 degrees at the trailhead).
Even on this day in late October, some trees still had their leaves, and the brisk air -- perfect for hiking -- hinted at winter. It's a slog up the canyon to Icehouse Saddle -- just under four miles with 2,600 feet of gain one-way -- but the views in this forested area get better the higher you climb.