Our First Backpacking Trip

A few weeks ago my daughter and I went on our first backpacking trip.  So, I’ve now added a new backpacking section to this blog that will also include trips outside Angeles Forest. Our trip was short–just over 12 miles–with the main focus being to test our gear.  We hiked up Icehouse Canyon to Icehouse Saddle and then took the Chapman Trail down to our camp site at the Cedar Glen Trail Camp–which is only a few miles from the trailhead making it easy to abort our trip if anything major went wrong.  The following day we hiked back up to Icehouse Saddle and took the Icehouse Canyon Trail to the trailhead.

Being such a short hike, our path was only slightly different than day hikes most people do who cover the territory we traveled.  In fact, we returned (with my wife joining us) a few days later and hiked the Icehouse Canyon, Icehouse Saddle, Chapman Trail loop.

For such a short trip, there is a nice diversity of terrain along the trail.  Starting from the trailhead there is a stream that the trail follows past the junction with the Chapman Trail.

One of many “micro-falls” along the stream.

There are also a few spots where springs release groundwater that flows across the trail making its way into the stream–which I filter just to be safe.

Spring along the Icehouse Canyon Trail

After passing the lower junction with the Chapman Trail, there is an wonderful area of boulders weathered with interesting patterns that resemble wood grain.

Area of boulders

Along the way we saw a King Snake and several lizards.

King Snake

I always see chipmunks between the upper junction of the Chapman Trail and Icehouse saddle.  Since Chipmunks are one of my daughters favorite animals that we see when hiking, we paused for a while to enjoy watching some of them.

One of the many Chipmunks we saw on our trip.

After reaching Icehouse Saddle, we headed down the Chapman Trail hiking through Cedar Glen Trail Camp down to the stream a short distance along the trail below the camp.  There we replenished our water supply and Sarah took a bunch of pictures of Blue Jays while I was slowly figuring out how to use the Steripen (which isn’t difficult at all and shouldn’t have taken so long!).

Yours truly “figuring out” that it’s helpful to take the cap off the Steripen for it to work–sheesh! (Photo by Sarah)

One of the Blue Jays Sarah enjoyed taking pictures of.

We then set up camp and had dinner.

We got a great spot up above the trail at Cedar Glen Trail Camp.





I should point out that a campfire permit is required to use a stove and a wilderness permit is required to hike in this area.  Both permits are free and can be obtained at the Mt. Baldy Visitors Center. The following day we hiked back up the Chapman Trail to Icehouse Saddle and took the Icehouse Canyon trail back to the trailhead.

Morning view form the Chapman Trail


10 thoughts on “Our First Backpacking Trip

    • Thanks Rick. It’s always better when my family joins me. We’ve started doing family hikes weekly since January. It’s been great. I also hike a day or two on my own each week.


    • I hope you have a great time. The gear was great (even if the user was a little slow figuring out how to use some of it). I’ve found gear is pretty personal. Things I love, others hate. It’s hard to suggest anything without knowing the kinds of things you like.


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