In Travel and Adventures

Mt. Baldy Summit Hike

Mt. Baldy Hike: Mt. San Antonio Summit (10)

Mt. Baldy Hike: Mt. San Antonio Summit (10)For the last six years or so, I've lived in the foothills below the San Gabriel Mountains, almost directly below Mt San Antonio, more commonly known as Mt. Baldy. I've spent a lot of time around Mt. Baldy in the last six year. We head up there almost every winter to see a rare sight in southern CA (snow), ride up the ski lift during the other seasons to grab a drink at the Top of the Notch restaurant, and hike around the Icehouse Canyon often. I can't believe that it has taken me six years to finally hike up to the summit.

Starting the hike

Mt. Baldy Hike: Mt. San Antonio Summit
the view from the Mt. Baldy ski lift

Hikers have several different options when starting out the hike. For those wanting to complete the entire 11.3 mile loop, you can start the hike at the base of the Manker Flats trailhead or from the Baldy Bowl (or pick one of these other trail options). For those of you that are satisfied with a shorter, yet still intense hike, you can take the ski lift up to the Top of the Notch Restaurant (elevation – 7300 ft.). Taking the ski lift takes off about 4 miles and about 1500 ft of elevation from the hike. While this may be considered a cheat to some people, that bit of the hike that is cut out is just walking along the fire road, and the resulting hike to the summit and back is still about 6.5 strenuous miles. Be prepared for steep inclines!
Mt. Baldy Hike: Mt. San Antonio Summit (14)Mt. Baldy Hike: Mt. San Antonio Summit (15)

Devil's Backbone

Mt. Baldy Hike: Mt. San Antonio Summit, Devils Backbone
the very beginning, and widest part, of Mt. Baldy's Devils Backbone

The most difficult part of the hike, in my opinion, is the Devil's Backbone. The backbone is a very narrow strip that has high, sheer drops off on both sides. The path itself is fairly straight and flat, but trail is only one to two people wide in most parts. Since I have a somewhat strong fear of heights (I typically go weak in the knees), I had a difficult time with this section of the hike. But for hikers that can't afraid of heights, this section of the trail is actually one of the easiest.

Mt. Baldy Summit

Mt. Baldy Hike: Mt. San Antonio Summit
approaching the Mt. Baldy summit

The section between the Devil's Backbone and the summit is easily the most difficult part of the hike. The trail is steep, covered with gravel and rocks, and fairly narrow. But believe me – it is all worth it.

Mt. Baldy Hike: Mt. San Antonio Summit (9)

Mt. Baldy Hike: Mt. San Antonio Summit (1)

Mt. Baldy Hike: Mt. San Antonio Summit (2)

Hiking Down from the Summit

While hiking down from the summit, we stopped to admire the remaining snow and the gorgeous views.
Mt. Baldy Hike: Mt. San Antonio Summit (5) Mt. Baldy Hike: Mt. San Antonio Summit (6)Mt. Baldy Hike: Mt. San Antonio Summit (7)Mt. Baldy Hike: Mt. San Antonio Summit (8)Mt. Baldy Hike: Mt. San Antonio Summit (12)

Mt. Baldy Hike: Drinks At Top of the Notch restaurant
his and hers celebratory drinks after finishing the hike. Hers – IPA, His – hot chocolate
Mt. Baldy Hike: Mt. San Antonio Summit; Ski Lift
post-hike ski lift down the mountain

After we finished the hike down, we decided to stop for a late lunch and a drink at the Top of the Notch restaurant that sits next to the ski lift.

Other Information

Length of hike: 11.3 mile loop, or 6.5 mile in and out from the ski lift. Count on the hike taking 4 to 6 hours if you start at the ski lift, depending on your hiking ability. We're moderate hikers and it took us about 2.5 hours to get to the summit and a little less than that to get down.
Summit elevation: 10,064 ft.
Other: Roundtrip ski lift ticket is $20 USD for adults

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Nicole

Nicole is a treasure hunter and pup mama located in Seattle, Washington. Loves travel, politics, lifestyle, TV, & wine. She's an unapologetic SJW & feminist AF.

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  • It looks like a fairly intense hike but what wonderful views!!

  • What a hike! Those views are pretty wonderful!

  • Mar

    Looks like a great hike, with fantastic views. Love the IPA after the hike. That is my celebratory drink of choice as well.

  • That looks amazing! You look so bundled up while Matt is rocking the shorts, it made me laugh :)

  • This looks like such a great hike. I was surprised to realize it’s not that far from where I live– in Pasadena!

  • Amazing pics!

  • I need to do that, it’s so close to me, looks like a great hike!

  • Runwright

    Looks like a reasonably challenging fun hike. Good for you finally doing it! I am confused about the temperature. Is it hot or cold? I see shorts but I also see snow and gloves. Whatever, looks fun.

  • This looks like a hard hike, but it also looks worth it! I’ve been doing a lot of hikes lately. I’ll need to keep this in mind for when I start hiking out of state!

    Mo | Ollivander Mo

  • La Tache

    I hiked Baldy before I moved from LA and it was hard! ha! But the views definitely made up for it!

  • We still need to do this! :) Think it’s too hot for this next month?

  • Beth Hartnett

    Reading up on the hike to the summit and my search brought me to your blog! Made me smile. Thanks for the great info on the hike. Glad to see someone with a fear of heights, like me, was able to make it to the top! <3