Mt. San Antonio & Mt. Baldy Notch Trail is a 9.5 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Mt Baldy, CA that features a waterfall and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible from March until November. Dogs are also able to use this trail.
A strenuous 9.5 mile loop hike with nearly 4,000 feet of vertical elevation gain to the 10,068' summit of Baldy. Any Southern Californian can point out the white topped Mt. Baldy - actually it's real name is Mt. San Antonio. Baldy is a SoCal icon that stands out boldly as a snow-covered backdrop for much of the year. At 10,068 feet above sea level, the snow often sticks around well into June. This loop begins at the Manker Flats trailhead (National Parks Adventure Pass required), taking the winding fire road up Baldy Notch, then hiking the Devil's Backbone to the summit. The return route takes you down via the steep Baldy Bowl trail, passing the Sierra Club Ski Hut and San Antonio Falls on the way back to Manker Flats. This is the third of six southern California summits in the 6-Pack of Peaks bundle. Done in sequence, they provide great training anyone preparing for bigger hikes such as Mt. Whitney or Half Dome. Each hike in the 6-Pack is progressively higher in altitude, and all have respectable distance and vertical elevation gain. When you're at Baldy Notch, there are several paths that head towards Mt. Baldy (none of the marked). DO NOT take the far left path. That will take you to the foot of the Turkeyshoot ski run. It may be the most direct, but your legs will never forgive you for going up that run. Another hiker on the Notch recommended the far right path to have a more gentle incline, but I didn't take it, so I can't tell you how it is. No matter how you get there, though, all of the trails take you to Devil's Backbone, which leads you to Baldy. It's not so bad before the final ascent, but there are places where both sides of the trail drop away, and you could get some vertigo, if you're prone to it. But the ascent is the real butt-kicker. When you round Mt. Harwood and head for Baldy, the rest of your path is brutal and relentless. I had to count my steps just to get up to the top (I might've also been hit with some mild altitude sickness, so be ready for that at 9-10,000'). The views at the top are incredible, and there's wind-breaks other folks have constructed out of stones, so you can take a breather behind one of those if it's too gusty. From there, you have your pick of ways down, either back the way you came, down the Baldy Bowl/Ski Hut trail, or the Bear Canyon trail. Good luck, and make sure to check when the ski lift closes, if you plan to take it back.
This is a great training hike, steady climbs and enough altitude to challenge anyone.
wow, for a first time, it was amazing, the small watterfall with the combination of the trail was amazing and perfect. Hard but way worth it for a first time
Great hike, great views
Great hike today. From the top of the ski lift it took us 1 hr 41 mins to the peak. Then 1 hr 17 mins down. Great weather.
my fav hike close to LA
Hard but doable, I have a torn acl and just threw on my sleeve and did it so never fear! Especially if your knees are fine lol
AWESOME views at the top. If you can take the ski lifts up to the start of Devil's Backbone, then do so. The walk is long, boring, and on a paved road...not exactly my idea of hiking. Save your energy for the trail.
There are some points on the trail that are narrow, with some pretty steep drops which could be a little vertigo inducing.
The summit is windy, and cold, so bring an extra layer. There is also no water on the trail until you reach the Sierra Club Ski Hut, and even then, it was just a tiny stream a good 30' off the trail (which I would not have seen if I didn't lose the trail and had to cut clear across Baldy Bowl to the Ski Hut). Went through almost 5 liters of water in total and hiked from 7AM to around 3:300PM.
it's hard for people whit out experience on hiking( like me) but very nice view and so much fun.
Nice challenging loop. I like it better when my wife does it with me and I carry her the last half up
Great hike for the average hiker looking to advance their hiking skills. Took us just under 7 hours. We hiked about 12 miles total. Get there early! It gets very busy.
Freakin amazing. Nuff said
The Big M.
Good climb, get there early, it gets crowded quick. Oh, and people, if your dog barks incessantly at every human being they see, please leave them at home; this isn't the trail for them.
Hike was great, was first Hike ive ever done and yes its a "real" hike but totally worth it.
Really cool trail. Good workout going uphill. Great food at the notch too!
Did the loop but from register ridge up. The ridge is steep and fairly unrelenting till you reach backbone trail. Went up and did Mt Harwood as well (it's right there so why not). Had a full pack as I was planning on sleeping on the summit but a severe wind advisory was blowing 60knots at the summit from the west so I decided to bail and ran down baldy bowl after snaping a few crazy cloud bust photos from Baldy summit. Note: for Baldy bowl when descending rule of thumb is always stay to the left, lots of false trails that head down will lead you cliffy loose scree/dirt areas towards the falls. Fun trail