Old Mount Baldy Trail is a 12.3 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Mount Baldy, California that features a river and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail is primarily used for hiking and trail running and is best used from June until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.
dogs on leash
This trail was made in the 1880's by Dr. Fairchild and Dell, who envisioned an observatory on the summit. The idea never materialized, but over the years the trail became popular and was used as the main route to travel to the summit from Mount Baldy Village. Trail begins at Mt Baldy Village and takes you through Bear Canyon, with its creek and rich canopy of Oak, Bay, Cedar, Fir and Pine. Bear Cyn emerges to open chaparral, which takes you to the ridge with an open Conifer forest and amazing views. You will climb the ridge for several miles and enjoy a treat of varied topography, shade, sun, and breathtaking views. After an incredible 6.5 miles and over 6000 feet of elevation gain, you will reach the Mount Baldy summit.
This was GREAT!!
We started early ... a bit after 6:30am on a Sat... easy to find ... notice the signs not to park in the church lot! ... just go up a bit and there will be some parking in the left ... though I was told it is prime real estate...
You need a pass which you can purchase at the ranger station right there ... since we didn't have one and they weren't open yet, they had no problem with us paying upon our return ($5 for the day or $30 for the yr).
It is a HARD hike up ... there is no "rest" so enjoy the slight inclines and few flats on the way up.
To start you will go through some homes, then take the trail that makes you go HARD right. There was only one other spot that I got off track ... but I followed the AllTrails gps and easily got back on track.
There was this one spot that I had images that I was going to fall off the mountain ... and other paths that are narrow (so be careful!). In all honesty we were short about 1/2 mi to the top ... to these circle of logs, where we rested and ate the rest of our breakfast.
It does get cold ... we went on a day that eventually was warm and we got goosebumps. So layer ... and bring water and snacks ... this is no "normal" 12+ mi hike.
Careful on the way down ... my hiking companion is a 7.5# dog that decided to trail RUN on the way down (she is mighty quick) ... so I followed... until SPLAT!! I got a little bruised up ... but will be going back soon.
We only saw 2 people on the way up ... more on the way down (less than 12) and only one other dog towards the "finish line." I enjoyed the solitude.
Went back a couple of weeks later and made it to the top! Ha! That last part is not so easy... but so rewarding when you get to the top. Amazing views.
Good hike! A tough one to be sure. I've done san Gorgonio via Vivian creek and san Jacinto via Marion mountain, and this one, to me, was harder. My gps showed 13.6 miles, 5,820 feet in elevation gain, and took 7 1/2 hours to the summit and back. The trail is narrow in sections and a bit overgrown. Loose scree in the bottom half of the trail - easy to slip on the descent. Trekking poles a must. Went through a bit over 4 liters of water. Great views all the way! Bottom part of the trail is fairly exposed. The Mt Baldy visitor center parking lot was closed when I went (maybe because it was Columbus Day?). I parked a little way up the street on the side of the road. Anyhow, a good climb and great workout! The food at the Mt Baldy lodge is pretty good too!
Great training hike for the High Sierra.
Every post on this hellacious hike is absolutely correct. It's brutal mostly due to the unrelenting elevation gain. I hiked it yesterday (8-13-16) and initially and naïvely thought that the trail would flatten out after the switchbacks, where I quit and turned around 2 weeks ago. Not even close, though the grade levels ever so slightly. About 70% of the hikers I passed or passed me and came back in contact with...turned around and gave up. Having been one of them 2 weeks prior, I understood and couldn't hate. My mind tried to reason with me a half dozen times, "It's ok to quit...you gained 3,600', 4,000' now 5,000'...that's good enough!" This beast will play tricks with you and push you to the limit! It finally does eventually level out more, somewhere between 8,500-9,000' elevation. Fortunately God sent some amazing clouds yesterday around the last time I considered turning back...and I made it to the top. 1 mph on the way up, 2 mph on the way down...for a 9.5 hour trek. Mine ended up being 13 miles and 6,065' elevation gain, due to me having to park all the way down by the 4,000' elevation sign. Note, I had 3 liters and a 16 ounce Monster. With a hot, windy day like yesterday...that wasn't enough. Shamefully, I drank water out of the Baldy Village church fountain out front...lol. But directly across from the parking lot you enter and leave from, there is a soda $1 + Powerade $2 machines (only allow $1 bills and change, no $5.) Ultra dehydrated left me drinking an additional 72 ounces of Gatorade/Powerade/soda in less than 10 minutes, lol. I'll forever remember this challenging, yet rewarding experience in training for Mt Whitney. Trekking/hiking poles are a must. Outside of Cactus to Cloud, in Socal there's no harder elevation gaining hike than this bastard. I cursed this hike the last 3 miles, but made it. I hope you can too. Good luck!
The Baldy Death March WILL light your ass up. Listen to the reviews. They speak truth. This is probably the prettiest way up to Baldy as well. Steep as muck! Bagged West Baldy as well, as it is right there. Big Bad Iron was calling my name as I looked out across the San Antonio Ridge.
Did this trail all the way to the summit then to west Baldy and down. I've heard this trail be called "the Baldy death march" and it lives up to the hype. 6,000ft elevation gain in 6 steep as it gets for hiking miles. I brought 4 liters of water as well as the essentials. Definitely the most challenging trail up Baldy and I would not recommend to the inexperienced or out of shape. Also *expect to add a extra mile each way due to no parking allowed at trail head.* 14 total miles according to my gps.
Very very hard trail. Are you enjoying a lot of wildlife.Nice view all the way to the top.
This trail will light your ass on fire
This trail is not used as much as one would fear. Especially beyond the Sierra Club cabin. You won't be alone for long stretches, but you also won't get stuck behind a large group of people. This trip had snow starting about a mile below the cabin and beyond the cabin the snow was deep enough that proper mountaineering boots were warranted, so I turned around. This was my fifth time up the trail and all other times I made it to the top of Mt. Baldy in about 3 hours.