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So definitely heed the warning and bring microspikes or full-on crampons if you plan on summiting during the winter. hiking poles are a must for me as well. It is significantly more challenging in the winter.

hiking
6 days ago

Must do at least once. I've done it 2.9 times (don't chicken if you are like me, because you'll be back again to finish what you started) and it is indescribable. This last time, in August 2018, I spent the rest of our time in the Valley pointing to the top and telling my husband, "Hey, we were up there on Tuesday morning!!".

First two times, we started at 4 AM and made it up to the cables after 10 AM. There was a lot of traffic, and for this acrophobe, it just made things worse. However, once you summit the sub dome, the cables look IMPOSSIBLE. Get right up to them and you'll see it isn't as straight up as you think. I think having carabiners to clip yourself in just to ease your mind a bit is a great idea, though I've done it without each time. A couple tricky spots, but if you keep things one plank at a time, you'll get there.

In August, my husband and I started at 12 AM. Once we got to the mist trail, I realized we left our gloves in the car (get decent work gloves from Home Depot or somewhere similar as they will work WONDERFULLY for the cables; you need the grip). Had to trek back so we finally started before 1 AM. Hiking in the dark was rough. Took the mist trail up as usual. We reached the pre-dome at sunrise and made it to the top at about 7:30. Absolutely gorgeous. Cables will likely exhaust you, so get ready for a long trip down. We got back to the parking lot (took the mist trail down, though I would recommend the Muir trail down if your knees are in agony; I just wanted my husband to see the falls) at about 1 PM, so it took 12 hours in all, which was the same as the previous trips. Slept for a looooong time after that.

Does anyone know if this and/or the Grotto trail are back open? I'd love to check at the Grotto after all the recent rain fall!

Sandstone peak is all time for short hikes with an awesome view. Especially when it’s clear. Always pretty quiet during the weekdays also. Hiked this the day before the Woolsey fire came through.. Saw the Oaks fire start while sitting at Tri Peaks Point.

Snowy but passable for this visiting Wisconsinite. Nice summit views. Warm temps. I only needed a light jacket and headband. I started the route by passing through the ski area and finishing with Baldy Bowl. I only saw three other hikers before summiting. on the way down, I passed many hikers going the other way, easily numbering 50 or more. By the time I finished at 1pm, the parking lot was a mass of humanity, completely full with cars of hikers and skiers.

First winter hike on this trail. Snowed all day long. I like snow covered Mt. Baldy than dry/hot summer hike. Weather is mild even in January here but still need to drive carefully to the trail head when it snows.

My favorite hike! Push yourself to get to the top! I was nervous about doing the switchback at the end because it looked steep with loose stones but I went up anyway and the views were incredible, so happy I did.

Loved this hike! We split this up into two days so we could camp in little Yosemite valley.

hiking
19 days ago

Such an awesome hike! Definitely recommend! Make sure that you bring gloves that can grip the cables if you plan on going to the summit!

Started the hiking going up the Baldy bowl trail. Good amounts of snow once you get to the ski hut. Micro spikes and trekking poles helped a lot and were necessary for me in most of the snow and icy sections but there were some hikers who didn’t have spikes and or poles. I think if you had crampons they’re fine but might have been over kill. Reached the summit and then decided to do devils backbone on the way down. Not for the front hearted but definitely worth it. It says 9 miles or something but my strava got me at 12 miles. This is my second hike and I loved it. Can’t wait to do it again.

We did this on 12/27, so some info for those looking for details on conditions, etc.

We went to the Ski Hut and then went straight up a chute as opposed to staying on the trail. There’s barely enough snow to do this, so be advised. Crampons, poles, and axe are recommended. I don’t think you’d need an axe if not climbing this part and instead stuck to the trail.

We then hit the summit and took Devil’s Backbone down. Again, crampons and poles recommended.

There’s decent snow/ice above 8500’ in most places.

The rest of it is pretty easy. I’d recommend hitting the ski area on the way down, grabbing a beer, and having a drink on the lift down to skip about a mile of pretty unrewarding terrain down (we did!).

Enjoy!

backpacking
25 days ago

Pretty hike! Get to the parking area early to get a spot and make sure you park in an appropriate spot, as the rangers do ticket. We went in mid-November....Lake Aloha was great when we went plenty of water, but very cold when the sun went down. I imagine it would be absolutely perfect in the spring and fall!

Amazing hike, we did it through devil’s backbone out and back. Definitely recommend crampons over microspikes! The snow coverage makes it much more spectacular and scenic. Only used up about 2L of water since the conditions were cool. Poles are needed towards the last stretch to the summit, but didn’t require a snow axe. Took us 8 hours total with a few breaks here and there. Take warm accessories if you’re doing this in the winter such as gloves/ski mask; as it gets pretty windy at the top!

hiking
1 month ago

Loved your review Rashid! Agree. This hike is one to remember.

Great hike! Hard, but that’s why we do it. I’ve used this hike twice to train for Mt. Whitney.

1 month ago

great hike

hiking
1 month ago

Scariest hike ever. I'm talking about the cable portion, it is steep as hell and even steeper than photos when you see it in person. But it is do-able you just have to focus on moving to the next wooden board. The wooden boards I believe are spaced out 10 feet from each other from the bottom of the dome to the top. It took us about an hour just to get to the top because there was traffic lots of people going up and down simultaneously. We had to take turns for those coming down and those going up. To get to the top without traffic should only take maybe 10-15 mins to give perspective on what traffic does. Also the traffic IMO makes it more scary because you have to hold onto the cables even longer.

I'd recommend using gloves with a latex coating to help with the cables as it gives your hands much more grip and you'll avoid blistering your hands like many other people.

I'd recommend doing it if you want to face your fears. Just take it one wooden board at a time until you reach the top and you'll be fine. Lots of people did it and have done it.

Would I do it again? Probably not lol just because it was scary as shit. BUT DO IT ONCE AT LEAST :D

CLOSED: Went up there today to see what condition it was in. The park ranger told me it would be closed for about another week, as the threat of mudslides is too great with forthcoming weather and downed trees that need to be removed from the trail.

Light snow about 500 ft or so to summit( 11/28. Microspikes not needed yet but could come in handy in the next couple days since it’s forecasted snow tomorrow...ran down devils back bone it was fun.. went clockwise. Steady incline at the end but nothing crazy. People say their vertigo thing could be an issue which I do have that problem... I didn’t feel anything out of ordinary except when looking at it from a distance made me dizzy. But walking through I was fine. Just Incase anyone else was wondering the same thing? Happy trails

Today: walked about halfway up the backbone from Notch. Chickened out at the hairpin turn around 8700 ft. as trail was very narrow and I had on ASICS with no trekking poles. Will attempt safely in the future. Lots of hikers. Beautiful weather. Bring a warm jacket and scarf. There is snow at the Baldy summit; you can see it from the trail.

Amazing hike did this back in September and forgot to put a review, but this hike is beautiful! We left early in the morning at 2am and it was perfect going up in the dark with headlamps and enjoying seeing things from a different perspective rather than going later like 7am so heading down you see everything that you didn’t going up so it makes the hike better since it’s pretty much a 10hr hike. Going up early at 2am and not knowing much farther you have to go was just great, but to just keep moving and the hike went by quick because by the time daylight started to show we were at the base of sub dome. Heading down was quick n easy, but by 10am traffic rolls in and makes it difficult.

Leave early for the hike to make the cables with little to no traffic. Make it before 8am cause up top people start to roll in and head down the cables with traffic is a pain to wait for people to pass n continue to descend.

The hike in general starts pretty easy for those that hike normally. The hike gets tough when you hit the foot high steps n they continue to get higher n higher, but that’s why you start early n you don’t see how much farther you have to go. Sub dome is just the same a bunch of foot high steps, but aren’t to bad if you go early and rest at the steps. Cables were surprisingly easy both up and down. Down is easiest, but going up isn’t bad if you have RUBBER GLOVES. Crazy beautiful site seeing going up cables and top. Used my GoPro and the videos are awesome.

Pack some good food and 4L of water. I managed to make it with 3L and have some left over,but it’s probably because we left early in morning.

Go prepared (food&water), go early, proper gear (boots&gloves, don’t forget permit, and enjoy the views going down.

hiking
1 month ago

What can I say, basically nothing beats this for a day hike.

Took an uber on my own from LA to manker flat. Not a lot of people on the weekend after thanksgiving. This trail has everything, waterfall, snow, and very amazing view. Around 11:30, decided to go counter clockwise, reached the top by sunset, very incredible view, but very windy and cold. Stayed for about 15 minutes then rushing to go down. Very challenging finding way down in the dark. But amazing experience seeing stars with naked eyes!
Arrived at the trailhead around 7pm and no phone reception to call uber, so decided to walk down for a phone reception but very lucky a very nice family offered to take me down the mountain even took me all the way to Pasadena. An amazing day, great experince, amazing views, fantastic thanksgiving getaway adventure.

Clockwise is the way the go this time of year. Top of the Notch restaurant is only open 11 to 5 so you get a good lunch break on the way down. Some snow at the top. Micro spikes are a good idea to bring along but full crampons and an axe was an overkill. We had great weather but it was a bit windy. Not a lot of people the day after Thanksgiving which was great. Definitely a great hike!

We have hiked this trail many times and loved it every time. Unfortunately the Woolsley Fire burned the trail.

Did it on 11/19/18. We were planning to clockwise. Started from Manker around 10 to 10:30, then through paved wide drive road reach the split of badly bowl and fall road?. we took badly bowl. steep at beginning, slower in the middle, reach ski hub, then easier ascent. before summit, there are two strenuous ascending. On first one, the trail became really steep (>45%), with multiple possible ways, with dirt or loose graves ground. Then we were thinking it was almost summit, but one hiker told us it would take another 30-40 minutes before summit and suggested devil's backbone is a more dangerous down way. Right before summit, it was about 30 minutes 30% ascending. We arrived summit at 2pm. Since we knew sundown time was 5pm, devil's backbone is a much longer trail, our phone was out of battery, and it was our first time, we took the advise deciding coming down from badly bowl. My knees got killed. Slipping a few times per person. Yesterday was cloudy. when sun downed at 4:30, we reached the split. At 5pm, we backed to Manker flat parking lot.

Don't know how dangerous down from devil's backbone. But, down from badly bowl is asking for hammering on your knees.

This was a beautiful hike to Heather Lake. Trailer is well maintained, and smooth. We took the Hump Trail to Heather Lake as the sign stated the Watchtower was closed due to snow and ice, even though we knew there was none of that this day. This part is beautiful, but steep. Very Picturesque at the Lake. Returned via the Watchtower, and can see why this would be closed in the winter. I am not a fan of heights, but this trail although has steep drop offs, it wide enough to allow even the heights challenged to pass. Recommend the Watchtower trail for the scenic outlooks that are just magnificent!

This trail is definitely on our do do list to continue further to Pear Lake and Beyond.

If you’re considering it, go for it! If you can make it to Heather Lake with plenty of energy, you’ve competed most of the elevation climb so consider continuing to Emerald and Pear Lakes. All 3 are rather different in their view/surroundings.

Best part of this hike is the return trip out is mostly all downhill! Pit toilets are at both Emerald and Pear Lakes.

Note that the Watch Tower Trail has a sign after Oct. 15(?) that says it’s closed due to winter weather. This may not realllllly be accurate if the weather is great. There definitely wasn’t any snow when I took the trail on Nov 2nd — it was in the 60’s. So I waited at the intersection of the Watch Tower Trail and the other trail until a group came down the Watch Tower Trail and confirmed the conditions were perfect and there’s no reason not to take that option. Traffic on the Watch Tower Trail was reasonable — I’d pass someone/a group heading down about every 5 minutes once I hit the Watch Tower part of the trail.

A few spots on the trail are narrow with a notable steep drop off to one side, but it wasn’t enough to concern me (I’m fairly afraid of heights ). Just bringing that up since others mentioned it in other reviews.

Also note: the first few miles (and thus the last few miles) of the trail are dense forest, so be mindful that when it nears sunset the trail will get much darker earlier than you may anticipate. Pack flashlights/etc. accordingly if you may wrap up this trail in the late afternoon/early evening.

hiking
2 months ago

Thanks to an unusual delay in winter storms, we got to enjoy this hike in mid-November. Although it is late in the hiking season, we still saw a number of other hikers on the trail. We knew Lake Aloha would be drained, but other lakes on the way still provided beautiful scenic views, Lake of the Woods in particular. To see this one, you’ll have to add a small loop with a steep climb, but it’s worth it!

As far as the hike itself, it was not terribly difficult. I didn’t enjoy hiking on the scree, but it is par for the course in Desolation Wilderness. The trail is well marked; just keep an eye out for the wooden posts marking various converging and crossing trails. Some people had their dogs, but I was glad I left mine at home since it is primarily an exposed, rocky path.

All in all, a great hike that I look forward to doing again in the summer!

great day for a hike! trail was hard to find in places. I wish I had just gone out and back.

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