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did this solo loved it only 2 other ppl i saw

One of my favorites.

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.

Best hike I’ve done period. Great tree coverage throughout most areas - more foot traffic near bottom but once you get up and out there’s barely anyone. Note that there are some complications with the trail which can make it challenging for some people. I recall one section being pretty narrow to walk on and had to be very careful walking that section with my dog since it was a drop off to the side. Also a tree fell over the trail at one section so you have to climb over the trunk. beautiful peak at the top!

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.

Camped near Bighorn right before the snowstorm hit. What I woke up to was easily the most beautiful scene one can imagine.

IG: vothomas

It’s called Windy Gap for a reason! Super windy and chilly at the top, but such a nice view at the top. The trail head starts inside Crystal Lake Campground and you need a parking pass. We hiked to the top of windy gap then to Little Jimmy Campground for lunch, it was wonderful.

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!).


Would not call this hard. Beautiful views over creek and waterfall and many rustic cabins.

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!

Excellent trail for Running!

Nice mostly shaded hike with some nice fall colors. Definitely do the detour to the waterfall and backtrack back (please don’t scramble up the hill back to trail). December was a good time to do this as it was cool all day in the shade and no bugs.

4.5 stars for a 30min drive from LA without traffic.
We went to the falls and took the lower creek trail after which was beautiful, and my pedometer registered 11.3 miles.
4h50m including the Mt Zion peak, a short snack, and getting from and to the car.

Saw a deer up close. Woodpeckers. Bear poo.
Little hazy towards the city but the trail and mountainsides were pretty.

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

AWESOME Hike - Trail Info Incorrect

This hike is mislabeled - this isn't Windy Gap to Big Cienega. Technically, it's Crystal Lake Campground to Big Cienega Trail to Mt. Islip Trail to Windy Gap Trail (and back to Crystal Lake Campground).

You start at the parking lot at Crystal Lake Campground, hike up to Windy Gap (a small break in the mountains where the wind howls through before you choose another of several trails to branch off onto). Someone has also uploaded photos of the old stone hut, but this circuit doesn't take you to it - you have to take a side hike to Mount Islip to see that (.4 miles one way, according to the AllTrails map).

We did this hike the second weekend in December, starting around 11:30 am, after a few days of snow in the higher elevations. It was incredible. On the way up, it was snow covered chaparral that someone had already broken trail on, with the sun shining down on us the entire way up to Windy Gap. The trail was pretty mushy in the exposed areas with patches of ice and powder where the trees and ridges blocked the sun. Good amounts of tree cover, alternating with lots of open sun. Nothing in the beginning of the hike is too steep - moderate is a pretty accurate description for the grade most of the way up.

We took the side hike to Mt. Islip, where there's a cool old stone hut and an amazing 360º view. We could see all the way to Catalina, which was amazing, despite the smog. The snowy mountains on two sides made a pretty amazing backdrop for lunch at the summit (though there are 4 ugly stone foundation blocks that the forest service should get rid of).

The leg up to Mt. Islip is on the shadow side of the mountain - darker, cooler, with deeper, densely packed snow. No dramatic drop-offs or anything too scary, even with all the snow.

Because of the recent snowfall, the trail was like something out of a movie: dead quiet, sunny, pure blue skies, breeze blowing through the pines, succulents and cacti poking up through the snow, and almost no other hikers in sight (we only passed one person heading in our direction and maybe 3, total, heading down). We're in our 30s/40s and in decent shape, but not champion mountaineers by any stretch, and from the parking lot to the stone hut it tooks us between 3.5 and 4 hours (4.2 miles according to AllTrails) at an easy pace with plenty of stops (plus the snow slowed us down considerably).

If you follow our map it takes you from the parking lot to the stone hut. 8.4 miles with 2,418 ft. of elevation gain.

One of my new favorite hikes in Southern California because of how incredible it looked in the snow. And quiet enough to hear a pin drop!

PS - you can't access the lot from the 2 freeway in winter, the gate is closed, so the only access is to come up from Azusa, so be aware of that.

Shady. Well maintained. Really pleasant trek.

Lots of snow from the storm that hit this week. Gorgeous hike!

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.

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!

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.

35 degrees at the summit. The Devil’s Backbone was the easier trail coming down.

This is great training hike for those wanting to do bigger peaks. SoCal has several extreme hikes that reach the tallest summits that are way more demanding. So this is a great hike to dial your gear and strategy for success.

2 months ago

Was a nice hike with lots of trees and it was really neat seeing the cabins and camp. There really wasn’t much water so I’m sure it’s more beautiful when there is. Was shaded most of the hike and the bugs were pretty bad for me. Was definitely a booty buster the last few miles! On the was back down I took the trail to Zion ➡️Hoegee’s camp ➡️back to Sturtevant. So it was more of a loop vs an out and back.

Enjoy this hiking 10/27/18 was moderated to heavy, the weather was nice, a lot of people hiking, start going up as soon as we hit the trail. Love it planning on going back soon

Question....after doing this hike yesterday, our Garmin GPS logged it at 11.2 miles, not 9.2. Does anyone know what the correct mileage is for the loop? Thanks!

Did the loop counterclockwise, going up past the ski hut, and then on to the summit. Back down via Devil’s Backbone, I skipped the ski lift ride down because I didn’t want to cheat, but I would definitely opt to ride the lift down next time because it circumvents the most uninteresting part of the hike. Weather was chilly in the morning, light wind on the summit, got pretty warm on the way down. Dress in layers, it’s essential here.

I definitely think counterclockwise is the way to do Mt. Baldy, it’s absolutely phenomenal going up and around the Baldy Bowl. Every inch of it is breathtaking. It’s quite steep, but I think any fit person could do this hike with a little bit of training. The trail can be tricky to follow after you leave the ski hut, just stay focused and reference the GPS on this app when needed. Traversing the infamous Devil’s Backbone was very scenic and slightly terrifying. Numerous hikers have died on this section in the winter and it’s easy to see why. With zero snow on the trail, like today, the risk factor was marginal. Check conditions with the ranger station, and don’t attempt it if there’s snow, unless you have mountaineering equipment and you know what the hell you’re doing!

Left the car at 8:10a, got to the ski hut 9:45a, summit at 11:15a, back at the car 2:15p. I carried 3 liters of water, probably could’ve gotten by with less. There’s several streams and water sources along the Baldy Bowl side of the hike if you want to collect and filter.

This hike is absolutely incredible, I loved every mile of it and would definitely do it again.

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