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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.

This is a strenuous hike and well worth it. Did this hike on January 11, 2019. Snow was 3ft or higher and temperatures in the very low degrees. We were equipped with the necessary things that we needed to finish the hike at night. Starting at 10:20 am and finished at 8:20 pm. Well worth it. One important thing is to have a map or download AllTrails.

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.

hiking
4 days ago

This hike was incredible. We had 4 wheel drive and had no problem getting down painted canyon road. All of the ladders we encountered were metal and pretty sturdy, except for the occasional broken rung. Definitely worth the climb for the amazing views.

Was on the trail yesterday and the road is in excellent condition. If you stay on the main road and don't go off onto the sandy off shoots on the road you will not need a 4 wheel drive. The trail is in excellent condition however none of the ladders are bolted down any longer so you may want to have fellow hikers hold the ladder steady as you ascend or descend. The ladder at mile 2 which is the last one before you emerge up from the lower canyon is in bad shape. One of the middle rungs has broken through and ladder is swaying sideways from metal fatigue. I suspect this will need to be replaced very soon other wise you will have to turn back as there is no way to circumnavigate this area. Once you emerge out of the canyon and descend into the lower wider canyon there are lots of flowers and great views of the massive canyon walls. On the last 2 down climb ladders the last ladder is in poor condition. The last 2 rungs are blown out and most of the other rungs look like they could go anytime. Proceed with caution on that one! other than that the trail is amazing and in good condition. Highly recommend!

nice trail. trail head easy to reach by car. very pretty. popular

Not for the unprepared or inexperienced due to weather!! Also, prepare for 1 hour + wait time for the tram if you do not arrive EARLY.

TRAIL DETAILS as of 1/6/2019

Went up yesterday to the summit. You will need snowshoes and crampons to get to the top safely and since the going is slow, plan your daylight time for an 8 hour round-trip just to be safe.

LOTS OF SNOW: there is about 3-4 ft of soft powder past Wellman’s Divide and you may or may not have a clear trail carved out for you. Pack for temps in the 10-15 degrees with strong gusts of wind. Reservoir tubes freeze quickly so know the steps to keep your water flowing as it’s a strenuous climb in the deep powder!

Otherwise, it’s a beautiful hike in near perfect winter/snow conditions but be smart and gear up to stay warm!!

Beautiful and unique hike. We are a four person family with two college age kids and it was fun for all. Slightly challenging in some parts but worth it for the views. Makes you feel like you are an explorer!

hiking
10 days ago

Easy hike with great views of the desert, mountains and lava flow. We hiked the trail on a Sunday and only saw a few other hikers. Steep areas with loose rock around crater, but otherwise flat with a sand/rock trail. Note— due to the government shutdown, bathrooms are a bit messy.

Hike was very nice !!!

hey john, box canyon is still closed and you will definitely need 4WD for painted canyon road (some parts are soft sand)

John, we will be there in two weeks with a rental car. Like you, hoping to hear of road conditions on Painted Canyon Road. Please update if you decide to go. Thanks!

I went on December 21, and ~85% of the trail was in ice or snow. The last half had the hillsides completely covered in snow, from 1 to 2 feet in it. I lost the trail many times after the first half. Very dangerous without a GPS as you can lose your sense of direction (where trail leads), as you’ll see foot prints going various directions and splitting. When I went, there were only 3 other people that I was aware of. Very beautiful and quiet. It was around 40 degrees but it’s not an accurate reading, and there were still heavy gusts when you start to summit.

Completed this back in October of 2018. This was my wife and I first peak summit and enjoyed every minute of it! Overall the hike is closer to 15 miles, took us 7.5 hours. If you are into hiking and have decent fitness level you should be able to do this hike with no real issues. Make sure you have the proper attire and gear, plenty of water(we each brought 4.5L of water and had plenty) and a map for reference and you are in good shape. Well worth the effort! Strenuous but attainable!

Beautiful hike.

Can anyone please provide road conditions??? I plan to visit the area Saturday, January 5th. Thanks much

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.

Nice adventurous hike without being too difficult. Loved the slot canyon and variety of rocks.

Great hiking experience with the snow :)

This is a very unique hike and one of the best. The view of the Salton Sea once you are up top is spectacular. The slot canyon, diversity of rock types and formations and views from the top made this hike a must do for us. We will do it again for sure.

We missed the stone arrow showing the way to do the loop clockwise so did it in reverse. The bolder scramble and entrance to the trail is relatively early on the trail. The arrow is very close to the left side - there is a small aluminum ladder to look for. The trail is very wide, so we didn’t see the arrow but going counterclockwise wasn’t bad at all. The main difference as far as I can tell is that you walk half the time at a slight incline in the sand. If you were to go clockwise, you would do most of the ladders and rocky ascent going up.

I would also like to thank the volunteers for their time and effort making sure the ladders are there so this hike is possible. All were in fine working condition. I didn’t see any wood ladders.

If you know when you are going try to book your tram ticket up online before hand. I just went today December 28th and it was a 2 hour wait in the tram station once you got your ticket so by the time I got up it was nearing 12pm. Lots of people, busy busy -which I hate so I was very relieved once I got up and could get away from the tourist side of things. I quickly found the ranger station, got my permit, put on my spikes and headed out. I started following some foot prints in the snow and ended up going in one big circle so that wasted about 40 minutes. The sun goes down around 4:30 now in Palm Springs so I was concerned I wouldn’t be able to make it up and down in time but, I started out anyways after my set back at about 12:45. The trail after that was pretty noticeable (even through the snow) and I started making some good head way. I’m not a very experienced hiker and not super in shape (I like to say average) but I was determined and with some motivation I was able to reach the peak by 2:15. I didn’t take any breaks despite the last couple miles I think I could have used one but I was worried about timing and just powered through. I didn’t stay up too long but I ate a protein bar and enjoyed the view for a few minutes before heading back down. I also rushed past the ranger station although I would have liked to go inside and check it out. I ended up getting back down much quicker than coming up and made good time. I was back down by 3:30pm so I would have actually had more time to hang out and explore but, I wanted to be back before dark and better safe than sorry. I only seen a couple people out there. It was nice and quiet, no wildlife. A bit chilly on my walk down. It was about 5 degrees Celsius. The spikes on my shoes were much needed and I’d really recommend going with them as it was icy. I didn’t bring poles but I could see how those would help. I know people say to train for this and I don’t want to encourage those not ready for it to go but, I think with some common sense and knowing your limits you will be fine. I didn’t train, I am from the prairies in Canada so I’m not used to inclines or elevation and I did just fine. Just make sure however far you go you can get back. Quit if you need to, dress appropriately, enjoy the gorgeous views, buy your tickets online to avoid wait times, don’t leave trash and have fun!!

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!

Make sure to bring water

hiking
21 days ago

We hiked the Ladder Canyon today, the ladders are all good. Then on to the cellphone towers at the top and down via Big Painted Canyon. Never have figured an easy route from the towers into the top of the Canyon. The two short ladders in the main Canyon are fine. Painted Canyon Road is fine. I wish I knew who put the ladders in so I could thank them but in this crazy age they probably will never come forward in case someone falls off and tried to sue ... that's America today. One of my favorite hikes anywhere.

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
26 days ago

Definitely worth the climb! I would recommend a sturdy pair of hiking boots and trekking poles. The poles help on the way down. You are able to walk the rim of the crater and explore inside the crater. The beginning of the tail is sandy with a few more sandy patches here and there. The rest of the trail is covered in lava rock. It’s pretty cool!

hiking
27 days ago

The Ladder Canyon Trail is open.
Hiked it today. Did not follow the trail marker, which leads you to the left & around. Glad we did go straight /right and around, then came out at that entrance.
There are a few rough areas, but the ladder parts are fine.
Glad we had the map, because the trail wasn’t marked very well for the descent down

Took Little Bear Creek Trail from Mackay Park all the way to the waterfall (6.35 miles out and back). Wonderful except for the trash and graffiti. I'd recommend taking a bag or picking up some of the trash - especially near the falls like we did. Leave it better than you found it!!

anyone know the condition this week? planning for a trip this friday.

We tried to go today but our GPS took us to a different route. I’m glad that we have a cross trek, because we were unaware that it was a dirt road (crabs flat). I wished it was mentioned on the hike. We will try to go an other time. We still had a great time and enjoyed the view.

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