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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.

Parking lot & turnouts full. Paid $20 for valet parking near store. Started hike off Sturtevant trail at 8:15 a.m. Took us 4 hours to reach summit (Observatory) and 3 hours to return/ loop around through Wilson trail (Upper Winter Creek). Return trailhead is off the cafe parking lot, however it is not marked.Tracker recorded 15.5 miles.Don't be deceived, it's a strenuous hike. Beautiful mountainous views.

Someone was asking whether this trail is open. Yes, it is. I was there today 11/18/18 and it was open.

does anyone knows if this trail is open?

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

Karla Gomez has no idea what a review encompasses. It's unfortunate that it's closed due to the recent fires but by no means does it diminish the beauty of it. It's a neat little trail with ample shade and plenty to look at.

We had planned to do the entire loop but after Watch Tower the track got rocky, narrow and very steep sided. We had checked before hand but no comments said “if you are afraid of heights, give this a miss”. We walked half a km past the Tower but then turned back. It’s beautiful but if heights worry you, take another trail. We didn’t make it to the lake, just back tracked down. This trail was closed today but we were among 30 other hikers doing it. Amazing views. Definitely a must for the ones who like heights. And take water, so many people take these trails with a tiny bottle or nothing and wearing sneakers- ????

Trail closed due to fires right now

hiking
16 days ago

It was 45 F when we started this hike at 0830 on 10/4/18. It had poured rain the previous day and ice warnings were in the forecast which I think scared everyone away. We saw no one on the way up and only a handful of people on the way back. The temperature never got warm enough to where the bugs were a problem even though we were prepared with head nets and bug spray. The first part of the hike was through the valley with gorgeous views on either side. After the junction to the Bubb's creek trail the trail begins a gradual ascent up to the falls. There is a section where you come out of the trees and you have unimpeded views of the canyon that are pretty spectacular. If you're a photographer, a wide angle lens is a must (or take multiple photos and stitch them together in post, or just take a panorama w/ your camera phone). Right before we got to the falls ran into a cinnamon colored black bear and her cub. That was a treat. The falls themselves are not spectacular as far as falls go, but it's a convenient turn around point. On the return we followed the Bubbs Creek trail across the river then took the spur back to the trailhead. Not as scenic as the trail coming out, but it was flat and easy. A pretty easy hike with a high ROE (return on effort).

About 90% of this hike is shaded which is very nice for comfort but limits the view points. I guess it was nice to change it up from the dessertous terrain of SoCal. It was also nice because I got a late start but didn’t get caught in the worst of the sun. Btw parking is rough if you get there late, I parked 0.8 miles from the trailhead.

Started out this hike with what felt like a million other people, I was not excited and kept weaving around them. Around mile 4 where it splits off to summit Wilson, just past sturtevant camp, everyone disappeared. Yay. But I was immediate joined by eight million mosquitos. Luckily I had some bug spray, if I do this hike again, I’ll bring a head net. As others have said, the summit left much to be desired. No log book, signage, etc plus people can drive there so it doesn’t give you the same sense of accomplishment.

Worth mentioning, when you get to the burned area just before the peak, there is load of poison oak? I’m terrible at IDing plants but someone told me it was poisonous and what it looked like, it was scary especially with my dog but I think we made it out unscathed.

Made it up in 4 hours and down in 2.5. Overall not a bad day but def not my fav hike in SoCal.

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.

hiking
21 days ago

A very good trail with moderate traffic. Went on a Saturday morning and continued along the same trail until Paradise Valley. The extra bit was well worth it, with very good views and a nice calm part of the Kings River. Did not see any bears, although we heard one growling nearby.

Very fun trail. There is currently a sign at the hump trail and watchtower trail fork that says watchtower trail is icy. While it definitely is through winter and maybe into summer, it’s all melted. No worries there, so don’t miss out on the amazing views it has to offer. Very nice one or two nighter.

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.

Loved it!! Such an amazing peaceful place

Dope trail dope views dope! there was snow towards the end but didn’t bring micro spikes so it was kind of sketchy.

It is a good hike overall, but not great. The length is recorded more of a 3.8 mile hike.

Initial descent is steep and on a road for the first 3/4 mile. From there it’s dirt roads/trails.

Several other hikers along the trail, one of which warned of a rattle snake ahead on the trail.

Unfortunately we got to the end and there was no water at the falls. Definitely a disappointment, but just no rain recently to provide the spectacle.

Did the hike today. Trail was very nice, very gusty winds and it does get below freezing with the wind chill starting after the ski center. Recommend dressing appropriately. Devils backbone trail was clear, no snow until you get close to summit and even then only a few patches. Fantastic views, the most significant wildlife I saw was a cat at the ski center.

For first timers, start early, pack layers, go up the Baldy Notch trail as opposed to the ski-hut trail since you do a more gradual ascent on Baldy Notch (6.5 miles) as opposed to Ski Hut trail (3.5 miles with same ascent) . Also be prepared for the serious ascent after you get pass the ski hut, you're going to work those legs as everything leading up to Devils backbone and through it will be pretty steep climb.

hiking
1 month ago

This is your go-to family friendly hike. Be sure to arrive early as parking spots fill up quickly. (I suggest arriving around 8 am unless you want to hike to the trailhead) You will need an Adventure pass. You could purchase a day permit near the trailhead for 5 dollars, make sure you have it in cash. Have fun!

Awesome hike. Did the hike on Saturday October 13, 2018. Snow and Whiteout at the top. Be prepared for freezing temperatures.

Hiked 10/11/18. As great as advertised. Arrived at the trailhead around 8:30am. Plenty of spaces available. Bugs weren’t a problem. We extended the hike an extra mile+ after the falls. That added quite a bit of elevation gain. Ran into a mama bear and her cub cruising down the middle of the trail and heard another just off trail.

So the reviews made here were very useful in completing my hike yesterday. The filter idea was great, a must especially if it is hot, but also you need to drink a lot on the way back to stay hydrated. Insects were not a problem like they are down in the Canyon. I took the Hump trail on the way back thinking it would be easier than just repeating my way around watchtower, biggest mistake of my hike. I missed the views on the way back and the grade up and then down was not what my legs wanted on the way back. Saw trout, many Chipmunks and Pikas gathering cones and seeds, not too many birds. It was supposed to snow the next day which is why I made the effort on this day. This is a truly awesome not to be missed hike, should have led with this. Go for the views especially of the lake with the mountain backdrop. I saw only 6 people the whole time I was on the trail which was both welcoming and a little worrisome, as I was hiking and doing photography on my own. I know know what the "Sounds of Silence" are as this hike will take you there.
Virtual Treadmill video of this hike can be seen on my YouTube Channel, copy and paste link below to watch it. Thanks.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCFO02nxPdM4-CabegFIPlow?view_as=subscriber

Great hike! Clearly marked, beautiful views, steady climb and well maintained!

Did this hike yesterday with a friend, our first time doing this. We planned on doing the hike via devil's backbone and down but we took the wrong trail and playfully hiked a few miles and relized we were at the ski hut. probably one of the best mistakes we did during this hike, our knees thanked us when we got back down via backbone. The weather was pleasant with occasional gusts which felt very chilly but the sun being out almost all day helped. Views on the way up and down were spectacular. All in all a difficult hike made easy by the good weather and amazing views.

Great hike, nice views, not too strenuous and beautiful weather

Great hike. Beautiful with different views that are amazing. Trail is not rocky which I love. Some switch backs but not many. The peak is incredible. It can get windy but we got lucky and it was calm. The tower allows you to see forever views.

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