Mount San Antonio and Mount Baldy Notch Trail

hardYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow Star(1644)
Angeles National Forest

Mount San Antonio and Mount Baldy Notch Trail is a 11.5 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Mount Baldy, California that features a waterfall and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until November. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

Length11.5 miElevation gain3,940 ftRoute typeLoop
dog friendlyHikingNature tripsSnowshoeingBird watchingrunningForestPartially pavedRiverViewsWaterfallWildflowersWildlifeRockyScrambleSnowHistoric site
Description
Waypoints (20)
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Getting There

A strenuous loop to the 10,068' summit of Baldy. Any Southern Californian can point out the white topped Mt. Baldy - actually it's real name is Mt. San Antonio. Baldy is a SoCal icon that stands out boldly as a snow-covered backdrop for much of the year. At 10,068 feet above sea level, the snow often sticks around well into June. This loop begins at the Manker Flats trailhead (National Parks Adventure Pass required), taking the winding fire road up Baldy Notch, then hiking the Devil's Backbone to the summit. The return route takes you down via the steep Baldy Bowl trail, passing the Sierra Club Ski Hut and San Antonio Falls on the way back to Manker Flats. This is the third of six southern California summits in the 6-Pack of Peaks bundle. Done in sequence, they provide great training anyone preparing for bigger hikes such as Mt. Whitney or Half Dome. Each hike in the 6-Pack is progressively higher in altitude, and all have respectable distance and vertical elevation gain. When you're at Baldy Notch, there are several paths that head towards Mt. Baldy (none of the marked). DO NOT take the far left path. That will take you to the foot of the Turkeyshoot ski run. It may be the most direct, but your legs will never forgive you for going up that run. No matter how you get there, though, all of the trails take you to Devil's Backbone, which leads you to Baldy. It's not so bad before the final ascent, but there are places where both sides of the trail drop away, and you could get some vertigo, if you're prone to it. But the ascent is the real butt-kicker. When you round Mt. Harwood and head for Baldy, the rest of your path is brutal and relentless. The views at the top are incredible, and there's wind-breaks other folks have constructed out of stones, so you can take a breather behind one of those if it's too gusty. From there, you have your pick of ways down, either back the way you came, down the Baldy Bowl/Ski Hut trail, or the Bear Canyon trail. Good luck. Make sure to check when the ski lift closes, if you plan to take it back. NOTE: Be sure to park outside of the white line along the road. It can be difficult to see in the snow but the police will have you towed if parked incorrectly.

You will need a US Forest Service Adventure Pass to park at the San Antonio Falls parking area at Manker Flats, if you don't park at the ski lift.

California Travel and Tourism Commision, P.O. Box 1499 , Sacramento, CA, 95812-1499, Phone: 800-862-2543

Check with the Baldy Village ranger station (909-982-2829) for the latest conditions. Avoid hiking the Devil's Backbone or Baldy Bowl trail when they are covered in snow, unless you are trained and equipped with crampons and ice axe. You can do this hike in reverse, for a strenuous, really steep climb up with a more gradual return. Over half of this trail is partially or fully-exposed to the sun. Be prepared with proper sun protection (wide-brimmed hat, sunscreen, etc.). No permits are required for day hikes on these trails. If snow is on the summit, bring crampons and an ice axe. Only attempt when there is snow if you have the training and experience. As always, bring your 10 essentials, plenty of food and water. This is not a pleasurably stroll through the woods, this is a strenuous day hike. Not for the out of shape or unprepared.

Directions from Claremont, CA: Drive up San Antonio Canyon to the Mt. Baldy ski lift. Ride the ski lift up to Baldy Notch, about 7,800 ft. elevation. The lift operates weekends and holidays year-round and daily when snow conditions warrant.

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Reviews (1,669)
Photos (6,934)
Recordings (1,214)
Completed (6,066)
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Leigh-Anne Kolasinski
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJanuary 18, 2021

I love this trail. I went 1/17/2020 - manker to ski hut to summit to notch down the fire road back to manker. The weather was perfect! we found forecasts with a 30 degree range of temps and varying conditions so we packed for anything but it was super (comfortably) warm the entire way. Brought poles and spikes. Poles were great. Didn't need spikes. There was some slush but not in the scarier spots. the snow makes it hard to stay exactly on the trail at times but its not hard to navigate. The trail was pretty uncrowded for a weekend, but I always try to arrive early to avoid the crowds. I usually bring 3L of water plus a couple of coconut waters which is plenty to get me to the Notch, but blew through 4L + this time. Maybe its especially dry? not sure but bring as much water as you can! maybe a good idea to pump at the ski hut even though its not too far in.

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Brianne Tolp
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJanuary 17, 2021
HikingGreat!IcySnow

BEAUTIFUL HIKE - we did exactly as All Trails recommend and started at Manker Campground, took the long way up to Devils Backbone to the summit and down Baldy Bowl back to Manker Campground. This review is for 1/16/20. We arrived to the parking lot around 7:45am - it was pretty full but there were still a few spots left. I highly suggest getting there early in the weekend. The 7.5 mile ascent to the Summit was relentless but worth it. There was still snow on the ground and ice in some spots. We had micro spikes with us and used them a few times - it’s doable without, you just need to be careful in some areas. We didn’t have poles but those would have helped, especially for the steep descent down Baldy Bowl that had a decent amount of snow the first mile or so. This hike is no joke, so be prepared for a long continuous climb to the top - but don’t let it scare you! I promise it’s worth it. As long as you have good shoes and poles or microspikes you won’t have any issue doing this - If you do this when the snow is melted, you won’t need microspikes but might still want poles. Hope this review helps others! P.S. You can find microspikes a REI, Amazon and most sporting goods stores - totally worth the money if you plan to hike in the snow again.

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Tiffany Thomasco
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HikingGreat!IcyNo shadeSnow

Beautiful, but bring spikes for your shoes and poles are helpful. Fairly icy!

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Monika Torres
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJanuary 13, 2021
HikingGreat!IcySnow

Great winter hike! Definitely one of my favorites!

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Jesus I Vega
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJanuary 12, 2021
HikingIcyNo shadeSnow

1/12/21. Amazing Hike With Awesome Friends. As of right now all the gear you need is Macro-Spikes & Hiking Poles. Some parts are icy but for the most part we didn’t have any difficulties. I hope this review help other hikers to decide on going or not going. Have fun and be safe.

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Amber Woodyard
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJanuary 11, 2021
HikingGreat!Snow

The pup and I started up the Ski Hut Trail at just after nine a.m. and made it to the epic snowy area just past the ski hut way before lunchtime. We only hiked about seven miles round trip in four hours as this trail is just so steep and rugged. Once you get up to about eight thousand feet the snow was almost a foot thick, so gorgeous but it makes for a very difficult hike. Read about the best ways to summit Mt Baldy here! http://hungrymountaineer.com/five-awesome-ways-summit-mt-baldy/ The trail was very icy in spots even with my cat tracks on my running shoes so we didn't quite make it to the summit. We turned away with the summit maybe a mile above us for safety reasons. It was a gorgeous snowy morning to enjoy the trails of Mt Baldy with my favorite furry friend. Strangely compared to orange county and the beaches of San Diego, we saw almost every person we passed was wearing a mask on the trail. Most of the other hikes hiking on Mt Baldy on this Wednesday were extremely considerate about pulling up their masks when we passed and staying six feet away.I highly recommend if heading out to Mt Baldy go early in the morning. Don't expect bathrooms. If you do find bathrooms don't expect them to be clean and bring your own TP. There are hardly any restaurants in Mt Baldy and one road going up. If you head up to the Mt San Antonio area on the weekends the traffic will be hellacious. There is very limited parking and most of the good snow requires hiking up the trail three miles and almost 2,000 vertical feet to find it. But if you are up for a butt-kicking hike, head up to this gorgeous mountain area first thing in the morning, on a weekday.

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Jesse Gandt
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJanuary 11, 2021
HikingGreat!IcyMuddyRockyScrambleSnow

Will always love this trail. As of 1/9/21, parking lot was barren at 7:15am which was nice. First time doing it in the winter. One thing: be as PREPARED as possible. Trekking poles, microspikes, waterproof boots, gloves, and non-cotton wear. Read a lot of stories of needing an ice axe, so I had one with me, and I only used it as a hiking pole in the steep sections and to practice self-arresting. Though not necessary, glad I had it with me. Had gaiters with me, didn’t use em. Had microspikes, and they were definitely necessary in some areas on the way up. The devil’s backbone was not bad at all, I didn’t bother putting my spikes on and I didn’t feel like I was in danger at any point. That couldve changed rapidly- given the wind. The summit itself was incredibly cold. Had my best winter gear on and was still cold.

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Michal Blaszkowski
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJanuary 11, 2021
Hiking

Going up via Baldy Bowl Trail. Microspikes needed only after Ski Hut and only for about a mile in the woods ( higher up the snow is already melted) . The top it was pretty windy but not that bad. Stronger wind going down via devil’s backbone trail but devil’s backbone itself totally passable (no microspikes needed and wind wasn’t strong). Beautiful views!

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beto macias
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Hiking
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Spacey LO
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HikingGreat!IcyRockySnow

1/9 counter clockwise. Extremely windy on devils backbone. Crampons are must.

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Seth Gallagher
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJanuary 5, 2021
Hiking

Great hike and not many people out when we went. There was a slide at some point that washed out part of the saddle trail- it was still passable, but a little sketchy.

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Joyce Lee
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJanuary 3, 2021
HikingSnow
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