Mount Baldy via Devil's Backbone Trail

HARD 369 reviews
#6 of 196 trails in

Mount Baldy via Devil's Backbone Trail is a 12.5 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Mt Baldy, California that offers the chance to see wildlife and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
12.5 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
3956 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

backpacking

birding

camping

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

views

wildlife

Taking the 10 - 60- or 210 fwy exit Mountain Ave. and head north. Mountain Ave. turns into Mt. Baldy Road, take this road all the way up to Manker Flats Road, located about 100 yards past Manker Flats campground on the west side on the street.

awesome

hiking
7 days ago

Went on this trail yesterday and it was brutal! I did love it because it gave great views. I was above the cloud bank, seeing Catalina Island, and was even able to see deer! I did get aggravated during the last half a mile/mile because it was so steep and going down, it was easy to fall if you didn't have poles. I would suggest a lot of sunscreen because a lot of it isn't in the shade and the sun will hit you everywhere. It's extremely rewarding & you feel great once you get to the top so I definitely encourage anyone to try it! I will say that it is way beyond 12.5 miles- the health app I have clocked it in as 14-15. I know, I know, it's only 2 miles but once you get to a certain point those two miles will seem like 5 and you'll be clawing to the bottom.
**Park or camp out at Manker Flats and you just have to walk about 1/4th a mile to the trail head.

hiking
14 days ago

did this trail for the first time and wow what a butt kicker, but I loved it!!! Left Manker Flats at 7:10 am and got back at 1:50 PM. I was not prepared for the elevation about 8000ft and I had to stop alot to rest. At the notch I was sure which way to go so I took the trail on the left but took the trail on the right on the way down. The views along the way were awesome and the weather couldn't have been better. Unfortunately I had to call it quits at the switchbacks, my legs were done and the sight of that last climb crushed me haha. better safe than sorry. I made it back to the nothx and was so drained I was going to take the chairlift back down unti I found out it was $15!!! so i made the journey down very slowly. I will definitely be doing this hike again and hopefully make it to the summit next time.

hiking
1 month ago

very good hike. Started at Manker Flat and hiked up the paved road to the falls. Very cloudy and could barely see them but oh well. That was not the purpose of the trip. Hiked up the gravel road and decided to do the Notch first, followed by the Backbone, and finally down Baldy bowl. Glad i did as Baldy bowl is pretty steep in places and very slick! Would rather hike down that than up it! Weather was pleasantly cool. Started with a short sleeve shirt, hoodie and coat. Lost the coat after about 10 min. Kept hoodie on entire day but could have easily taken it off and been fine until you get near the top. was definitely chilly up there. Lots of people up top. Maybe around 80. Overall it's a great hike and worth going to the top. views are amazing.

1 month ago

Great trail

hiking
1 month ago

Love this hike. Gives a 360 view of LA County, as it is the highest point in the county at over 10Kft. Lots of elevation gain. A lodge/restaurant about half way point. Very steep and narrow path about 1 mile past lodge. You can see down to Catalina Island & Mt. Whitney on a clear day!

Devils backbone up, baldy bowl trail down. Epic 360 views at the summit. Will absolutely hike this trail again in the future.

1 month ago

There a few ways to get up to the summit but we did the Devils Backbone up and back. Start very early because it’s a long hike! It’s a little under 12 miles but the elevation makes it a little tough at the top. Once we got past the sky lift area it felt a little harder to hike but it’s not too bad. It’s not very clearly marked as far as trails go but there are plenty of people there so you can just follow them. It’s definitely an accomplishment at the top so you will be glad you did it!

hiking
1 month ago

I arrived at Manker Flats at 6:15am and met up with my group. We began the hike following the ski lift up toward the Notch restaurant. We took a break at Notch Restaurant and enjoyed the views before we began the ascent toward Devil’s Backbone. I LOVED Devil’s Backbone. It is challenging and scary but so much fun! If you get Vertigo, take precaution when hiking Devil's Backbone.

There was much celebration once we made it to the summit. It was a hikers party on top of the mountain. The weather was perfect and the wind was light. We got very lucky because as we were going up the trail, hikers coming down said it was cold and windy. It literally died down and was very comfortable when we arrived. Once we ate our lunch we decided to take Baldy Bowl Trail back down. It is steeper and very rocky. OMG!!!! I HATED THIS TRAIL!! It was awful. The rocks were very loose for much the descent especially the section from the peak to the bowl. We were sliding down the mountain and I think everyone in our group fell at least once.

Once we arrived at the old Ski Hut, we took a short break. Shortly past the ski hut we came to an old land/rock slide with large rocks and boulders. It was pretty cool and not too hard hiking over the large rocks, but then I felt a sharp pain on the outside of my left knee. It got worse and worse to the point that I felt shooting pain up to my hip. A guy hiking past us was a first responder and stopped to check on me. He determined that it was just strained. I took it slow, steady and limped the rest of the way down. I blame this on the loose rocks. Well I made it off the mountain but I will NEVER hike the Baldy Bowl trail again.

With that said, I will hike Baldy again, but I will only hike Devil’s Backbone. This hike took us 9.5 hours on the mountain and over 10 miles. Oh and there was a dude riding down the mountain on a Unicycle with a beer in one hand. We also saw some cute little chipmunks on the summit and a bighorn sheep almost at the top of the summit.

hiking
1 month ago

Great hike. Last 2 miles is hardest. Really hot until the peak. Did hike april 25th. it's Baldy, a right of passage for anyone hiking in Southern California.

2 months ago

April 14 up the backbone and down ski hut, no snow on the trail.

2 months ago

beautiful scenery. be prepared for the long haul!

3 months ago

this is a great hike, I've been up there multiple times and it never disappoints.

hiking
3 months ago

4 months ago

any one down to go early morning tomorrow 02/20/18

hiking
4 months ago

It’s awesome. It takes 8 hours for the round trip. Get your energy bar. You need it.

hiking
4 months ago

Hiked here on leg on Mt. Baldy hike. It would be great as a standalone hike to the summit, and is definitely the scenic route.

4 months ago

This hike was great. Definitely take layers as the wind will punish you even in the sunny areas. The trail was clear this past Sunday but there were patches of snow at the summit. The views were incredible.

hiking
4 months ago

2nd summit in over a month but this time decided to take my Dad. Took the trail from Baldy Notch from the ski lift. Perfect day to summit. Little snow after Devils Backbone and a little bit more on the summit. Overall an amazing time with my Dad. WAY easier this way for me instead of doing the loop.

hiking
4 months ago

2/4/18. Great hike today. Went up and down Devils backbone. The views are amazing. Hardly any wind. No snow until the very top. Take lots of water. The map was very accurate.

hiking
4 months ago

Beautiful and scenic trail, with amazing views. Can be moderate to quite difficult at some points but definitely worth the effort.

hiking
4 months ago

Did this trail 1/27/18. Took the trail from the parking lot of the ski lift up to the top of the notch then up devils backbone. The weather was perfect. Very little snow except maybe the last half mile or so. Did it in just regular hiking boots, no poles or spikes. Though the poles would have been nice for the descent through the snow. The wind was absolutely the worst part of this hike. The last .7 miles there were times that the wind was so strong I had to literally lay on the ground to keep from being blow over. Easily 45-50mph winds were no joke. Lots of people turned around at this point. Was it worth it? Absolutely. Beautiful hike. Not for the faint hearted.

5 months ago

Did this hike 1/6/18.. started from Baldy Bowl trail down Devils Backbone. Weather was perfect... no snow and little wind at the summit. Devils Backbone is not as scary as the reviews. There are some narrow parts but well worth the scenery.

5 months ago

Absolutely loved this trail! It is one of my favorite hikes! It is challenging and exciting. The ridge (Devil’s Backbone) can be a bit challenging sometimes due to high winds (be careful and take it very slow in these conditions), but that adds to the exciting experience of the trail. Descending the Ski Hut trail in cloudy conditions is absolutely amazing! The mountain comes alive in a myriad of colors while the deer, squirrels, and other wildlife come out to feast on the banquet that the mountain has to offer! I highly recommend this hike!

hiking
5 months ago

On a windy day, devils backbone must be pure terror. Today was very calm and I still felt a little sketchy at parts where the trail narrowed to 1-2 ft.

The payoff at the top is simply amazing. Well worth the effort. I didn’t take the lift up or down, and I’m glad I didn’t. The views from the road are great and I didn’t want to miss them. On my way down I met some hikers who told me that the bowl trail is quicker on the way down. Will have to try that next time.

5 months ago

Did this trail on Nov. 26. Definitely a tough one. We ascended via Mt. Baldy Bowl Trail. And descended via Devil’s backbone and down the ski lift area. We clocked in about 13 miles. There are lots of rocks here and at times up the trail I felt I wasn’t moving so it made it tougher. Trekking poles are highly recommended. And it was super cold and windy at the top. Great views at the top all rocks at peak. Fun hike...proper hiking shoes and layering is recommended..and lots of water.

hiking
5 months ago

I’ve only done this hike twice so far but it is without a doubt my favorite. In the summertime there’s a scenic view around every corner and the winter brings the punishing cold right to you. Word of warning if you hike with snow, watch your footing!

5 months ago

One of my favorite trail, with awesome views at the top.

hiking
6 months ago

hiking
7 months ago

Such an amazing hike! It was extremely difficult but definitely doable and worth it! A hat, warm jacket, and lots of water are necessities! When you get to the peak you will definitely need layers and gloves as it is extremely cold and windy. Other than that, it's an incredibly rewarding hike with beautiful scenery!

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