Mt. San Antonio & Mt. Baldy Notch Trail is a 9.5 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Mt 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.
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. Another hiker on the Notch recommended the far right path to have a more gentle incline, but I didn't take it, so I can't tell you how it is. 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. I had to count my steps just to get up to the top (I might've also been hit with some mild altitude sickness, so be ready for that at 9-10,000'). 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, and make sure to check when the ski lift closes, if you plan to take it back.
Be careful of the snow and ice. If you do not have clamp ons, hiking sticks/poles, do not go past the ski hut (if you choose that trail). If you do not have this gear, start early in the morning because the snow turns icy once the sun goes behind the mountain. Remember what comes up must come down and coming down steep inclines in snow while unprepared is difficult at best. Make sure to have some sort of whistle or other tool to get attention if you do encounter problems. It's a beautiful hike and definitely worth it in the end.
facing a big storm at the top..
one of a kind descending..
Hiking in the snow is definitely tiring but your in for some nice views
Hard hike but worth it.
Great trail with awesome views, however the trail is difficult to follow at times. Be sure to check out a map before starting.
Quite tough but well worth it. Make sure to be well prepared and well equipped. Every year several ppl need to be rescued in the Mt. Baldy Area. Last year 2 hikers fell to their death of Devils Backbone.
This was a very tough hike, but they payoff was worth it. Despite having to scrounge for parking, dealing with crowds at the summit, and having to "wait in line" to get a pic of the Mt. Baldy sign at the top, the satisfaction from having accomplished this hike was awesome. The views were great, but the highlight to me was just knowing that we pulled it off.
Great views and great challenge. Baldy Bowl trail is icy on parts
This is a great training hike, steady climbs and enough altitude to challenge anyone.
wow, for a first time, it was amazing, the small watterfall with the combination of the trail was amazing and perfect. Hard but way worth it for a first time