Mt. San Antonio & Mt. Baldy Notch Trail

HARD 383 reviews
#3 of 136 trails in

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.

DISTANCE
9.5 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
4114 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

dog friendly

birding

hiking

nature trips

snowshoeing

walking

forest

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

snow

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.

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hiking
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hiking
4 days ago

Love this hike.... It also has a beautiful breathtaking view!!! It took me 7 hours up to the summit and down

5 days ago

Loved it, hard downhill

hiking
5 days ago

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hiking
8 days ago

hiking
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hiking
10 days ago

I can't recommend this hike enough. I hiked up the backbone and down the Baldy Bowl, but no matter which way you go, the views are spectacular.

hiking
10 days ago

This hike will kick your butt.

We started at the trail head and walked up the fire road until it turned into a dirt road checked out the San Antonio falls which were gorgeous and flowing. I thought 3 sisters was cool but this waterfall had about 4 or 5 tiers to it. Then we walked along to follow the ski lifts up to the ski lodge. Took a lil break to check out the views (and have a mimosa... they start serving as early as 6am) then started up the steep ascent to Devils backbone. You need to follow under ski lift 4 to reach it. Apart from being a bit windy the conditions were good, no snow or ice. Its def sketchy on some parts of the back bone …narrow trail with vertical drops on either side. There is no way I would have done this had there been snow on the trail now it makes sense to hear how people have slipped and been killed!!

Towards the summit there were patches of snow that you need to hike through but not too much. Guess this was my first time experiencing high altitude so I slowed down a lot! Finally reached the summit took a break then headed down the Mount Baldy Bowl trail. This is STEEP!!! Most people were coming up this and then going down via the Devils back bone (opposite to us). Going down the trail is full of loose gravel so with every step we took we slid a little and it’s so steep at some points I thought it may have been easier to slide down on my butt. I found this quite challenging. Descending this route took a toll on my knees and towards the end was never ending. Was glad I had my hiking poles to use as stabilizers!

hiking
11 days ago

One of my favorite. Always discover something new

12 days ago

12 days ago

backpacking
12 days ago

Put 80 lbs on my back. Did devils backbone in February. This is not something you should try if you don't know how to handle snow and ice. But it's absolutely incredible to see the ice covered view, worth every second. Got a little wind burned cause I didn't wear goggles. Whoops.

Did it again recently, 20 lbs on my back, did the ski lodge route. Ran the whole way up to the lodge and took it slow from lodge to summit.

I have hiked every hike there is to hike in San Diego and this is by far one of the most spectacular experiences. Extremely humbling and moving to be in the presence of such a beautiful mountain. Makes me feel like a bald eagle. Day hikes like these are priceless. And the elevation is perfect. You get naturally high but it's not grueling.

After Mt Rainier and San Jicinto this is in my opinion the third coolest hike on the entire west coast.

hiking
18 days ago

We summited Baldy on 5/6 while staying just ahead of the storm. Mountain forecast website gave us a totally accurate forecast by telling us that rain wouldn't start until after 11:00. The forecast kept many others away so we shared this trail with very few hikers. We landed on the summit with blue skies then hiked across Devils Backbone with gale force winds as the storm was just coming through. Not for the feint of heart, but it was all very safe. There were just a few patches of snow, microspikes were not required. Lots of scree so do wear sturdy boots. Great day to summit!