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Old Mount Baldy Trail is a 11.3 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Mount Baldy, California that features a river and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail is primarily used for hiking, running, and bird watching and is best used from June until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Length 11.3 mi Elevation gain 5,793 ft Route type Out & Back

Dogs on leash

Hiking

Bird watching

Running

Forest

River

Views

Wildlife

Description
Waypoints (0)
Facilities
Getting There

This trail was made in the 1880's by Dr. Fairchild and Dell, who envisioned an observatory on the summit. The idea never materialized, but over the years the trail became popular and was used as the main route to travel to the summit from Mount Baldy Village. Trail begins at Mt Baldy Village and takes you through Bear Canyon, with its creek and rich canopy of Oak, Bay, Cedar, Fir and Pine. Bear Cyn emerges to open chaparral, which takes you to the ridge with an open Conifer forest and amazing views. You will climb the ridge for several miles and enjoy a treat of varied topography, shade, sun, and breathtaking views. After an incredible 6.5 miles and over 6000 feet of elevation gain, you will reach the Mount Baldy summit.

There is limited free parking in front of and across the street from the visitors center.

Take the 210 fwy, driving east, exit at Base Line Road. Turn left on Base Line, then right on Padua Avenue. Go to Mount Baldy Road and make a right, drive for about seven miles and you will reach Mount Baldy Village. The trail head is located just south of the visitors center in the Mount Baldy Church parking lot, across the street from the Mount Baldy Lodge.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (296)
Photos (1364)
Recordings (204)
Completed (593)
Hiker Norm
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarAugust 4, 2020
Hiking
View Hiker 's Recording
Oz Pena
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 27, 2020
Hiking

Fantastic and egregious hike to the summit (10k—34% of Mt Everest). It is all up hill once you start. The views are amazing. Once you summit, an enviable invigorating feeling with a blast of dopamine fills your body. It’s all about the summit. Keep going and don’t quit. Beginners to average hikers can expect to summit in 6-8 hours. The way down is twice as fast.

Emanuel Gasser
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarJuly 12, 2020
HikingNo shade

Did it on 7/12/20. Parked at icehouse canyon trailhead, as I was originally planning to do the whole loop (with 3 Ts). I started at 6am, and it took me approximately 3.5h to the summit, then walked down to ski station, decided to take the lift and walk the road down to the parking lot as the heat was too much for the whole loop. I’m not a fan. It’s very dry and there is barely any shade on the trail except for the first half hour or so (granted it was a very hot day). Plus it’s rather steep for almost the whole stretch - making it difficult to catch a breath and enjoy the view. As comparison - I did San Jacinto (via Idyllwild) and San Gorgonio recently and this hike was far less enjoyable in terms of vegetation, temperature, incline, water, views,...

Sam Sherman
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 12, 2020
Hiking

We hiked this route on 7/12 in preparation for Whitney. In the last four weeks, we've hiked San J (via Marion Mountain) and Wilson. This is by far the hardest hike. The heat was brutal and there is little shade. I can confirm what others have said: Bring a TON of water. 3 liters is not enough. We had to ration water on the way down. This hike is also 13 miles and not 11. The best way i can describe this hike is relentless. You start climbing and you rarely stop. It is a beast.

Terri Moothart
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 2, 2020
HikingRocky

So we planned on taking the short loop from the bottom of the ski park along devils backbone to the top of Mt. Baldy and then on our way back stop at the falls. However, we made the mistake of taking the old Mt. Baldy trail back. Old Mt. Baldy trail was so beautiful! So worth it! Now we just need to figure out a way back to our car... haha but we are currently having a cold beer at the lodge. 5 stars for the lodge!!

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Leanne Skirzynski
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJune 29, 2020
HikingBugs

Climbed Mt. Baldy on 6/27/2020. The trail is steep and relentless. It was very hot on the day that we went so check the weather and dress accordingly. In the heat, at least 4 liters of water was needed. Got to the trailhead around 7:30am and found parking no problem. Got off the mountain around 5pm. We stopped and had lunch and also hung out at the top for awhile. Someone at the top told our group that trail is the most challenging of all the routes up (and I definitely can believe it). No water sources along the trail except in the very beginning. Many beautiful views. Great training mountain.

Mark Baratti
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 29, 2020
Hiking

We saw this trail from the Baldy Bowl trail and knew we had to do it. Started the morning (6/24) by dropping a car off at Manker Flat parking and returning to the Bear Canyon trailhead to start the hike. Great weather, part cloudy and in the 60’s for the first couple hours. It has steep sections, more elevation gain than the other trails up to the Baldy summit. But the views are unmatched. Take your time. Take plenty of water. Most in our group of four took three liters or more and used it. We tend to drink a lot. Came across a rattlesnake about the 2.5 mile mark. Caught the whole incident on GoPro. No bites, but some elevated heart rates when that rattle started up. Others on the trail also told about snake sightings. Just keep aware and spacing between hikers helps. Crossing the Narrows is a great reward. From that point to the summit is most enjoyable. We hiked down the Devil’s Backbone and found the ski lift shut down. That added an extra 3 miles to our descent. Very good day. Excellent hike. Should be on any serious hiker’s to-do list.

Georgia Arnold
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 28, 2020
HikingNo shadeRocky

Pretty steep, very windy at the top, wear good shoes and bring a lot of water

View Georgia's Recording
Haley Braga
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 16, 2020
Hiking

This trail kicked my butt.... and I can’t wait to do it again! Woke up at 2am to meet up with friends and drive up from San Diego. Not a lot of people on this particular trail, but tons of people at the summit. The constant uphill was challenging, but fun! Beautiful views! One of my friends didn’t make it to the top because the altitude made her sick, but we will be back soon to do it again!

Reid Ehrlich-Quinn
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJune 13, 2020
HikingRocky

This was a gorgeous trail with absolutely incredible views. But I think you can break it into two - the initial trip up to bear flat, which is a pleasant and uphill but not too difficult hike that goes by a stream and has lots of shade. And then past bear flats up the mountain to the peak, which is an incredibly steep and long series of switchbacks composed of a lot of loose dirt and rocks. I think the hike to bear flats is wonderful and plan to return to do it all the time. The second part all the way to the peak was a bit much though - I clocked it as further than 6.5 miles (go figure) and at a certain point the view wasn’t getting any better but I just wanted to get to the top! Trekking poles are a MUST! Incredibly helpful going up and lifesaving going down. It was not overgrown and not too crowded either, if anything enough people that if something happened on the trail I could get help in a short time. That was on a Saturday. Overall I can’t give the trail a perfect rating but if you love heights, want a challenge, and are sure-footed then by all means go for it!!!

View Reid's Recording
Salvador Castillo
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMay 24, 2020
Hiking

Hiked ok 5/23. You can park right in front of the where you the “parking pass” but you don’t need one. Every time I go I park In the same spot and never get negative feedback. Trail had a few people but not a lot. At the top it was crowded. Snow is clearing up. It’s 6.4 to the too , round trip 3.1. 5 hours and 15 for me. IG: trail_goat

Mason Allen
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMay 23, 2020
Hiking

Parked across the the street from the Trout Pond, which made this hike 14 miles not 11. Found the route fun for all the different environments you go through on the way up, but the constant fight for footing amongst loose rock was a soul-sucking battle. I prefer the more direct route to the top of Baldy that passes by the ski hut. This is good training though for anyone attempting Whitney. Almost the same amount of elevation gain in half the mileage (albeit at lower elevation). A few patches of snow on the north facing exposure. Had no poles or microspikes. Up and back in 6 hours.

Jessie Helbacka-Peterson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMay 22, 2020
Hiking

Beautiful hike! Highly suggest trekking poles & good boots- lots of loose gravel makes for a tricky descent. Beautiful views- plan for the whole day

View Jessie's Recording
Alex Grosse
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMay 22, 2020
Hiking

This trail is amazing. It’s pretty rigorous and definitely hard. You really have to earn the pay off. I started from the visitor center parking lot and made it to the peak in about 5.5 hours. I took a fair amount of breaks and photo opportunities. Also had to adjust to the elevation around 7500’ (I live at like 60’ above sea level). I’m very happy I can say I’ve completed this trail but I’m not itching to do it again too soon. The trail is well maintained and the views are pretty spectacular. I ran into three guys who weren’t really prepared and 2 of them went ahead of their friend. I cannot stress this enough - don’t leave someone out of the group if they’re not physically fit enough to continue. People die at Baldy, albeit during winter, but this is not only rude but puts search-and-rescue people at risk if the three guys weren’t able to reconnect anywhere on the trail... I’m not even sure what happened to them. Stay safe and be responsible

View Alex's Recording
Salvador Castillo
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMay 17, 2020
Running

Really good trail! I went trail Running here and it took me just under 3 hours to get to the top. It’s really steep on some parts. I used the trekking polls. Bring lots of water. IG: trail_goat

Jake Connell
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMay 12, 2020
Hiking

Hiked 5/12/20 and made it to the top! Would highly recommend crampons and trekking poles for the last 2 miles. The snow up there is still pretty deep.

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JESSICA CHAVEZ
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarOctober 10, 2019
Hiking

Like most other reviews indicate, this trail gains elevation super quickly and is definitely a quad and glute workout. I parked in the lot across from the Mt. Baldy Trout Pool as advised by the Mt. Baldy Visitor Center staff and had no issues. It's less than a 10 minute walk to the church parking lot or a couple minute's jog. In that lot there is a porta-john, a picnic table, and I believe a trash can/bear bin as well. The trail seems well maintained, some bushwhacking in a few areas around bear flats but nothing to be concerned with. Pretty straight forward, can't really lose the trail, up up and up for sure. I would suggest going down another route especially if you have bad knees or like pretty toes. Might not be so bad if you walk down slowly. I tape my feet for running to alleviate blisters and thought I would be able to run back down but quickly changed that idea as the descent is pretty steep, and I wanted to return alive. Banged up my toes a little but that's my fault for wearing trail runners (older altra lone peaks 2.5) instead of proper hiking boots, definitely no bueno for this trail. The narrows is a cool spot. Good conditioning/training hike for longer and steeper hikes, as others have mentioned like for Mt. Whitney and C2C, or just a good ol test of endurance. Signal/cell coverage is spotty on the trail once out about 6000ft. I did this solo and met one other person going up on a Thursday, there were a few folks at the summit that were going down the Manker flats way. I clocked in at 13.5 miles from the trout pool spot (up and down same trail) in just under 8 hours from car to car and had 45 minutes snack/phone call breaks. I'd do it again....once my toes heal.

Denise Rodriguez
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 6, 2019
Hiking

After summiting Baldy via Baldy Bowl & Devil’s Backbone many times, it was time to try this trail for more of a challenge. It did not disappoint. Wouldn’t recommend this trail for newbies or beginners. You’ve gotta have some experience & endurance to summit this way. It’s steep all the way, bring shoes with good traction especially for the descent as there are more than a few areas with loose rock and if you slip, you could end up poked by yucca (there’s a bit of overgrowth in some areas). Hiking along the ridge that seemed to lead to West Baldy was my favorite part :)

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Brett Sanner
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarOctober 6, 2019
HikingBugsNo shadeOver grown

Up, up, up! You’ll ascend roughly 6000 feet in 6.5 miles (total mileage is closer to 13). It’s a steep and relentless climb. I prefer the approaches from the Ski Hut or Devil’s Backbone in terms of beauty, but this is still a great and challenging hike. This is a good training run for Whitney or Cactus-to-Clouds.

Cathy Ungar
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 28, 2019
Hiking

Add 3.2 to miles. Battery ran out at 6.6 miles. So total miles are 9.8. Turned around at 4.9 miles because so late and cold wind. Hikers coming down from top said wind bad on top. Crossing bare Saddle was very scary.

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Sara Norris
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 11, 2019

Always a favorite!

Rebecca Foster
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 6, 2019
HikingBugsNo shade

This was really hard! I was alone on a Friday and never saw a single person. I was 1.4 away from the summit when I decided to turn back as it was windy and exposed, and I felt it wasn’t smart to be so isolated. The bugs are awful the first 1.5 and last 1.5 miles. Literally swarmed with hundreds of gnats. The trail is beautiful but steep and tough.

Mark Chernyshev
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 4, 2019
HikingNo shade
Hike On
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 2, 2019
Hiking

Terrific workout glad I was wearing my bug net!

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Candace Dolan
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 17, 2019
Hiking

Ok with tennis shoes but hiking shoes worthy

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Chris W.
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 9, 2019
HikingBugsRocky
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