Explore the most popular historic site trails in California with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

No walk in the park with this hike. I could compare it with El Cajon minus the length. This is a butt kicker and you won’t get many flat areas in this hike. It was foggy and cool which it made it comfortable hiking. Can’t imagine doing this hike in hot weather. Hot shot firefighters train here. RESPECT!!!! Great view from top. I bet it would have been better in clear day but nonetheless, epic.

Great hike! The tram up is amazing and the hike itself I loved. All Trails map was on point

It was a great trail run. Training for a Bryce half marathon, Baldy has the elevation gain for the ultimate training.

Beautiful trail, easy hike.

Awesome! Tram is well worth the money. Great scenery and summit views

VERY steep! Definitely a tough peak. We went up the Baldy Bowl/Ski Hut route and down Devil's Backbone - I'm glad we did the loop, but it's not terribly well-marked. When you reach the ski school at the bottom of Devil's Backbone (where the ski lift runs on the weekends), you have to find a small road that heads down in the same direction as the ski lift. You then have to stay to the right a couple of times to stay on the road. A long day (about 8 hours) but a great way to get away from the city!

Warning to parents hiking with kids under 13.... kids *may* be susceptible to altitude sickness. If your child starts getting a mild headache on the way up....go back down ASAP and summit another day. The mountain can wait. My 12 year old (very fit) son started with a headache 500 feet from the summit, then vomited immediately (4x). Had to rush him off the mountain to the tram parking lot. Ah...the life of SoCal 'flatlanders'.

4 days ago

NOT FOR BABIES/TODDLERS! We meant to take Innsdale Dr but ended up here (my fault). It has a very steep and narrow incline - super difficult babywearing a 2 yr old and 3 month old. I was also 3 months postpartum and it was a big workout for me - had to stop regularly on the way up. Still giving it 5 stars because it’s an intense workout and the view is great. We didn’t attempt to go over to the sign because of the kids, recommend Innsdale drive trailhead if you want to see the sign really well.

Beautiful and very easy hike. My 11 and 9 year olds were able to hike it without a problem. Cute little museum for the kids. There were other trails to test your strength and abilities, but the main trail itself was easy.

Incredible hike and change of scenery along the way. The tram ride up was well worth the money as well, very cool experience shooting up through the mountains. In terms of difficulty, I’d say it’s on average a moderate hike compared to most 10-12 mile hikes of similar elevation gain, nothing technical and never need to use hands/knees, very manageable if conditioned for this distance. Go on a clear day because the views at the summit are beautiful and 360.

It was my very first summit hike. Loved it! Will be back again.

We are coming back soon!❤

Nice trail kinda short for Backpacking
but we went to the summit back down the other side to little round valley fill up water at round valley last chance for water

Thanks to Mike Siders‘ review, I decided to go on this great hike, as I’m in the area for a business trip. I’m glad I did this hike - a great experience in such a beautiful area.

This hike is not for the faint of heart, it was tough! but I'm very glad I completed it. Next time I'm going counter clockwise and take the lift from the top down, my knees are in so much pain from all the pounding on the way down. I'm so grateful for the Alltrails app map, I took a wrong turn and would've gotten lost had it not been for the map. This map makes it so much safer for someone with little experience in hiking. I'm very grateful to its creators.

7 days ago

I definitely recommend this loop! Only reason it’s not 5 stars is because about 25% of it is along roads, so you’re hearing cars instead of the wild.

I did this loop over 2 days, camped at Waterman. I started from Portola National Forrest, which by the time you get on the loop trail probably adds at least a mile. Totally I’d say was 32 miles and I perfect split 16 and 16 each day from where I started. Note: where this map says start/finish, you can’t park! So unless you’re being dropped off you can only park at one of the 3 national forest.

Portola was a good place to start, less busy and easy to park at than the others. I hoped on the trail and headed towards Slate creek. This is a nicely little couple mile section to get the legs warm. After you pass the slate creek campground, you take on the steepest terrain this whole loops overs. It’s a good hour of continuous steep terrain, great to tackle your first day. After that is rolling hills and a since change of scenery from tree covered areas, to open grass pastures and hilltop views almost to the ocean. The last couple miles to Waterman you’re on the Skyline to Sea trail along the road. At one point you get into some rocky areas with some incredible views.

Waterman Camp: permits required, but didn’t run into any rangers along the way, and there was plenty of room at the site. Running water, which was the only place I refilled. There’s a stream by Slate creek, but not much else for water from Portola to Waterman. Only downside is you can hear the road from the campsite, and those windy roads attract lots of people racing their cars and bikes.

Day 2: I was pretty sore from the 16 miles on day one. This was by far my longest hike yet (prepping for Whitney). Again, another day of rolling hills and great change of scenery. You get into more of the redwoods in this section. I woke up to rain that morning and hiked the first two hours in a nice steady mist, but there was a majestic layer of fog throughout the forest. From Waterman back to Portola where my car was, I think I saw 2 people on the trail and both were within the first 30 minutes of leaving camp. This is what I came for! You’re still along roads, a lot of this section is along the road going into Big Basin, but it’s beautiful none the less.

I was pretty beat up towards the end, I probably should have just used my running shoes, but this was an awesome 2 day hike. The elevation gain throughout is pretty substantial and the miles will test you. I ran the SF marathon a couple years ago (sub 4 hours)... and I think this loop was tougher for me both mentally and physically! I did this loop for the workout and that’s what I got! What’s nice is all 3 campgrounds are spaced out almost exactly by 10 miles, so it’d be easy to split this up over 3 days as well.

This trail was amazing. Should not be rated as hard, as the incline was very minimal and gradual over the whole hike. Beautiful views and even got to see some snow at the top! I highly suggest this hike, one of the coolest ones I've done in Southern California!

trail running
9 days ago

Great trail run for ultra training. The old creek section is super steep and I had to hike more then run for the first 2 ish miles but once you reach the top of Old Creek and get on the fire roads the rest is runable. It took me about 2 hours and 50 minutes but I paused my watch at the top for a bit a took in the views. There were horrible gnats as mentioned but it was off and on for short bouts of time. Will definitely do it again.

Nice walking trail with beautiful water views. It's all uphill on the way back. I found stopping to read the information signs helpful for rest breaks as needed. Note, it does cost $15 to access the park via car but the pass is good for 1 week.

scenic driving
10 days ago

One of the best views. I drive this route up to Mammoth.

Good trail. Cool history

Flat trail along the bay. Great for an afternoon stroll.

12 days ago

The trailhead can be a little tricky to find (it’s in the back of a neighborhood), but once you do you’re in for treat. The trail is well defined, the scenery is lush, and the sense of scale is incredible.

I have done this hike on three separate occasions and have enjoyed every single one. The first two times every building was left intact and we got to explore them fully, while the third time one of them was torn out (I believe in was the machine shed).

Based on my experience it gets a five, however, if the buildings have truly been torn out (I haven’t found current article claiming one way or the other), it would drop down to a three.

trail running
13 days ago

Lots of hills and great scenery. Loved it! Cant wait for the artwork.

13 days ago

Did this on may 1st with fog, fog, fog: no views. But wonderfully quiet and cool. Took side trips to Echo Mountain, Muir Peak and Mt Lowe for a combined 17 mi hike. very nice. The actual trail is well maintained, well indicated and not all that hard.
All the historical signs and indicators made the trail a tad too domesticated for my taste.

This was a very challenging hike but worth it! We went up and stopped at the ski hut first as our first break and then continued on to the top. The trail after the ski hut continued to incline the farther along we went. Made it to the top and went down devils backbone. It’s a more narrow trail but I didn’t think it was too scary, just watch your step. This was overall a wonderful hike and I will definitely do it again!

It's a nice peak, worth hiking. For a real butt kicker, do the cactus-to-cloud trail which starts all the way down in palm spring. One of the hardest day hike. I'd say that just doing the summit is a bit dull - compared to other hikes in the world. I don't know much more what is around there, but the way from the tram to the peak isn't all that exciting. But the view on top is nice.

I enjoyed this hike so much. it's sad that they tore it down.

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