Hiking Mount Baldy (San Antonio) PeakFor Southern California hikers looking to take their hiking game to the next level, the trail leading up to Mount Baldy is a must. There are a few different routes to get up the peak. For the sake of this article I’ll be talking about the loop trail that begins at the Manker Flat Campground. This moderately trafficked trail offers incredible views of the deserts to the east, cities and the ocean to the west, and the rest of the tallest mountain ranges in Southern California. Hiking this trail is a great way to view sub-alpine environments close to home. Mount Baldy also gives people the chance to see wildlife like cougars, black bears, bighorn sheep, and deer. The real name for Mount Baldy is actually Mount San Antonio. The name was given to the mountain by a local rancher who named it after Saint Anthony of Padua who lived during the thirteenth century. However, the appearance of the peak from the City of Los Angeles is bare and essentially, bald. Therefore, locals nicknamed the peak Mount Baldy. The name has stuck despite its actual name. In addition to the opportunities for spotting wildlife, the peak can be a winter playground and is often topped with snow and/or ice during the winter months. During the spring and summer a multitude of wildflowers can be found along the lower elevations. As the elevation climbs, the landscape is covered in conifer pine forests. Near the peaks wind twisted pine and manzanita line the landscape before the peak turns into barren shale, sub-alpine surface.
Mount Baldy Ski HutDuring the winter, the peak is often covered in snow. There is a ski resort on the southeast side of the mountain and also a ski hut on the south slope. The ski hut sits at 8,300 feet elevation along this trail. It has a fully equipped kitchen, dishes, cookware, running water, and solar lighting. There is enough sleeping room for sixteen people. Some people use this as a camping site or to break up the hike to not do all ten plus miles in one day. This hut is quite popular, but if you want to consider staying here, check with the Sierra Club who operates this hut for more information. On A Personal Note: The ski resort operates lifts throughout the year and can cut about 2,000 feet of elevation gain off the hike. However, some people consider taking the ski lift up as cheating. This trail is a loop trail and many sites recommend hiking this loop counter-clockwise. Hiking counter clockwise will take you up the access road to the ski resort and lead you across the Devil’s Backbone up to the peak. Hiking this way is a longer way up but a steadier elevation gain. I hiked this trail clockwise. Hiking Mount Baldy in a clockwise fashion is a shorter way up to the peak and takes you passed the ski hut and by the Baldy Bowl first. The trail will then lead across the Devil’s Backbone and down to the ski lifts. If you’d like you can take the ski lifts down from here. Have you hiked this trail recently? Please updates and/or pictures in the comments section below.
- Overall Difficulty: 90% 90%
- Overall Views: 100% 100%
Mount Baldy via Manker Flat Trail Quick Facts:
- Elevation: 10,064 feet.
- Elevation Gain: 4,117 feet.
- Estimated Distance: 9.2 miles.
- My Actual Distance: 10.0 miles.
- Estimated Time: 6-8 hours.
- My Time: 5 hours 52 minutes (moving), 7 hours 16 minutes total.
Mount Baldy via Manker Flat Trail Directions:
Mount Baldy Peak Pictures:
Who Mount Baldy Peak Is For:
Best Time Of Year To Hike Mount Mount Baldy:
Mount Baldy via Manker Flat Trail Conditions:
The trail leading up to the peak of Mount Baldy is very well maintained. This area gets a lot of use and is maintained through volunteers and the National Forest Service. The bottom portion of this trail has some shade from the conifer forests and oak trees but it does open up the higher the elevation gets. Near the top the trail is completely exposed and you’ll need to be prepared for every kind of weather condition. You can start the trail in a clockwise or counter-clockwise fashion. I recommend doing the trail in a clockwise way. It’s steeper but a shorter distance to the top. The other way will be longer and a more gradual elevation gain along the loop. Taking the trail counter-clockwise will take you up near the ski-lifts. Whichever direction you start, they both start on service roads. The service roads eventually give way to shake dirt paths. As you get to the top the trail is made up of of both dirt and very small rocks.