10.4 miles, Full day
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.
Check with the Baldy Village ranger station (909-982-2829) for the latest conditions. Avoid hiking the Devil's Backbone or Baldy Bowl trail when they are covered in snow, unless you are trained and equipped with crampons and ice axe.
You can do this hike in reverse, for a strenuous, really steep climb up with a more gradual return.
Over half of this trail is partially or fully-exposed to the sun. Be prepared with proper sun protection (wide-brimmed hat, sunscreen, etc.).
No permits are required for day hikes on these trails.