Hiking Mt Baldy Via Devil’s Backbone Trail
Hiking Mount Baldy (Mount San Antonio) will bring you to the highest point in Los Angeles County, 10,064ft. It’s located in the San Gabriel Mountains, northeast of downtown Los Angeles. If you get lucky and it’s a really clear day, you can see the Pacific Ocean to one side and the Mojave Desert to the other. We hiked this via the Devil’s Backbone Trail, but there is also the Loop Trail and the Baldy (Ski Hut) Trail.
Trailhead location: Trailhead is just past the Manker Campground
Loop Trail Hike: 9-14 miles
Elevation change: 3,990ft
Route: Out and back
Mt Baldy Via Devil’s Backbone Trail
Head out early in the morning to do this hike to make sure you can secure parking and to beat the crowds on the trail. Also it’s a long hike so you’ll need time to make sure you can knock it out in one day.
Tip: Skip this trail in the winter if you’re inexperienced, it gets heavy snow.
There’s a ski lift you can catch that operates on weekends during the summer, but bring your wallet because it’s $10 each way. This will shorten the hike and get you past an uninteresting section of the hike. You can choose to take it both ways, or just for one section on the way up or down. We took it up since the entire hike can be a grueling 14 miles.
The day we hiked this trail it started off as pretty warm and sunny, then got really cold and windy at the top. Make sure you take plenty of layers, water, and snacks. Also remember that as you get higher in altitude, the air gets thinner. You can experience shortness of breathe more easily as higher altitudes.
It was pretty foggy all along the way, then when we got to the top we were above the mist and clouds.
Before you head back down the route or the ski lift, there’s a restaurant called Top of the Notch. This is be a great place to stop at the end of the long day of hiking for a casual burger and beer. To me, there’s nothing like a solid meal and a cold one after a good hike.
Do you have any other tips or advice about hiking this trail? Leave them in the comments below.