Hike Mt. San Antonio (Mt. Baldy) via the Ski Hut Trail

Manker Flat Parking Area

Enjoy this total and absolute change of pace from the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles. You'll need an adventure pass. This challenging hike will lead past a waterfall, a natural spring and amazing scenery. Make sure your gear is in good condition before you go.

Mt. San Antonio, or Mt. Baldy as it is known locally, is one of the cans of the challenging "six-pack of peaks" in Southern California.

For this one, start before the Manker campground and head up the fire road. This is known as the "Baldy Bowl or Ski-Hut Trail". You'll see some cabins on your left and will approach a steadily flowing, spring-fed waterfall. Take the turn, and then hit the dirt road, and turn left to go up the Sierra Club Ski-Hut Trail. Keep going up, and break at the hut for lunch. After your break, strike out and walk across the trail to another ascent, and walk up the switchbacks and towards the next ridge and keep going up.

There are a few slightly different routes you can take to get to the top (some shorter/ some longer) as well as jumping on the ski lifts to cut the elevation gain and mileage significantly, so know your limits and what you can handle. Note, this hike, because of its strenuousness and altitude, are not good for people who get altitude sick in airplanes, or who have anxiety. These two factors could cause significant delay to your trip and may create a dangerous situation for everyone.

Once you get to the top, catch your breath, as the view will take it away, and head down the Devil's Backbone to the ski lifts and lodge. At the lodge, you can replenish your water and rest your feet and either take the lifts down, or walk down another mile or so.

When you descend you head eastward and take the Devil's Backbone trail and across a semi-sketchy ridge known as the Baldy Notch. Past this is a dirt road (next to the ski lift) that will take all the way back down passing San Antonio Falls and back to the trailhead.

Pack List

  • Water (3 liters minimum)
  • Food (jerky, trail mix, endurance nutrition, bring it all)
  • Necessary medications (diabetes, Epi pen, other medications)
  • Layers
  • Hat
  • Sunglasses
  • SUNSCREEN
  • Strong Pack (internal or external frame)
  • Flashlight and glow-sticks (chem lights) for emergencies
  • First aid kit
  • Binoculars and a good camera (optional)
Show More
RT Distance 11.3 Miles
Elevation Gain 3900 Feet
Activities Photography, Hiking
Skill Level Intermediate
Season Spring, Summer, Autumn
Trail Type Out-and-Back
Features
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Food Nearby
Forest
Scenic
Waterfall

Reviews

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Overall rating: 

Epic Hike

This hike is one of the most challenging hikes I have done, But it’s worth it.

Mt. Baldy in Spring

This trail was awesome in spring! I went up via the Devil's Backbone trail which was an awesome hike right through the ridge. At an elevation of about 8500', the clouds and the fog start rolling in, giving it an eerie but amazing feel. The incline right before you peak is quite steep and on loose rocks which can be a bit difficult but just take it slow. I would totally recommend doing this hike in spring. In addition, the parking off the road near Manker campground is free if there is no snow present (if there is snow, you need an adventure pass). The trail head is right off that road.

Challenging Yet Rewarding

Mt. Baldy is one of the most challenging hikes i've ever done, and my first ever peak out of the 6 pack of peaks in the Los Angeles area. I highly recommend doing this hike early, so you'll have plenty of time to rest in between. Be careful when doing this hike during winter, since there have been deaths caused by slipping on the icy trail.


Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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