Mount Baldy Hiking Trail | Mt. San Antonio Los Angeles Hike
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Mt. San Antonio, most commonly known as Mt. Baldy, is a towering 10,068 foot mountain located in the heart of the Southern California. Hiking to the summit entails conquering Devil’s Backbone, a narrow 1.5 single track trail with jagged cliff drops and gaining over 3,000 feet of elevation to the 10,000+ foot peak.
To start the adventure, drive to the basin of the Mt. Baldy ski slopes and start along the car dirt fire trail that goes up to the Mt. Baldy lodge. The fire trail is a steady switchback trail, which is well marked and travelled. After ascending up the fire trail and continuing past the ski lodge, continue for 2-3 miles, until you reach the Devil’s Backbone trail. When you reach the Devil’s Backbone trail, use extreme caution as there are steep ledges and loose terrain drop offs on each side of the trail. Do not attempt this hike without proper training, water and if there is poor weather.
Devil’s Backbone has very challenging terrain, which can be intimidating for novice hikers of all experience levels. However, the panoramic views along this section are extremely beautiful and feature epic views of the surrounding mountains and Southern California landscape. After you conquer the backbone, it’s a short hike to Baldy’s summit. When you reach the summit, congratulate yourself! Reaching this summit is a HUGE accomplishment for any hiker! There is an elevation marker at the top of the mountain, which makes an excellent photo opportunity area.
Save some water and snacks for the hike down the mountain. There is a trail that continues past the peak and loops back to the mountain’s fire trail or you can walk back down the Devil’s backbone to the lodge. If you take the route back to the lodge, you can take the ski lifts back to the parking lot or continue the extra 3 miles down the fire trail. Bring cash as the ski lift costs around $10 ($20 round-trip) during the non-winter months.
Browse throughout this Mt. Baldy hike overview to discover additional tips, tricks and insights to help you prepare for this EPIC adventure!
Estimated Time: 4-8 hours
Total Distance: 12 – 16 miles (round-trip)
Map & Directions
Total Distance (miles)
Since 1965, each Labor Day, the San Antonio Canyon Town Hall has sponsored "Run to the Top," a charity run up Mt. Baldy.
Total Estimated Time (hours)
Mount Baldy is the highest peak of the San Gabriel Mountains and in Los Angeles County.
When to Go
May – October: Be cautious and only attempt this hike, if you’re in excellent physical condition, have plenty of water & trail snacks and there is favorable/moderate weather. If there is inclement weather, do not attempt this hike. It’s recommended to start this hike early in the AM to provide hikers plenty of daylight and avoid warmer temperatures.
Yes, dogs are permitted. However, they must be kept on leashes.
Address for GPS: 8401 Mt Baldy Rd, Mt Baldy, CA 91759
Chris-the-Cheetah: You’ll need to have the endurance of a bear, heart of a lion and tenacity of a cheetah to complete this hike! If you’re searching for some training hikes, try the Sitton Peak Trail, Saddleback Mountain Trail or the Los Pinos Trail. However, if you’re ready for this EPIC adventure, it’s definitely one that you’ll always remember!
- Intensity Level 99% 99%
Map & Directions
Why We Liked It
If you’re searching for the grand daddy of hiking trails, Mount Baldy is it! This is an incredible hiking experience, which tests your endurance, balance and tenacity. The mountain’s views are stunning and breathtaking. We loved the mountain’s remoteness and the local community’s pride that surrounds the mountain basin.
For this hiking adventure, Sean ran in the annual Run to the Top and finished under 2 hours! Although challenging, the hike or run up to the summit is an unforgettable adventure with plenty of incredible photo opportunities. The hike down the trail is still challenging, yet easier and if you want to take a short-cut, enjoy the ski lift back to the parking lot.
We loved this nostalgic and EPIC hiking experience!
What’s your favorite hiking trail in Southern California? Leave a comment and share your favorite trail!