THIS IS A SHUTTLE!!! Please meet at the top parking lot of the ski lift no later than 5:30am. We will consolidate cars and drive down to the village for a 6:00am start.
Advanced Hikers Only, with Previous Summit Experience!
We’ll be taking the Bear Canyon Trail that starts in Baldy Village and hiking to the summit. We descend via the Backbone Trail to the Top of The Notch Restaurant.
IMPORTANT: If you intend to take the lift down BUY A TICKET ON-LINE IN ADVANCE!!! The new owners are gouging for walk-up tickets. You will pay half price on-line, which used to be the full price one way ticket.
Distance: 10 miles
Elevation Gain: 6,000ft
Elevation at the Summit: 10,064ft.
Total Duration: 7-9.5 hours depending on your hiking speed.
Rating: 9/10 Strenuous
Trail: Unmaintained trail but well traveled.
2 Liters of water (Minimum)
Hiking Poles (Recommended)
Layered clothing (can be windy & chilly at the summit)
Money for ski lift and grub from The Notch
This is the original trail to the Mt. Baldy summit that was first used in the late 1880’s and 1890’s. At that time travelers would be brought by horseback to a stone lodge at the summit via this route for overnight alpine getaways. Today, this is considered a must do training hike for Mt. Whitney and other high peaks in the Sierra’s (no, not for the horses… ) Why? In six miles you will ascend 6,000ft, which places this grade definitely in the ‘aggressive’ category.
The trail begins about 100 yards south of the NFS Baldy Visitor Center and behind the church. We will assemble in the church parking lot in view of Mt. Baldy road.
To reach the trail head we proceed up a road for about 1/2 mile passing by some extraordinary private homes nestled in this beautiful canyon with a year long stream. Its easy to see why this road was the first to be settled in Baldy area. Once we leave the cabins behind the real hike begins.
Four Part Hike:
Part 1 is the relatively easy to moderate initial climb out of the village. The first half of this section is shaded with oak and your typical Southern California vegetation as it follows the creek canyon. This section ends (mentally anyway) when you reach the lush open area of the Bear Flat camp site. Note: There is no water past this point.
Part 2 is basically switch-backing up a steep east, south-east mountain slope. The switchbacks are quite numerous, and your goal should be to ascend this section before the morning sun gets to work as the trail is totally exposed here. It’s not a particularly pleasant hike at this point.
Part 3 begins as you top the east facing slope and start working up the ridge-line that will take you much of the way towards the summit and into the alpine forest zone. The grade is steep here, and as you progress, quick rest stops are perfectly OK to let your leg muscles stop screaming. The views on this section are actually quite stunning, with vistas of all the surrounding San Gabriel ranges. You will pass through two or three mountain saddles with relatively level ground and some shaded areas on the way, but frankly, its up and up and up for most of this hike.
Section 4 takes you to the summit and here you will transition out of the alpine zone and into a mixed alpine high-altitude environment with lots of ground-up decomposing granite. You will cross a razor back ridge that presents no problems in the summer time and proceed on up to the final push to the summit. Don’t be fooled by what seems like your first glimpse of the summit, you are actually viewing West Baldy. As you approach, you will actually be traversing along the slope of West Baldy before beginning the final push to the Mt. Baldy Summit. Keep a sharp eye out for the trail marker and bear right to reach Mt. Baldy proper. You will soon see piles of stones built as wind shelters in the distance as you look towards the summit. That’s where you’re headed and you’ll be there in no time!
After summitting descend via the Devils Backbone trail. The Devil’s backbone trail is the quickest and easiest route down the mountain and terminates at the Mt. Baldy Ski Lodge.
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PLEASE – Know your limits and abilities. Bring snacks and drink plenty of liquids when hiking. Check weather conditions and dress accordingly and be aware of your surroundings at all times. Watching out for poison oak, snakes, ticks, uneven footing, spectacular views, beautiful fauna all while interacting with awesome (usually) fellow hikers can be extremely hazardous, rewarding and fun.
VHC HIKE RATING SCALE
Rating a hike is subjective, meaning the difficulty of a hike will be in direct relation to how often you hike and the type of hike you prefer. Keep in mind that any hike can have the following: un-even hiking surfaces, various obstructions, water and/or water crossings or bouldering and/or rock hopping. A great hike will have all of these!
1 – A long walk
2 – 4 mile hike w/little elevation gain
3 – 5 mile hike w/up to1000 ft. elevation gain
4 – 5+ mile hike w/up to1500 ft. elevation gain (heart rate increases at times)
5 – 7+ mile hike w/over 1500 ft. elevation gain (heart rate increasing even more at times)
6 – 7+ mile hike w/over 2000 ft. elevation gain (at times you might be trying to remember how to perform CPR)
7 – 5+ mile hike w/over 2000 ft. elevation gain (at times you might be muttering expletives to yourself)
8 – 10+ mile hike w/over 3500 ft. elevation gain (at times you might be angry with the hike leader)
9 – 10+ mile hike w/over 5000 ft. elevation gain (at times you might be thinking of reporting the hike leader to the authorities)
10 – Use your imagination
Class 3 Scrambling: Scrambling or un-roped climbing. You must use your hands at times to hold the terrain or find your route. This may be caused by a combination of boulders, steepness and extreme terrain. Some Class 3 routes have ropes in place for assistance.
DISCLAIMER / RELEASE OF LIABILITY
IMPORTANT, PLEASE READ BELOW IN ITS ENTIRETY:
I am a volunteer (i.e. not liable for the group). Safety is a priority for everyone in the group. Think of this as hiking with a group of friends.
Outdoor sports and other events we plan can be inherently dangerous and accidents may happen. By participating in any posted event, you’re taking responsibility for your own safety and well-being. The Valencia Hiking Crew Meetup Group and its organizers are not trained leaders and we do not confirm the qualifications of any of its members to lead or participate in trips. All participants take full responsibility for their own actions. If you choose to sign up for any Valencia Hiking Crew Meetup events, you are releasing the Valencia Hiking Crew Meetup Group and it’s organizers from all liability in case of possible injuries as stated in paragraph 6.2 of the Meetup “Terms of Service” located on the bottom of the Meetup website. Your personal safety depends on your own judgment and experience.