Summary: This is a must-do hike. I don't know why anyone would choose another route unless they were going for the 6000' gain butt kicker from Baldy Village, but that's a whole different ball game. Don't take the wimpy ski lift on a Saturday. Take this trail, you wont regret it!
The path is grand, it starts on the road to beautiful San Antonio Falls, and then moves onto a trail that will get your heart pounding the moment you set foot on it. Rapidly you'll reach the Ski Hut(8200') and cross the bowl. There are a couple of places where the trail is a little difficult to find, but if you look for the obvious, you should be able to manage. The last mile to the top is a butt-kicker, wait, make that the last half mile. I had to rest six times, phwew!
If you prefer a steadier climb, reverse it and take the road. I sure wouldn't, the road is the only ugly part of the trip. The Devil's Backbone is stunning. The roads can get convoluted, just go down, use your intuition and a map.
Trailhead: Take the 210 to Upland and exit Mountain Avenue heading North into the Angeles National Forest. Follow Mountain Avenue to the intersection with Shinn Road - veer left. Continue to Mt. Baldy Road, veer right onto Mt. Baldy Road and follow it for a few miles to Manker Flats. Be careful of your speed after Baldy Village - some of the turns are hairpin.
Turn left at the sign for San Antonio Falls Road. Park here, but don't block the gate, people live and work past this locked gate. The trailhead is the road. Follow the road past San Antonio Falls.
When you round the first corner after San Antonio Falls is no longer in view the trailhead for the Baldy Bowl/Sierra Ski Hut veers left off the road straight up the mountain.
Sign the trail register (about 50 feet ahead and 25 feet up the trail) and it's up, up, and away. (Lat:34.28923 Lon:-117.64619)
Trail Guides for Mt. Baldy(San Antonio) Manker Flats loop:
Best Hikes With Dogs - Southern California
by Allen Riedel (Mountaineers books)
Trails of the Angeles - 100 Hikes in the San Gabriels
by John W. Robinson (Wilderness Press)
Day Hikers Guide to Southern California
by John McKinney (Olympus Press)
Best Seasons: Fall, Spring, Summer,
User Groups: Hikers, Dogs,
Ranger Contact: Angeles National Forest (626)914-3790
Localhikes Reporter: This hike was submitted by Allen Riedel, who has posted 123 other hikes on this site. To visit this reporters web site, click here.
Trail Reviews Page 1 of 40 Submit your own review
Reviewed by An on 6/28/2013
We hiked the Baldy loop starting at the Ski Hut Trail. Past the Ski Hut, the trail gets really bad. It is very hard to stay on the main trail. We too went to far left and ended up at a plane wreckage. There is also a rock field where you have to more or less play tracker to find your way through. All in all a great hike, but sad that the trail has been so worn down.
Reviewed by Bob on 4/4/2013
The Baldy Bowl trailhead is now marked with a sign, and numerous signs have been erected along the route asking visitors to stay on the main trail.
Reviewed by Pablo on 8/23/2012
Hiked the 12-mile, 6,000 ft ascent to Baldy from the village. This is for real. More scenic than the Manker trail and substantially more challenging. I hiked this with a buddy on August 3rd. It was not particularly warm but the descent was miserable as the trail was exposed to the afternoon sun. We ran out of water the last 3 miles and I suffered from heat stroke once I reached our vehicle. Bring more water than you think you need...2.5 liters + 16 oz Gatorade was not enough.
Reviewed by Pablo on 7/23/2012
Great training hike with gorgeous scenery. Plenty of uphill once you get off the paved road (.6 mile). What really bothered me was how abused the trail was by people who cut their own trail. I lost the main trail more than once adding precious time and losing energy. At one point I followed a trail which lead to a debis field of a downed aircraft. Interesting, but I was forced to traverse to reach the mail trail. Other hikers who suffererd the same fate shared my frustration at people to cut trails to save a few minutes of their precious time. Once you pass the ski hut there are parts of the trail that are literally a spider-web of different routes. The peak is worth the effort, but be advised to watch the trail carefully.
Reviewed by Charles H. on 11/12/2011
Hiked with my son and his friends all 25yrs.Started on the road thru me off 1st mile had me looking for switch backs.lookn for the ski hut but wind blowing like crazy then the real fun began snow on ground till green mile but made it.Real wind at the top.Great view.Where is my car.I will come back well worth the pain.I put up a great front but I'm sore.Another off bucket list.San gogornio here I come.
Reviewed by Jaime on 10/9/2011
Hiked this 10/8/11. Weather was 50's at Falls, 20's-30's at summit (due to windchill), 45 at Notch. No snow. Went through 100 oz. water and food bars, each. There was still a small stream of water at the Ski Hut. I would recommend tough soled shoes (not sneakers/running shoes) because there is a lot of scree & talus hiking. Sooo glad we didn't miss the trailhead because the road hike is sooo boring and the scenery does not compare. According to Harrison Trail Map, it's 0.9 miles from the entrance gate to the unmarked trailhead. After the falls, you turn to the right. After you round the next turn to the left, it's about 20 meters up, on the left, easy to miss. The Baldy Notch Cafe/Bar serves hot food.
Reviewed by David on 10/3/2011
The trail from Manker Flats to the Ski Hut is not marked at all, yet it seems to be one of the most heavily traveled routes judging from the poor trail condition. Past the Ski Hut (wich itself is really neat) the trail all but disintegrates into a free for all mashed up mess. I've hiked Baden powell, with all those scout kids going up and down it all the time, and its trail quality is stunningly intact by comparison! Descending by way of the Devils Backbone was a welcome relief, nice trail, untill you get to the ski slope area and then its pretty damn boring! With how popular Ol' Baldy is in So. Cal. I just could not believe how shitty the trail was!
Reviewed by Bob M. on 9/10/2011
Needed a change of pace and did a night hike last night under an almost full moon. Started out at 930PM up the Mankers Trail. Encountered several people coming down, but didn't see anyone until the summit, where several others were camping and enjoying the lightening show off in the desert. Weather was quite warm all the way down as well. Once we got down to where the trail meets Register Ridge we encountered a Mountain Lion which growled at us, telling us to leave NOW. We did
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