If you’re a hiker in SoCal, I’m pretty sure you’ve heard of Mount Baldy, also known as Mount San Antonio. This is the highest peak in the San Gabriel Mountains, as well as in the whole of Los Angeles, with an elevation of 10,064ft. My goal is to conquer the the video I edited for this hike which I saw in the video I edited for this hike‘s website, and this is my first peak out of the six. I went with my husband, together with our friend Ken, and here’s our hiking experience:
We started our hike at exactly 9:40am. Parked at the bottom of where the ski lifts were, and made our way down to the Baldy Bowl trailhead to begin our loop. In the beginning, our motivation for moving quickly through the trail was to get to the lodge in time before it closes, for us to get a burger meal. However, the steep trail leading up to Mount Baldy was just too difficult to breeze through, and taking breaks in between switchbacks was very necessary for us.
After 6 hours and 4+ miles, we finally reached the top! It was around 3pm when we got to the top, and we knew we wouldn’t get to the lodge in time for the food, so we gave up on it. Our goal changed from ‘getting the burgers’ to ‘finishing the trail before dark’. We took our precious time, took a long break at the summit to enjoy the views and to eat our lunch, and was eventually rewarded with a gorgeous view of the sunset. ..which also meant it was time to make our way down before it became dark.
We made our way down the Devil’s Backbone Trail, and after a few minutes, the sun was gone. It was so scary to hike the Backbone Trail without sunlight because of the steepness of the trail’s edges, but the view of the city lights from afar was breathtaking and made me forget about the fear.
After about 2 miles of hiking down, we were pretty much relying on just our flashlights to see where we’re stepping. We started to wonder if the ski lifts were still operating at that hour, because it would be so nice to just ski lift our way down towards the parking lot. After a couple of meters, we saw the ski lifts and saw that it was already closed 🙁 We knew we would have to hike a couple more miles in order to reach our car, so we set our mind to it.
We saw light coming from the lodge, and said we should aim to get there to take a quick break. As we were getting closer we saw people walking, and that comforted us, knowing there were other people up there with us. Upon approaching the lodge, we saw that the ski lifts were operating! (The one we had seen earlier was the old ski lift!) To our happy surprise, we made a run for it, as if it was oasis in the middle of the desert! The operators said they were already closed, but I think they felt sorry for us, so they just let us ride. It was such a relief. The ski lift ride took 27 minutes, and if we hiked that, it would’ve been 2-3 more miles, so about 1-2 more hours.
By the time we got to our car, it was around 6:30pm. We were so happy and thankful that we made it down to the ski lifts just in time!
It sure was an experience i’ll never forget! The challenge was surely 50% physical, and 50% mental, but totally worth it! I was so worried that this hike will discourage me from pursuing other peaks, but it didn’t. Conquering Mount Baldy was so fulfilling, i’m not even scared to do it all over again! Will probably have to start earlier the second time around, though.
Have you done this hike before? I would love to hear about your journey.
P.S. If you enjoyed this post, you might want to check out the video I edited for this hike!