Ski Lift Short Cutting Our Way To Mt. Baldy

There is no easy hike to Mt. Baldy.  There is just a comparatively easy hike among a myriad of significantly more strenuous options.  We chose this easier version for our weekly family and friends hike.  The hike begins by taking the ski lift up to Baldy Notch from the parking lot at the end of Mt. Baldy Road.  This eliminates over 1,500′ of gain over the next easiest way.

From Baldy Notch we took the Devil’s Backbone Trail to Mt. Baldy which gains a fairly steep 2,225′ over 3.2 miles.  The views are spectacular and descriptions and photos don’t capture what it feels like to walk and look out from the often precarious trail which has at some remarkable stretches drops of thousands of feet on both sides from a roughly four foot ridge.

Fortunately, we were treated to a crystal clear day.  Normally, the views of the Mojave Desert are clear.  However, to be able to see Catalina Island with reflections of the sun on the water is uncommon.

View toward Catalina Island from Mt. Baldy at 10,064′.

Going down the Devil’s Backbone Trail in the late afternoon provided many opportunities to enjoy the sun setting and casting reflections on the Pacific Ocean in the distance.

View toward the ocean from the Devil’s Backbone Trail

Using a tree to block the sun and allow me to enjoy looking at the Pacific Ocean.

As the sun went down and shade began to cover the trail, our focus turned toward making it down in time to eat at the restaurant.

After enjoying a festive meal celebrating the first Mt. Baldy summit for five of my companions we headed down the ski lift and enjoyed the last moments of sunlight and the lights coming on from the city below.

13 thoughts on “Ski Lift Short Cutting Our Way To Mt. Baldy

  1. Kyle, a few years back a buddy of mine (unlike me a real mountaineer who’d summited Denali, among others) and I did Baldy. Was my first (and so far still only) time, and he thought it would be fun to hike up under the chair lift. You want steep….


  2. I’ve summited this twice from manker flat campground up devil’s backbone and down ski hut. What a spectacular hike! I’m going to hike up from the village one of these days if I can find friends to do it with. need good company on such a long trail.


    • You catch it from the end of Mt. Baldy Road. Over summer it runs Friday-Sunday. Click on the “ski lift” hypertext link in my post to take you to the ski lift site with hours and fees. I guess the people who designed the PCT felt Mt. Baden-Powell was close enough–or perhaps that adding miles was truly unnecessary. One day I hope to hike the PCT. Do most people who hike the PCT stick to the official path? I noticed Mt. San Jacinto isn’t on the trail and I think I would have a hard time walking past that one–especially after having traveled through the desert for so long.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s