Favorite Places #2: Inconspicuous Trail Camp Near Mt. Baldy

I must have hiked the Baldy Bowl Trail 6-7 times before exploring a spur trail off the official trail (between the ski hut and Mt. Baldy) that looked like it would be an interesting place to go. If you’ve ever hiked the Baldy Bowl Trail, I’m pretty sure you’ve thought about going there too. Unnamed and unmapped (at least as far as I know), it leads to an inconspicuous trail camp that it is one of my favorite places in the forest.

Spur Trailhead leading to trail camp. Left and down leads to the ski hut.

Spur Trailhead leading to trail camp. Left and down leads to the ski hut.

Normally, when I hike the Baldy Bowl trail I find myself chasing light and never wanting to break out my headlamp to finish off my hike. Last year, I went on a hike with my wife and daughter and we stopped after making the steep climb up to the ridge where this spur trail begins. While they were resting, I finally took the opportunity to go exploring and within a few minutes I found myself in an area that clearly gets used as a trail camp. It’s easy to get to, just follow the spur trail.

The most conspicuous of several sites that are flat and appropriate to set up a tent.

The most conspicuous of several sites that are flat and appropriate to set up a tent with a view down to the city below.

Last Sunday I used it as a wonderful end destination for a few of us who are training to do a multi-day hike of Mt. Whitney at the end of July. We are getting used to carrying full packs and rehydrating meals etc. We will be stepping things up on a weekly basis and hiking the usual training destinations.

View toward Mt. Harwood from another flat area.

View toward Mt. Harwood from another flat area.

We spent a while there enjoying the excellent views and I’m sure I’ll camp there someday. In my opinion, the view from there is much better than that of the Ski Hut area, it isn’t exposed the way the summit of Mt. Baldy is, and it is half the distance to water than it is from Mt. Baldy. I think it would be a great trip to hike up to this campground starting in the afternoon, set up a camp site, then go back down to the creek next to the Ski Hut and filter a bunch of water for the night and the next day’s hike. On the next day, hike up to Mt. Baldy and come back down via Devil’s Backbone.

View out toward Three Tees, Cucamonga Peak, and Ontario Peak.

View out toward Three Tees, Cucamonga Peak, and Ontario Peak. (click to enlarge)

Also on Sunday, I crossed paths with one of my favorite bloggers (Lady on a Rock). Unfortunately, I couldn’t figure out why I recognized her until she was too far away for me to say hello. I also wasn’t entirely sure it was her until I read on her Facebook page that she had hiked to Mt. Baldy that day. Since ours is a very public outdoor activity and with so many people blogging and reading blogs about hiking, I’m sure some of us cross paths but never know it. For those who would enjoy saying a quick hello, I’ve decided to start including photos of me on some of my posts.

Kyle Kuns enjoying the view from his "rocky chair". Photo by Debbie Kuns.

Kyle Kuns enjoying the view from his “rocky chair”. Photo by Debbie Kuns.

24 thoughts on “Favorite Places #2: Inconspicuous Trail Camp Near Mt. Baldy

  1. I just loved your mountain. It is intense, scenic, and only for the determined. Everyone seemed so happy just to be outdoors and many were training for future BIG trips. I am still bummed we were not able to actually meet in person. Hopefully next time. Thank you for the shout out! Happy training for Whitney.
    Rockin’

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  2. Kyle, I’ll run into you one of these days. I ended up bushwhacking my first hike up Baldy last year and stumbled on the wreckage of the WWII Hellcats. Baldy is a great place to practice for High Sierra hikes. I’ve been exploring San Gorgonio recently and am using it as a warm up for the JMT this summer. Keep the blogs coming my friend!

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  3. Finally a picture! Baldy has beckoned me. That spot looks like a fun one. I didn’t remember there was water at the hut. You have me inspired. Do you know if I need a permit to overnight up there?

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  4. Thanks for posting on this, what a great little spot! Definitely thinking this would make a nice little weekend trip. Hopefully it doesn’t get overrun with people now that you’ve written it up 🙂

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    • You’re welcome. I agree, it would make a great weekend trip. If you could start on a Friday you’d probably have the place all to yourself (I had Kelly Camp and Cedar Glen to myself on Friday nights).

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  5. Sshhhhh quiet about this… It really is a cool spot to camp. There used to be a really cool rock stove there but unfortunately it’s been vandalized. If you go there please take time to help rebuild it.

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