The West Baldy Illusion

The first time I hiked to West Baldy I mistakenly thought it was Mt. Baldy until I reached West Baldy and looked back.  When I reached what I later learned was Mt. Baldy from the Devil’s Backbone Trail, there was only a publicly affectionate young couple on the summit who I didn’t want to disturb.  It turns out they were blocking my view of the summit marker.  Looking south I saw what appeared to be a higher peak and assumed it was Mt. Baldy.

View of West Baldy (elevation 9,988′) from Mt. Baldy (elevation 10,064′). Note: photo is taken from just below the summit marker.

So, I headed down along what turned out to be the Old Baldy Trail that leads to the Visitors Center.  Near the saddle I realized I needed to head over to the ridge where I found the West Baldy Trail which I learned on the way back directly connects the two summits.

View of West Baldy along the West Baldy Trail near the saddle.

Reaching what turned out to be West Baldy and looking back I realized I was on a shorter peak.

View of Mt. Baldy from the summit West Mt. Baldy

View toward Mt. Baldy from just below the peak of West Baldy

I find it an interesting illusion and worth the short 1.1 mile round trip to fully experience.