Hiking at Mt. Baldy: Lone Hiker at Sunset

Hiking? Make it a Loop

One of the most popular Southern California Hiking trails starts from the Ski Area parking lot. Hikers can ride the ski lift, which is operational on weekends during summer, to the 7800 ft elevation to the Top Of The Notch Restaurant, and on a clear day, views of Catalina Island can be seen, roughly 70 miles away.

The easiest way to Mt Baldy peak (10,069ft) from the Top Of The Notch, is along Devil’s Backbone. It is about three and a half miles one way with a gain of twenty two hundred feet in elevation. Be prepared with good hiking equipment and solid knowledge of the exploring the mountains.

Mt. Baldy Summit View

View from the Mt. Baldy Summit 📷 by @thesaturdayhiker

Devil's Backbone

Devil’s Backbone 📷 by @thesaturdayhiker

Alternatively, hikers can take the service road from the Ski Area parking lot to the Top Of The Notch Restaurant. If hikers choose this option the distance is a thirty five hundred foot elevation gain along the approximate 6 mile hike. This is a much more strenuous route than the chair lift.

The peak at Mt Baldy is large, flat, and treeless, hence the name. As it is the highest peak in the Angeles National forest. Mt Baldy offers panoramic views of Southern California cities, deserts, mountains and oceans. The hike to the summit is well worth it! On your way back down, stop at The Notch for a refreshing craft brew, sandwich and snacks… after all you’ve earned it!

Mt. Baldy Summit HIke Directions

Hiking Guy website has a really great article with everything you need to know to get to the Mt. Baldy Summit, complete with videos, maps, turn by turn directions, and gear recommendations.


Hiking Guy Mt. Baldy Summit View

📷 by Hiking Guy

Other trails include:

Mt. Baldy Fireroad
This loop begins at the Manker Flats trailhead just past the campgrounds heading towards the San Antonio Falls and taking the winding fire road up to The Notch.

Distance: 2.8 miles
Elevation change: 1800ft
Open to: Hikers, Bikers, dogs

Devil’s Backbone Trail
Devils Backbone Trail offers spectacular views from an impressive ridge-top trail. The spine-tingling hike along a tantalizing ridge starts from the Mt. Baldy Notch and ends at the Mt. Baldy summit, the highest in the San Gabriel Mountains. Devil’s Backbone Trail is 3.3-miles long with 2,350 feet of elevation gain.

Distance: 6.6 miles (out and back)
Elevation change: 2350 feet
Open to: Hikers, dogs

Thunder Mountain
via Turkey Shoot and Devil’s Backbone Trail

Distance: 1.5 miles
Elevation change: 2350 feet
Open to: Hikers, dogs