This formidable peak has earned a reputation as the most dangerous hike in Southern California. However, it's not for the faint of heart but for the brave. And it promises an exhilarating hike.
This 11-mile hike usually takes approximately seven hours and is best tackled in summer.
The path is rated as 'hard,' a stark indication that it's not for the unprepared or novice hiker. Winter months bring an added layer of danger with ice, snow, and high-elevation weather changes. In these conditions, a simple misstep could lead to a fatal fall.
Mount Baldy sees its fair share of thrill-seekers each year despite its perils. Regrettably, many require rescuing due to loss, dehydration, or falling victim to icy terrains and frigid temperatures.
When hiking Mount Baldy, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department strongly recommends coming equipped with sufficient supplies and the right gear.
Sun protection, layered clothing, ample food and water, a fully-charged cellphone, a first-aid kit, and a navigation device are all essential.
When the trail turns snowy and icy in winter, even more caution and preparation are needed. Despite sunny, warm days on the coast, at high altitudes, temperatures can plummet, often with a variance of 35 degrees.
Yet, despite the dangers, the allure of Mount Baldy is undeniable.
Those who have braved the trail vouch for the breathtaking views from the summit. The rugged beauty of the mountains and the sweeping panorama of the landscape below make the ordeal worth the effort.
One hiker reported at the end of May: "A little snow near the top, other than that, all good! It’s so beautiful!"
While another hiker commented on May 30:
"Looped this by going up via Baldy Bowl and then taking this route back to the parking lot (Mount San Antonio and Mount Baldy Notch Trail on Alltrails). This meant the sketchy snow parts were all uphill and very doable with trekking poles and approach shoes. Now, I cant lie—it’s brutal heading from the saddle to the peak. You’re faced with two false summits and a grade steep enough that it’s slightly demoralizing to look up. So keep your head down, breathe, follow the steps of everyone who’s trekked up this before, and take breaks to look at one of the most beautiful views I’ve ever seen in LA. Windy at the top but super sunny, so bring a sun shirt, sunscreen, and a light jacket. The backbone ridge is a little sketch if you think too hard, so just keep going, it’s only a short section. Once you make it to the resort, you can grab extra water, food, use a bathroom, or even take the ski lift down ($20 a head). The last 3-4 miles past the resort is just a monotonous winding road down around the mountain and back where you came from. We counted all the huge yuccas and felt very grateful for a beautiful trail."
For anyone wishing to conquer Mount Baldy, aim to start early to avoid the crowd. The adventure is best enjoyed when no line trails up the mountain.
Address: Mt San Antonio, Los Angeles County, California 91759, USA
Despite its dangers, Mount San Antonio offers a thrilling challenge for the experienced hiker. However, it's crucial to remember that preparation is vital and should be protected. So, would you dare to take on Southern California's most dangerous hike?