Route Comparisons: Mt. Baldy

Mt. San Antonio, commonly know as Mt. Baldy, reaches to an elevation of 10,064 ft and is the highest peak in both Los Angeles County and the San Gabriel Mountains.


Here are two graphs and an interactive map showing some of the common routes up Mt. Baldy and their elevation profiles. I will add descriptions and more routes as time allows.

Route Distance (1 way) Elevation Gain/Loss*
Devil’s Backbone (Notch Route) 5.9 +4306, -472
Ski Hut (Baldy Bowl Trail) 3.9 +4065, -231
Register Ridge 3.6 +4218 -387
Bear Canyon (Mt. Baldy Trail) 6.2 +6534, -811
North Backbone 6.6 +5375, -2567

* Elevation numbers pulled from Google Earth.


Variations & Combinations

Since 3 of the routes (Devil’s Backbone, Ski Hut & Register Ridge) all start at Manker Flat, people often combine the routes to form a loop. Two common combinations are a Ski Hut ascent & Devil’s Backbone descent (referred to as the Baldy Bowl Loop) and ascending via Register Ridge and descending via Ski Hut or Devil’s Backbone. Other variations include:

    • using a short car shuttle in order to form a semi-loop with Bear Canyon & the Manker Flat routes
    • taking the Mt. Baldy Ski Lift to Baldy Notch to avoid hiking the road
    • in winter, hiking to the Sierra Ski Hut then climbing directly up the Baldy Bowl
    • hikers using Bear Canyon or Ski Hut will sometime summit West Baldy, which can be hike with a small detour

I will add graphs showing some of these routes soon.


What is your favorite route to the summit of Mt. Baldy? Would you like to see another other route added to the graphs above? Please comment below.

4 Responses

  1. Patrick T. Moran

    I have at least five other routes all done in snow conditions, two start from Stockton Flat/Lytell Creek Area and go upstream parking at elevation 6,012 when you blow up the map, the jeep road has a gate here, one goes up jeep road to the streambed at the end of the jeep road to the and continues up the stream bed until you are directly below Harwood at the point the map shows 8,000 feet above the stream bed you go just slightly further until the stream bed takes a hard left turn, from there you go straight up a couloir directly to the summit of Harwood then to the top of Mount Baldy. The second one goes up the same stream bed but you stay in the bottom of that stream bed until you are forced to either go right towards Mount Dawson or Mount Baldy we went up to Mt. Baldy.

    The third route follows the main trail from Manker to the Ski Hut, instead of going across the stream bed we turn into it on the right, we take that up to the saddle between Mt Harwood and Mt. Baldy, we then traverse directly over to the north to the saddle between Dawson and Mt. Baldy, (where it shows 8,800 feet on your map blown up) from there we drop on a northward angle down into the blue line stream bed bottom to where on your map once again it says “R” in the word wilderness written across the map that’s the second fork, from there we turn southeast and snow climbed the north side of Baldy by way of the middle couloir that is obvious when you are down there looking up. Taco (Ryan Dacey) has done West Baldy in snow this way as well, turning west half way up the couloir to his right (West).

    The fourth route that I’ve personally done is the Goode Canyon Route in snowy conditions. For that you park at Manker, you walk down the road to where Manker Campground area is (on your blown up map it’s where the blue stream bed line crosses the main road, we cut between the cabins that are there and drop into the “wash” (the other blue line) heading south until the three blue lines on your map converge. At this point you turn west heading up the obvious water drainage taking it all the way up to the split go right at the obvious turn north in the canyon, follow that to the summit.

    (this is the only one I’ve not done in Snow)The Fifth route starts in the very same place down the road from where you park, it drops into that same wash by the cabins, but one in the wash you have to make a very dicey move up the canon wall directly in front of you (this is referred to as the south face of Baldy) you then follow the ridge (the one between San Antonio Canyon and Goode Canyon) all the way to where it meets the main trail at the top of the bowl on the south end.

    Patrick T. Moran AKA (Lilbitmo on all the hiking boards, San Gabriel, San Jacinto, SGWA, Whitney Portal, and others)

    • TheHikingGeek

      Yes, that includes Harwood. I don’t think skipping Harwood would shave that much off the distance… maybe a 1/2 mile. I can try to figure it out if you’d like.

      • Joseph Gregory

        Nah, it’s more better with Harwood. 🙂