Hiking Mount San Antonio

After years of hiking in New England, where the highest peak is 6288 ft (1917 m), I had the opportunity to summit my first peak over 10,000 ft (3068 m).

Mountain / Region Mount San Antonio (aka Mt Baldy)
Mountain Elevation 10,064 ft (highest point in LA)
Trails South Approach from Manker Flats via the Baldy Bowl Trail
Region CA – San Gabriel Mountains
Location San Bernardino, CA
Rating Very Strenuous
Features above tree line, waterfall
Distance 11.25 miles (trail 8.4 miles)
Elevation Gain 4000′ (cumulative)
Hiking Time (actual) 8.5 hours
Weather Conditions 70s, sunny
Date Hiked May 21, 2011

What an experience and I was able to share it with two of my best friends.  We left San Diego about 5am and 3.5 hours later we are starting the hike.  Little to our knowledge was that on this date, that the 7th stage of the 2011 Tour of California was being raced.  Dew to spectators, sponsors, etc. we had to park over 3 miles away from the trailhead; this seems to be a common thread in my big hike stories.

We had to pay for an adventure pass ($5 per person) to park on the road, other than that there was no red tape.

There are multiple approaches to the summit, however we chose the South Approach.  By taking this trail, you go across the base of Baldy Bowl to the south ridge and then it steeply ascends the ridge directly to the summit.

The last half mile of the hike was under complete snow cover.  At this point, it was easy to see the direction to the summit, however going back down is where people get turned around; this thankfully didn’t happen to us.

By the end of the hike, the back of my neck and the back of my hands (this was a first) were covered in a light sunburn.  Furthermore, 2.5 liters of water was not enough as I ran out as we had 3 miles before getting back to our vehicle (where we had some cold Stone Ruination waiting on us!); thankfully one of the members in the party had brought along their water purification system and yes there were plenty of watering holes along the hike (remember, snow-capped mountain top?).  In addition to the water, I started the day out by drinking 1 l of water, a small breakfast and I brought along a few gel packs, breakfast bars and a pound of beef jerky.  After the hike, I was starving.

I definitely would do this hike again as it was gorgeous and I believe if you are in the LA/San Diego area that this is a must-do.

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