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    Hello –

    Is Mt Baldy a trail that you have to train for? I am 29 years old, in good shape and have hiked in the past (Malibu, Palos Verdes, Santa Barbara) but never on a trail like this one at an elevation this high.

    Think I can do it?

    Also, any idea what the weather would be like up there this time of year? I’d like to do it this week!

    Any advice would help a ton and be greatly appreciated!

    Thank you,


    Kristy Dixon

    Hey David

    If you’re used to hiking for 2-3 hours up and down decent size hills then you should be okay. The key is not to get wrapped up in how fast you do it or how fast other people are going, just set a pace that feels good for you and try to maintain it. I would suggest leaving early in the morning (like before 9am) so you have plenty of time.

    I’ve done Baldy twice – once via the Ski Hut Trail (and descended via the Devil’s Backbone) and the other via the Mt Baldy Trail (which is longer and I found it more difficult – may have been the pack on my back for spending a night out!)

    You may experience a headache from the altitude (though it’s impossible to predict how it affects individual people). Make sure you take plenty of water and some snacks/lunch as without those the altitude is much worse! Also, if going alone, let someone know when you left and that you will message/call them when you’re back.

    Here are some links you might find useful:

    Weather forecast:

    With this weather forecast website for mountains you can choose the elevation for the forecast which helps with what clothes to take. I’d suggest taking a light jacket and a hat as the weather can change at those heights even if the forecast says it’s clear. Always be prepared.

    Route options: (shows the different trails to the summit).

    My experience of Baldy:

    I hope this helps a bit, it’s only my opinion so not based on expert advice or facts! It’s a great walk and a beautiful spot so close to LA! Have fun!




    Hi there! Here’s a link for the weather report for this week, up in Mt. Blady

    Dress in layers. It can get windy up top.

    Jeff Hester

    Thanks for the responses, Kristy and Oshie!

    David, there are two main routes up Mt. San Antonio (the official name of Mt. Baldy). The short-but-very-steep ski hut route, or the Baldy Ski Resort.

    My personal preference is going up the ski resort, then down the steeper ski hut route. I’ve outlined that route in this guide:

    Some people prefer to do this loop in reverse.

    One note, going from the Notch to the summit you’ll hike on the Devil’s Backbone. This can be treacherous when there is ice and snow. In fact, it’s not recommended except during summer.

    As for whether you’re ready or not, that’s harder to tell. I led a 20-something grad student on a hike up the much lower Mt. Wilson and he almost didn’t make it to the top. He was training for a backpacking trip to Glacier National Park, and that hike was a wake up call for him.

    I have a list of graduated hikes that I use for training. I call it the Six-Pack of Peaks. Mt. Baldy is #3 on that list.

    Good luck, and let us know how it goes!


    I know I’m kind of late to the game with this post, but, question for you Jeff (If you see this!):

    I’m planning a tentative JMT thru-hike for this upcoming summer, and am curious if your 6-pack list order is in this particular order because of difficulty?

    I think I might be a bit late in the year right now to try for Baldy (Oct seems to be cutting it very close for ice), but am curious about this for the future 🙂

    (Come to think of it, I might make a new post about this very question, I have no idea when you can even do these peaks other than summer).

    Jeff Hester

    I’m planning a tentative JMT thru-hike for this upcoming summer, and am curious if your 6-pack list order is in this particular order because of difficulty?

    That’s exactly right. Each is a little more difficult, although after a certain point it really comes down to what kind of night you had beforehand. Baldy is fine right now, although that could change anytime. I have some friends who love to do Baldy in the winter, but they gear up (crampons, ice axe) and go straight up the Bowl. They’ve even spent the night on top, snow camping. Overnight snow camping on top of Baldy is a little extreme for my tastes, but I’d love to summit Baldy in the snow sometime.

    When I was training for my last JMT, we started this time of year with “lowland” hikes. We’d do one or two pretty easy weeknight hikes and a longer hike on the weekend. You could easily do a run or something instead, if that’s your thing. When daylight savings time started in March is when we kicked it up a notch. We did a 6.5 miler every Monday night, then a 5 miler Wednesday night, and a longer hike on Saturdays… AND started carrying weighted backpacks on those weekend hikes.

    For weight, we used old 1-gallon water jugs. We’d fill up 3 or 4 and put them in our backpacks. When we got to the high point of the trail, we could (if we chose) dump the water. Going downhill the extra weight just wears out the joints and doesn’t help so much.

    The beginning of April we did the Trans-Catalina Trail. The weather was AMAZING, the scenery fantastic and we got a chance to dial-in our backpack gear. Good training.

    One of the challenges we encountered with the Six-Pack of Peaks was snow. I had to check with the ranger station regularly to confirm conditions near the peak and make sure the trail was open. Cucamonga, San Bernardino, San Jacinto and San Gorgonio all had some patches of snow we had to cross. Trekking poles were handy. Some of our fellow hikers also had micro-spikes, but the patches were irregular enough that this was usually more of a pain than it was worth.

    We started the Six Pack at the end of May and hit one each Saturday.

    Joan and I were discussing this just the other night, and the one thing she would’ve done even more of is carrying a weighted backpack. There is no substitute.

    Hope this helps!


    This DOES help, thank you!

    Carrying a weighted backpack is a good call. This is something I’ve thought about doing in the past, but never seem to get around to it, partially because I feel silly carrying a full pack around the SAMO mountains. But, that being said, during the times in which I’m NOT backpacking much, I feel the pack that much more when I actually do get the chance to get out.

    I’ve seen you mention the Trans-Catalina trail, sounds amazing and worth checking out soon.

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