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My name is Lindsey, and I’ve been sneakily following the SoCal Hiker page since I moved to LA last September for graduate school. I am in fact NOT from Soca! I grew up on the northern California coast in a tiny town called Fort Bragg, basically living and playing in the coastal redwood forests there.
Welcome, Lindsey! Glad to have you here. Hiking the JMT is a great experience. I met a guy who was on his 12th JMT thru-hike. He said he had to keep coming back.
Hey, I’m Andy Hawbaker. I live in Northern Colorado and hike, backpack and explore as much as possible. When I’m not on the trail I share my experiences as the manager of the Sierra Trading Post’s Sierra Social Hub.
Hey Andy! Good to see you here. The Sierra Trading Post’s Social Hub has been a inspirational favorite of mine. I love the tie-in with the weekly #STPLive tweet chats.
My name is Jeff and I run the show here at SoCal Hiker. I was born here in Southern California (Monterey Park). I started hiking when I was in the Boy Scouts growing up in Indiana, but fell in love with the mountains when we returned to California. I was 16, and took my first trip to the Sierras. I was hooked.
I have lived all around Orange County, but for the past year have lived smack dab in the middle of Los Angeles, and I’m really enjoying exploring the trails up here.
My favorite SoCal trail? I have a soft spot in my heart for what I call Roller Coast Ridge in south Orange County.
Looking at the calendar, I’m targeting December 13-15th. If we decide to make it 4 days, the distance is more manageable (17 miles/day), but it cuts further into the work week.
Yes, the plan would be to go light. The weather can be chilly and unpredictable though, so we’ll need shelter, warm clothes and rain gear.
I’ll take a look at the camping restrictions; that may dictate how far we hike each day.
If you’re doing this loop from Manker Flats, you’ll find my GPX file near the bottom of the guide. You can download this and use it with many GPS apps and devices. But then, that doesn’t really answer your question about a map now, does it? 🙂
You used to be able to get USGS topo maps at any decent outdoor retailer, but often they don’t carry them anymore. If you do a lot of hiking, you might want to invest in National Geographic’s TOPO! software (for Mac or PC). This will let you print your own maps and even plan routes. They will try to sell you on special water-resistant paper for printing on, but I print mine on normal paper and then put it in a clear plastic page protector.
If you prefer a large traditional topo map, I recommend (and own many) of the Tom Harrison maps. Here’s the one for Mt. Baldy (officially Mt. San Antonio) and surrounding area.
Thanks for the kind words about the website. Keep coming back and sharing your feedback and trip reports!
I would suggest searching Meetup.com. I searched for “full moon hike” within 100 miles of Los Angeles and came up with quite a few… and some are out your way. There are usually some hiking groups that do evening hikes. I know of several in OC and LA, but I haven’t done any out in Claremont or Chino Hills.
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: https://socalhiker.net//hiking-mt-san-antonio-baldy-loop-trail/
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!
Great questions, Wayne. I’ll try my best to answer, but maybe others will chime in.
Luggage storage in Yosemite
There is none, per se, but some people use the bear lockers. Keep in mind that these are not “locked” from humans and therefore not really secure. I’ve heard some people stash a duffle bag in there for a few days, with a note attached to the ranger explaining when they will return. Most people will respect that, but I’m not sure that would work for a 25-day trip on the JMT.
One option is to “mail” the luggage you want to store to yourself at a Post Office, much like a food drop (see our resupply page for instructions). And no, you can’t just drop it off at the post office, unfortunately.
Walk-up Permits for the JMT
A permit for two should be pretty do-able, as long as you’re flexible. Yosemite reserves 40% of the available permits for walk-ups. The line often forms the night before, and you’re not allowed to “camp” in line (i.e. no sleeping). The ranger station opens at 8am. If you can’t get a Happy Isles trailhead start, consider Glacier Point. There’s a shuttle from the valley to Glacier Point, and it joins the JMT at the top of Nevada Falls.
You’ll also have better luck on weekdays. We didn’t get a Monday start, but got our first choice for Tuesday (faxing in our app).
Osprey Exos 58 Packs
My wife has an Osprey pack and loved it. Can’t really comment about that specific model though.
Bear Canisters – Rent or Buy?
You’ll need bear canisters for the entire JMT, and you may need them in the other areas you visit (there are bears up there, too). I would double-check with the governing agencies on that. Having a bear canister is good from the standpoint that it protects the bears (a fed bear is a dead bear); it protects your trip (you don’t lose your food); and it makes a handy little stool or table. It’s also bulky and heavy. Suck it up and get them. You’ll be out there long enough that it’ll be worth it, and you’ll use them again as you travel up north.
Hope this help!
Nicolas, you can use the tags down at the bottom of this page to find dog-friendly trails. Keep in mind that dog-friendly and dog-safe are not the same thing.
Generally, the more “wild” the trail, the greater the risks. But even on the suburban trails, there are rattlesnakes, ticks and other hazards. I would recommend keeping your dogs on leash (even in areas where off-leash is permitted).
If you’d like more specific recommendations, let me know what area you’re thinking of. Los Angeles? Orange County?August 26, 2013 at 7:36 pm in reply to: For Sale: REI Trekker "Wonderland" External Frame Backpack – $20 #8165
Diane, yep, it’s still available.
That’s brilliant, Kristi! Thanks for sharing. I’m going to have to try that myself someone soon.
Update: Here’s the info on the Ski Hut, maintained by the Sierra Club:
Mt. Baldy has two places to camp. The ski hut (about half way to summit) and the car camping area near the parking lot. See this link for details about the car campground (look at the part that says “general description” for more details about this campground):
I don’t know the contact information about the ski hut…someone will have to help you out there.
There isn’t any real good “backpacking” opportunities on Mt Baldy because its a relatively short hike, easily done in 5 hrs (in the summer) if you’re in decent shape.
I have friends who have snow camped near the summit in the winter, but I’m not sure what the restrictions are for that.
Check the Mt. San Antonio (Baldy’s REAL name) write-up for an overview of the trails: https://socalhiker.net//hiking-mt-san-antonio-baldy-loop-trail/
There is a ranger station in Baldy Village, but this peak isn’t in their jurisdiction. Still, they may also have some info.
That depends on your skin. I brought a small tube and used hat, sunglasses, etc.
my girlfriend is fair-skinned and used more.
Fortunately, you can buy more at Tuolumne Meadows, Reds Meadows, VVR, etc.
You can also include more in your resupply shipments. If it turns out you don’t need it, it’s easy to find someone who does. Rather than carry enough for the entire trip, I’d carry enough for the first segment (Yosemite Valley to Tuolumne). Include some in your resupply packages, or purchase more (usually pretty easy to find, but also more expensive than you’ll get at home).
Keep in mind that the sun up in the Sierras is pretty strong. I saw some people covering up their arms and even their hands to protect their skin.
I got pretty tan on the trip — just not evenly. Arms from the sleeves down. Legs from the boots up. And even though I always wore a wide-brimmed hat and sunscreen, my face.July 1, 2013 at 10:27 pm in reply to: For Sale: REI Trekker "Wonderland" External Frame Backpack – $20 #5662
Jesse, I’ve sent you an email.
According to @ADKinLA, this includes hip belt, pack, extra straps and extra interior rain sleeve.