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Baldy Bowl Trail Featured
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Los Angeles Hikes

Baldy Bowl Trail (Ski Hut Trail) to Mt Baldy

  • 8.8 miles - Hard Effort
  • Or: 4.6 to Ski Hut and Back
  • 5-7 Hours (Total)
  • 3,900 Total Feet of Climbing
  • Max Elevation of 10,064 feet
  • Leashed Dogs Allowed

The Baldy Bowl Trail, also known as the Ski Hut Trail, is the shortest route to the summit of Mt Baldy. Unfortunately, that short distance comes at the price of a very steep climb. For fit hikers, you'll have to work, and for those out of shape, expect to take breaks to catch your breath as you navigate the steep slopes. Along the way, you'll have a picture-perfect spot to rest, the Sierra Club Ski Hut. And the final payoff is reaching the highest point in Los Angeles County, Mount San Antonio, known colloquially as Mt Baldy because of its bald face.

In this Guide:
  • Video and Turn-by-Turn Directions for the Baldy Bowl Trail
  • Is There Snow on the Trail?
  • Parking For the Baldy Bowl Trail / Ski Hut Trail
  • Tips & Recommendations

Although this is the shortest hike to the summit, the route to Mt Baldy via Baldy Notch and the Devil's Backbone is the more traditional beginners' experience. The slopes are not as steep (overall), and there are more places to catch your breath.

Where is the Baldy Bowl Trail?

The Baldy Bowl Trail hike starts from the Manker Flats parking area, about 4.5 miles past Mt Baldy Village. Use this trailhead address:
993 Falls Rd, Mt Baldy, CA 91759

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There's lots of parking alongside the road, but because of the popularity of this hike, it can get full at peak times.
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There's a primitive toilet by the parking area.
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Park as close to the bathroom (the brown building on the left) as possible. That's where the hike starts.

Do you need a parking pass? Technically, if there's a facility like a bathroom (which there is), you do. But according to the Forest Service fee area map, at the "Baldy Bowl Trailhead" you don't. If you park further down at the Manker Flat Campground you need an Adventure Pass or National Parks Pass.

Is There Snow on Mt Baldy?

Baldy Bowl Winter
Here's the Baldy Bowl in winter. The steep slopes are challenging enough when clear, and they can be deadly with even a little bit of snow and ice. Photo Justin Johnsen

Unless you have mountaineering experience and local knowledge, the Baldy Bowl Trail should only be attempted when free of snow. The weather is more unpredictable than ever, but generally, the area is free of snow from May to November. Even if it hasn't snowed in a while, snow can linger on the cooler slopes of the Baldy Bowl Trail. So, if you are in a shoulder month and want to check for snow, here's what I'd do.

Want an alternative hike that's usually snow-free? Hike to the highest point in Los Angeles (city), Mt Lukens.

Gear For the Hike

Assuming the conditions are good, you'll still want to prepare for the alpine environment. It can be hot at the trailhead and cold and windy at the summit. Here's what I recommend:

Gear That I Love Right Now

Nothing is sponsored or promoted, just the actual gear that I use.

Gear Inreach Mini 2
Garmin InReach Mini 2If you are out of cellphone range the Mini 2 will reliably allow you to hit SOS via satellite. You can also send non-emergency texts to just say that you're late, let friends and family follow along, and check the weather. You can see my review here.
Gear Topo Pursuit
Topo Pursuit 2The wide toe box means no blisters, an aggressive tread is great on the trail, it dries very quickly, and it has lots of cushion for long days. It combines everything I love about every other shoe into one.
Gear Epix Pro Up Ahead
Garmin Epix ProThese watches are pricey, but I use them 24/7 for sleep tracking, workouts, heart rate, and tracking my hike. It has preloaded hiking maps that help me navigate the trails and is a backup to my smartphone navigation. The Epix Pro has a great battery life, a screen similar to an Apple Watch Ultra, and works in harsh conditions when just using the buttons. See my review here.
Hikelite 26 Gear
Osprey Hikelite 26This updated version of the Hikelite 26 offers incredible value for the money. It's got a wide trampoline back, so your back doesn't get sweaty. It's under 2lbs, has deep side pockets, and is a great balance of what you need without what you don't.

Check out the complete list here. ( Updated May 2024)

Camping On Mt Baldy

There are no official campgrounds on the Baldy Bowl Trail or Mt Baldy. And there's conflicting information from Angeles National Forest on whether dispersed camping outside official trail camps is allowed. But in practice, it is permitted, and there are several stone wind shelters on the summit where you can camp. If you decide to camp, know that it's extremely windy at the summit and not a calm place to sleep. I've marked some alternative sheltered (and unofficial) spots along the way on the map below if you'd like to overnight in the area. Your best bet for water is the creek crossing by the Ski Hut.

Baldy Bowl Trail Maps

Click Here To View

Use This Map:
View in CalTopo | PDF Map | GPX File

Elevation Profile

Baldy Bowl Trail Elevation
Here's the one-way elevation profile to the summit. There's a short flat section just past the Ski Hut, but otherwise it's pretty much all uphill.

Landmarks on the Hike

Ski Hut2.58250
Baldy Saddle3.18800

3D Map

Baldy Bowl Trail 3d Map
It's a straight shot up along the canyon with San Antonio Creek to the Skit Hut. Then we'll cross over the actual Baldy Bowl, and up a ridge to Baldy Saddle. From there will follow the ridge line up to the summit.

Baldy Bowl Trail Hike Directions

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Head into the paved road by the toilet.
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You'll see some trail boards. Take a picture of the map, just in case.
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Go past the gate.
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And continue past the private residences on the paved road. The pavement will end shortly, I promise.
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When the road does a 180 turn, you'll see the 75-foot San Antonio Falls.
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The pavement ends after the waterfall.
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A few minutes past the waterfall and just before 1 mile into the hike, look for the (easy to miss) turnoff onto the Baldy Bowl Trail. If you've gone past a mile on the hike, you might have missed it.
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There's a small sign as you climb off the road onto the Baldy Bowl Trail.
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The start is loose and steep. It'll get better in a minute.
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You'll pass an old trail register.
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And then you're on a nice single-track trail, which is steep but easy to follow.

The Gold Ridge / Agamemnon Mine used to sit at the head of the canyon in front of you. Operating from 1897-1907, it was destroyed by an avalanche. Although some scattered wreckage remains, most has been washed away by flooding over the years.

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As you hike up above San Antonio Creek, you'll get a nice view of Baldy Bowl ahead. We're hiking to the left side eventually, up onto the ridge.
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You hike through the Douglas Fir and you can often see the trail unfolding in front of you.
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The trail will start to go up switchbacks.
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You can often look up and see where the trail goes by spotting other hikers.
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At about 2.4 miles in you should be able to spot the Ski Hut on the slopes above.
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When you get to the crossing of San Antonio Creek, look for the short spur trail to the Ski Hut on the right. The trail to the summit continues left.
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You'll pass picnic benches on the way to the hut. They're shaded and a great place to refuel before continuing.
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Here's the Ski Hut, which may be open if people are staying there. Be respectful.

The Ski Hut was first built in 1936 by an Austrian transplant to LA who wanted to recreate the hut experience of the Alps. That hut burned down and was rebuilt in 1937, which is the hut you see today. The Sierra Club runs the hut, and you can make reservations to overnight there.

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From the front of the hut you can see many of the peaks in the area, including the two popular hiking summits, Cucamonga Peak and Ontario Peak.
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When you are done at the Ski Hut, head back to the trail and cross over San Antonio Creek.
Batrachoseps Gabrieli
Keep your eyes open for the San Gabriel Mountain slender
salamander, a species discovered in the 1990s that only exists on these upper slopes of Mt Baldy.
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Now we cross the actual Baldy Bowl, a rocky and thankfully flat area. The Baldy Bowl is a small cirque (or slide) area.
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If you look to the top of the Baldy Bowl area, you'll see some crags that are reminiscent of "The Needles" on the Mt Whitney hike. If you have fun on this hike, you might want to add Mt Whitney to your bucket list.
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The trail can get confusing across the bowl, and it splits and rejoins in a few places.
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There is a trail marker along the way through the Baldy Bowl. You should be passing it in this spot, if not, correct your course.
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Once you leave the open area of the Baldy Bowl, you'll enter the trees and start up a steep series of tight switchbacks. It's only about 0.3 miles to Baldy Saddle from here, but you'll work for it.
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When you reach Baldy Saddle, make the right to hike up along the ridge.
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Thankfully the Baldy Bowl Trail is well marked these days. Here's the sign at the saddle.
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Continue uphill along the ridge.
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To the right you'll see Mt Harwood in the distance. It's named after Aurelia Harwood, an early conservationist and the first female president of the Sierra Club.
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Alright, now we're down to the business end of things. Start the steep climb for the last mile or so to the summit.

From here to the summit the trail frequently splits and rejoins itself. Just look for the path with the most footprints as you climb. If your trail starts to fizzle out, backtrack or look for it to join a more established trail to your left or right.

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Once you climb for a few minutes you'll start to see these posts. These posts represent the "official" path. Look ahead and aim for the next post.
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Keep following the posts.
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The trail winds to the left side of the ridge. In the distance you can see West Baldy.
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Once on the left side of the ridge, there's a sign here keeping you in the right place. One the way down, make sure you pass this point. There are some small trails to the left of this sign that lead down into Goode Canyon, which is easy to get lost in and hard to climb out of. Always look for signs and posts.
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Here's a closeup of that sign.
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And if you look down to the left into Goode Canyon, just before you reach that last sign, you'll see the wreckage of an old aircraft. Don't go down to check it out, stay on the trail and appreciate it from a distance.
Mt Baldy Plane Wreck Hellcat
The wreckage is from two USMC Hellcats aircraft that crashed here in a 1949 snowstorm, killing both pilots. The Hellcat, pictured here in WW2, was the main aircraft used in the war in the Pacific. Photo USMC, Okinawa, 1945
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Keep following the main trail and the poles. The trail heads up the rocks to the right.
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You'll pass a tent site and another sign pointing you to the summit.
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While still uphill, the slopes are not as steep as they were earlier.
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Soon the trees disappear and you're on the "baldy" section of Baldy.
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Look for a post in the distance marking the beginning of the summit area.
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And here you are, the summit of Mount San Antonio!
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There's a beefy metal summit sign that you are obliged to take a photo with.
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There are incredible 360 views from Catalina to San Gorgonio. The peaks to the north include the other epic peak, Mt Baden-Powell.
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That's it, that's the hike! To return, just head back down the way you came up.

Need More Info?

  • Have a question about the guide or want to see what other people are saying/asking? View the Youtube comments for this video. Leave a comment and I will do my best to respond.
  • When planning, always check the park website and social media to make sure the trails are open. Similarly, check the weather and road conditions.

This Guide Was Written by Cris Hazzard

Cris Hazzard 4 Mile Trail Yosemite
Hi, I'm Cris Hazzard, aka Hiking Guy, a professional outdoors guide, hiking expert, and author based in Southern California. I created this website to share all the great hikes I do with everyone else out there. This site is different because it gives detailed directions that even the beginning hiker can follow. I also share what hiking gear works and doesn't so you don't waste money. I don't do sponsored or promoted content; I share only the gear recommendations, hikes, and tips that I would with my family and friends. If you like the website and YouTube channel, please support these free guides (I couldn't do it without folks like you!). You can stay up to date with my new guides by following me on YouTube, Instagram, or by subscribing to my monthly newsletter.