Hiking Motivation! Join the 52 Hike Challenge!

Register Ridge Blady Featured
play video
Los Angeles Hikes

Register Ridge to Mount Hardwood & Baldy

  • 8 miles - Hard Effort
  • Or: Alt Returns Offer Other Total Distances
  • 4-6 Hours (Total)
  • 4,100 Total Feet of Climbing
  • Max Elevation of 10,064 feet
  • Leashed Dogs Allowed

Considered the steepest trail up to Mount Baldy, Register Ridge is a tough one. You'll hike straight up the spine of a ridge between the Ski Hut and Notch trails, climbing about 2600 feet in 1.5 miles. The views are incredible on Register Ridge, and it emerges onto the Devil's Backbone Trail, where you've probably been before. In this guide, we'll take Register Ridge up to the barren summit of Mount Harwood and then hike over to the Baldy Summit since we put all this work in on the climb.

In this Guide:
  • Video and Turn-by-Turn Directions for Register Ridge to Mount Hardwood & Baldy
  • Parking for the Hike
  • Insider Tips & Recommendations

If this is your first time hiking Mt Baldy, I recommend taking the traditional beginner's route through Baldy Notch.

Where is the Register Ridge Trail?

This hike starts from the familiar Manker Flats / San Antonio Falls trailhead used for the other popular Mt Baldy hikes. You've probably been here before. Use this trailhead address:
Manker Flat, 901-993 Falls Rd, Mt Baldy, CA 91759

Register Ridge To Mount Hardwood Baldy Directions 2
There's plenty of parking at Maker Flat where the lanes are split.
Register Ridge To Mount Hardwood Baldy Directions 3
Or you can park on the shoulder right across from the trailhead.

Although signs at the parking area say you need an Adventure Pass, this seems to no longer be enforced, and you can park for free.

Register Ridge To Mount Hardwood Baldy Directions 4
There's a primitive toilet by the start of the hike.

Gear For the Hike

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 June 2024)

Register Ridge Trail Maps

Register Ridge To Mount Hardwood Baldy Directions 1
Here's the ridge you'll climb, as seen from the road down Baldy Notch. The ridge sits between the Ski Hut Trail and the road to the notch.

Register Ridge is not an official trail but it gets enough use that it's well-defined and easy to follow. It's a Class 1 experience, but very steep. I would not return down Register Ridge. It's so steep that descending, even with poles, involves some sliding. In this guide I'll show you how to get up to Mt Harwood and then Baldy. From there you can descend on the Baldy Bowl or Devil's Backbone trails to round out the loop back to the start.

Click Here To View

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

Elevation Profile

Register Ridge To Mount Hardwood Baldy Elevation
Even though you have to climb for the whole hike, the real effort comes on the Register Ridge section, where you climb about 2600 feet in 1.5 miles. Aside from 2-3 very short eases in gradient, Register Ridge just goes straight up.

3D Map

Register Ridge To Mount Hardwood Baldy 3d Map
Register Ridge climbs up the SE ridge between the Baldy Notch and Ski Hut Trail routes. We'll start on the Baldy Bowl Trail, quickly hop off onto Register Ridge, and then intersect Devil's Backbone at the top. This route continues up to Mount Harwood, and then over to Mount Baldy.

Register Ridge Hike Directions

Register Ridge To Mount Hardwood Baldy Directions 5
Start at the paved trailhead for San Antonio Falls. If you've hiked Baldy before, you've probably been here.
Register Ridge To Mount Hardwood Baldy Directions 6
Continue through the gate on the paved road.
Register Ridge To Mount Hardwood Baldy Directions 7
As you hike up the paved section you can see Register Ridge in front of you.
Register Ridge To Mount Hardwood Baldy Directions 8
Make the sharp right at the switchback by San Antonio Falls.
Register Ridge To Mount Hardwood Baldy Directions 9
Hike up the dirt road toward the notch.
Register Ridge To Mount Hardwood Baldy Directions 10
Look for the turnoff to the Baldy Bowl Trail.
Register Ridge To Mount Hardwood Baldy Directions 11
Hike up toward the old trail register.
Register Ridge To Mount Hardwood Baldy Directions 12
You'll pass the old trail register.
Register Ridge To Mount Hardwood Baldy Directions 13
Now this is the important turn. After passing the trail register, the trail bends right and you'll come around a corner with views of Baldy Bowl. Once around the corner, look for this smaller trail heading up to the right. Sometimes there will be rocks blocking the start so that Baldy Bowl hikers don't get confused. It's about 120 feet past the trail register. If you've hiked 5-10 minutes past the register without seeing the trail, you've probably gone too far.
Register Ridge To Mount Hardwood Baldy Directions 14
Now the work begins. For the next 1.5 miles the trail will largely look like this. Tight and narrow zigzag switchbacks going straight up the ridge.
Register Ridge To Mount Hardwood Baldy Directions 15
Some places just go straight up. And while this isn't an official trail, it's well-worn and easy to follow.
Register Ridge To Mount Hardwood Baldy Directions 16
As you climb up the ridge you can spot the Sierra Club Ski Hut off to your left in the distance.
Register Ridge To Mount Hardwood Baldy Directions 17
And to the right, you'll start to catch glimpses of Baldy Notch.
Register Ridge To Mount Hardwood Baldy Directions 18
Use the steep slopes as an excuse to take a break and check out the views behind you.
Register Ridge To Mount Hardwood Baldy Directions 20
Register Ridge isn't tricky or technical. You'll just follow these zigzag switchbacks uphill. Eventually Mt Baldy comes into view off to the left as we ascend above the elevation of the Ski Hut.
Register Ridge To Mount Hardwood Baldy Directions 21
Flat! About halfway up Register Ridge there's a short section of relative flat. It's maybe about 100 feet, but on this trail, you take what you can get.
Register Ridge To Mount Hardwood Baldy Directions 22
Just past the flat the trail goes through a rocky section. There's a trail through the rocks and no harsh edges. It's still a Class 1 trail, no bouldering or scrambling required.
Register Ridge To Mount Hardwood Baldy Directions 23
Keep your eyes open ahead. Here you can see the trail heads left and away from the edge. It's always like this. There are no scary edges if you stay on the trail.
Register Ridge To Mount Hardwood Baldy Directions 24
Looking back you'll get nice views of the high peaks to the east.
Register Ridge To Mount Hardwood Baldy Directions 25
One last little flat section before the final steep ascent to Devil's Backbone.
Register Ridge To Mount Hardwood Baldy Directions 26
The last push is steep.
Register Ridge To Mount Hardwood Baldy Directions 27
When you reach the big boulder, go around it to the left. No scrambling needed.
Register Ridge To Mount Hardwood Baldy Directions 28
Toward the end of Register Ridge the big trees thin out and you hike through the manzanita.
Register Ridge To Mount Hardwood Baldy Directions 29
At about 2.5 miles you'll reach Devil's Backbone. Make the quick dogleg to the right and left to continue up the unofficial trail to Mount Harwood.
Register Ridge To Mount Hardwood Baldy Directions 30
The trail to Mount Harwood is fairly barren. Soon even the manzanita will disappear.
Register Ridge To Mount Hardwood Baldy Directions 31
Bear right (and up) at the split with the light use trail. No downhill until we reach the summit of Mount Harwood.
Register Ridge To Mount Hardwood Baldy Directions 32
Soon you'll see the rocky outcrop of the summit.
Register Ridge To Mount Hardwood Baldy Directions 33
And here you are at Mount Harwood. It's an underrated (and luckily) under-visited summit. Enjoy the peace and views.

Mount Harwood is named after Aurelia Harwood, an early conservationist and the first female president of the Sierra Club.

Register Ridge To Mount Hardwood Baldy Directions 34
From Harwood we'll be heading west to the saddle, and then back up the final push to Baldy.
Register Ridge To Mount Hardwood Baldy Directions 35
Hike past the remote weather station. This section is a bit of a "choose your own adventure" with several small trails through the area. Just keep heading toward Baldy in the west.
Register Ridge To Mount Hardwood Baldy Directions 36
Once you clear the brush there's one trail that winds down toward the saddle.
Register Ridge To Mount Hardwood Baldy Directions 37
Make a right when the use trail joins from the left.
Register Ridge To Mount Hardwood Baldy Directions 38
And then make a right onto the Devil's Backbone Trail, which will look like a highway compared to the trail you just came off of.
Register Ridge To Mount Hardwood Baldy Directions 39
The final climb to Baldy is tough but not as tough as Register Ridge. Do the normal thing here and choose one of the many splits and switchbacks toward the top.
Register Ridge To Mount Hardwood Baldy Directions 40
Keep your eyes open for the post in the distance that marks the beginning of the summit area.
Register Ridge To Mount Hardwood Baldy Directions 41
Here you are at the post from the last photo.
Register Ridge To Mount Hardwood Baldy Directions 42
And then Mt Baldy summit!
Register Ridge To Mount Hardwood Baldy Directions 43
That's the hike up Register Ridge. I'd recommend going back down on Devil's Backbone or the Baldy Bowl Trail. Register Ridge is just too steep, even with poles. If you do try it, expect to go down about as slow as you went 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.