Hiking Mt. Baldy via Ski Hut Trail

Posted by Adventure 16 | 05.14.2018

At 10,064', Mount Baldy is the highest peak of the San Gabriel Mountains, and the highest point in Los Angeles County - Brian Townsend

Mt. San Antonio stands a little over 10,000 feet and is the highest peak in the San Gabriel Mountains.  The mountain is also known to most locals and hikers as Mt Baldy. 

The most popular route to the summit of Mt Baldy is via the Manker Flats Trailhead to Ski Hut, which gains approximately 3,900 feet in about over 4.5 miles. The hike is considered strenuous for most beginners.  

Trail Notes:  Beginners should start early.  Bring plenty of water, food and make plenty of rest stops.  

view of san antonio ski hut from the trail

San Antonio Ski Hut - Built by the Ski Mountaineers in 1936, the hut is located at 8,300' - Brian Townsend

The start of Manker Flats Trailhead is one of the many trails leading to Mt Baldy summit. This trail is one of the shortest ways to the summit and is considered strenuous for most beginner hikers.  


Taking a break in the cool shade of the pines - Brian Townsend

Start at the Manker Flats Trailhead, which is about ¼ mile past the Manker Flats Campground. The first half mile of the trail is paved road.  

As the road bends to the right, the road turns from pavement into dirt. As you continue up the dirt fire road, the Mt Baldy trailhead via Ski Hut will appear on the left side. This turnoff is approximately 1 mile from the parking lot. Following the path upwards, one will hike along multiple switchbacks to the Sierra Club ski hut, which will be on the right side at approximately 2.5 miles. This is a great place to take a rest and refuel before starting the next section to the summit. 

view of summit

You will see scree and lot's of it - Brian Townsend

From the ski hut, the trail traverses over a small streambed and across a field of jumbled rocks below the Baldy bowl. Once across, the trail continues up several steep switchbacks under shade but ending at the tree line.  

Here is another good spot to rest in the shade before attempting the exposed section of the trail to the summit. The trail from this point is made up of loose gravel amongst clusters of manzanita bushes.  There are two trails that are very distinct. Both trails will merge together just before the last segment of the main trail.  

Continue up the hill on short switchbacks that lead to the summit.  



The trail goes west through a rock fall, at the base of the bowl that is the Mt. Baldy summit - Brian Townsend


Directions, Parking, & Regulations


From the 210 Freeway, exit at Base Line Road and head west on Base Line Road. Take the first right turn on Padua Ave and drive 1.8 miles until you intersect Mt Baldy Road, turn right. The next 11.5 miles will take you up a beautiful alpine road that rises high above the Los Angeles Basin.

The Manker Flats trailhead is on the left and labeled Falls Road. If you get to the ski lifts (the end of the road) turn around and the trailhead is just over a half mile below from the ski lift parking lot.  


Originally written by Brian Townsend for RootsRated. Completely revised and edited by Jacqueline Doiron, A16 Sales Associate 5/14/18.

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