Los Angeles is known for a lot of things… but mountains aren’t necessarily the first thing you think of. Or second.
Yet just 45 minutes away from Hollywood lies the Angeles National Forest & San Gabriel Mountains which is full of strenuous hikes, naturesque campgrounds, and switchback roads that make you think you’re anywhere but Los Angeles. The elevation goes from sea level to 5,000 feet very abruptly which provides an excellent vantage point for those cityscape Instagram shots. But if you want something more strenuous than hopping out of the car to grab a selfie, check out the Mt. Baldy Summit hike.
This hike reaches the peak of Mt. Baldy at just over 10,000 feet (10,064 ft. to be exact) making it the highest peak in the Los Angeles county. It’s a ‘must-do’ for any adventurer and even if you don’t claim to be an outdoor enthusiast, it’s still a bucket-list item for anyone living in LA.
The hike is around 12 miles roundtrip with a 4,000 foot gain in elevation. Breathing. Is. Hard.
When starting the hike just be on the lookout for this sign to ‘Baldy Bowl Trail’ which is on your left hand side about 20 minutes in and just past the Waterfalls – otherwise you’re likely to miss the trail.
It took me and my friend roughly 7-8 hours to hike up, eat lunch at the summit, then hike down. There is a quicker way to come down (or up) by using the chair lifts since it is technically a ski slope area too. And if you don’t want to pack food, there is a restaurant right by the Chair Lift.
One of the better and tougher hikes I have done but seriously rewarding. I mean you legit summit a mountain and nonetheless the highest one in LA county. We packed snacks (almonds, cliff bars etc) and got some Turkey subs from the grocery store and we’re fine. Bring more water than you’d think since the elevation kind of dehydrates you and some layers since it can get pretty chilly at 10K feet.
Any questions shoot me a message – hit up The Hat on your way back to LA!
- The Mountain is actually Mount San Antonio but goes by Mt. Baldy due to the heigh above the Tree Line which makes it barren of trees along the summit.
- The hike departs from either Manker Flats campground OR the way we took which is the main trail on the left side of Baldy Rd. when driving in (right by the port-o-potties).
- Mt. Baldy is the highest peak in the San Gabriel Mountains and the highest point in all of LA County.