Photo Gallery

Photo Gallery: Mt. Baldy Summit In The Snow via Ski Hut Trail

We took a hike to our favorite mountain this weekend, Mt. Baldy. I can't even count the number of times I've made my way up to the summit via the handful of trails that guide one to the peak, but somehow, I never get tired of the views. I don't think it's possible, each time I see something different, and each season feels like a new world. This is my favorite time of year, as the ice and snow make for a festive holiday backdrop. As scenic as the surroundings can be, the cold keeps most people off of the trails, and fellow hikers are always friendly.

We took a hike to our favorite mountain this weekend, Mt. Baldy. I can’t even count the number of times I’ve made my way up to the summit via the handful of trails that guide one to the peak, but somehow, I never get tired of the views. I don’t think it’s possible, each time I see something different, and each season feels like a new world. This is my favorite time of year, as the ice and snow make for a festive holiday backdrop. As scenic as the surroundings can be, the cold keeps most people off of the trails, and fellow hikers are always friendly.

We started this hike around 9:00 AM from Manker Flat and made our way up Ski Hut Trail. The temperature was around 35 degrees, but the sun made it feel much warmer.  The path was dry for the most part over the first two miles, with a light dusting of snow and ice off of the trail and hanging from trees. A young deer was walking on the trail just ahead of me about 1 mile in, and it scampered off as we made eye contact.

Mt. Baldy Summit In The Snow Photo Gallery
Morning Views
Mt. Baldy Summit In The Snow Photo Gallery
Views from the Trail

Just as we passed the iconic green Ski Hut, the snow and ice beneath our feet began to materialize. It was very thin at first, and at it’s deepest only a few inches. This is expected at this point in the trail, as the sun exposure is pretty good on most days. After rounding the trail at the bottom of Baldy Bowl, the series of switchbacks that leads to the saddle above are no longer noticeable. Different hikers have taken different routes, some more direct than others. We followed a foot path that lead straight up, and luckily, only managed one or two postholes.

Mt. Baldy Summit In The Snow Photo Gallery
Snow on the Trail
Mt. Baldy Summit In The Snow Photo Gallery
With Baldy Bowl
Mt. Baldy Summit In The Snow Photo Gallery
Among the Trees

The hike from the saddle to the summit of Mt. Baldy can be pretty tough in the summer, as the dusty and gravel laden trail gets hot and moves quite a bit beneath you. The snow and ice fills in all of those cracks and gaps this time of year, and makes it a much easier ascent on the legs. It usually takes 2 hours for us to reach the summit from Manker Flats on this trail, and even with the snow and ice, we made it in 2 hours 30 minutes. This is much less of a time addition than other trails given the same condition change.

Mt. Baldy Summit In The Snow Photo Gallery
From the Saddle to the Summit
Mt. Baldy Summit In The Snow Photo Gallery
Looking Out to LA and Catalina

The summit of Mt. Baldy was absolutely gorgeous, and of all the times I’ve stood at the top, I can’t think of very many with this clarity. I could look out and see San Gorgonio, San Jacinto, Santiago Peak, Catalina, the High Desert and everything else in my view, with stunning clarity. It was also pretty nice that the winds weren’t too biting at the summit. Usually at this time of year the winds will blow you around, which leads to a very small amount of time being spent at the top. This day was one for enjoying!

Mt. Baldy Summit In The Snow Photo Gallery
Summit Views
Mt. Baldy Summit In The Snow Photo Gallery
High Desert Views
Mt. Baldy Summit In The Snow Photo Gallery
With the Summit Marker

For the descent we took Devil’s Backbone trail, as we wanted to make this hike a loop from start to finish. Devil’s Backbone trail is in pretty good condition given the season, but crampons (micro spikes) are still mandatory. We heard of a group that got into some serious trouble earlier in the day from a slip that occurred on their way to the summit.

Mt. Baldy Summit In The Snow Photo Gallery
On the Backbone

We made our way down from the Backbone, quickly hopped down the Turkey Shoot, and rounded the Notch to take the fire road down. It was exciting to see so many people at the Notch enjoying the snow. I know the businesses in the area really struggled last year with the drought and dry winter. I hope business is good this year and we get a lot more snow. Until next time.

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I’m Drew, creator of Trail to Peak. Trail to Peak brings content to life on the web through breath-taking photography and captivating video. I launched Trail to Peak in 2014 with a goal to inspire readers to get outside and enjoy the great outdoors. I have traveled to 19 countries, walked Camino de Santiago, hiked the John Muir Trail, trekked through the Andes of Peru, and am constantly seeking new adventures in my home state of California. Joining me on my weekly adventures is my partner, Julia, our son, Owen, and our two goldendoodles, Isla and Lilly.

6 comments on “Photo Gallery: Mt. Baldy Summit In The Snow via Ski Hut Trail

  1. Looks Beautiful!

  2. Great pictures! Looks like an excellent hike!

  3. Pingback: Gear Review: La Sportiva Crossover 2.0 GTX 9/10 | Trail to Peak

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