Hiking Trails

Mt. Baldy via Ski Hut Trail 03.07.15

Mt. Baldy via Ski Hut Trail 03.07.15

This Saturday morning I finished hike number 16/52 for the 52 Hike Challenge in 2015, and have now completed 189 of my goal of 1000 miles for this year. I’ve tried to do a new hike each week, but with the temperatures rising, I wanted to reach the 10,064 ft summit of Mt. Baldy in the snow one more time. We got quite a bit of snow last week, but it was 80 degrees+ all weekend, with the forecast calling for high 80’s all this week. It turned out to be a great day to summit Mt. Baldy, as I set my all time speed record. I made it up and down in 3 hours and 25 minutes, with 20 minutes of that taking breaks.


Mt. Baldy via Ski Hut Trail 03.07.15
Baldy Bowl

I arrived to the Manker Flats parking area around 8:30, and quickly realized I wasn’t the only one with plans on reaching the summit of Mt. Baldy. It took me some time to find parking, but once I did, I threw my pack on and was quickly off.  The snow and ice started to show on the trail just before the green Ski Hut. It was shaping up to be a gorgeous day, with clear skies, a light breeze, and unusually warm weather. The views of Baldy Bowl were spectacular. Chutes of ice clung to the steep walls of the bowl with fingers of granite reaching out in between.


Mt. Baldy via Ski Hut Trail 03.07.15
Looking Back At The Front Range
Mt. Baldy via Ski Hut Trail 03.07.15
On The Trail
Mt. Baldy via Ski Hut Trail 03.07.15
Pushing Up

After Baldy Bowl, the snow was deep and soft on the switchbacks up to the final summit push. It was so soft that I didn’t need to put my microspikes on. The footing was equally good all the way up to the summit of Mt. Baldy. The section of trail towards the top of Baldy Bowl still had some deep snow, and someone took the time to construct a pretty nice snowman. This is probably my favorite section of the Ski Hut Trail, as the hardest section of climbing is over and you get a nice break before your final climb.


Mt. Baldy via Ski Hut Trail 03.07.15
Snow Man
Mt. Baldy via Ski Hut Trail 03.07.15
Stunning Views
Mt. Baldy via Ski Hut Trail 03.07.15
Peaking

This was my fourth summit of Mt. Baldy this winter, and this was by far the most people I’ve seen at the top. It’s always nice to have the company, as there’s something about reaching the peak of a mountain that pumps contagious energy into the air. It was also nice to have such pleasant conditions, it was a warm day on the summit with temperatures in the low 40’s. I took a good 15 minute break to let my legs rest and take pictures.

Mt. Baldy via Ski Hut Trail 03.07.15
Peak Baggers
Mt. Baldy via Ski Hut Trail 03.07.15
Looking Down
Mt. Baldy via Ski Hut Trail 03.07.15
Not Quite Winter

The hike down Ski Hut Trail is always an enjoyable one, as the first mile offers views of Southern California with other peaks in the San Gabriels filling the foreground. At this point, the warmth of the day had really started to go to work on the snow beneath me. Much of the exposed sections of trail had turned to slush, and very little remained below 7000 ft. I’m glad I was able to make it up to enjoy the snow one last time. With the way the weather is going here in California, it could be a long time before I see these conditions again.


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.

16 comments on “Mt. Baldy via Ski Hut Trail 03.07.15

  1. Looks like you had a wonderful day. Beautiful photos! I have to say that I am jealous of your locale–I definitely couldn’t find 52 hikes here in the Chicago area. Some day we’ll move…

    Liked by 1 person

    • It was spectacular. We’re so lucky here in Southern California. We can hike at the desert, beach, or mountains, without having to drive more than an hour!

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  2. So glad you got to enjoy what will probably be the end of our snow season! 90° weather on the way!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great mountain top to visit. The views seems magnificent. Up here North we are experiencing the same snow situation. Many trails are snow free or at least partially snow free in areas that during usual year would not be accessible at all, or would require a long snowmobile ride to get to the trailhead. Sad sight to see.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s one of my favorites, I go at least once a month. It seems that the lack of snow is having an impact all over. I just read an article on the Iditarod dog race, as they don’t even have enough snow in Alaska. It will be interesting to see the impact of these conditions on John Muir Trail this summer.

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  4. Sounds like a great day.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thanks for the hike!

    Liked by 1 person

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  7. Im heading up this saturday with my husband. I hear its going to snow the night before. Any tips? Treking poles needed? Do you take snacks up? Anything will help thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

    • It really depends on how much snow accumulates. The day after a fresh snow, there tends to be nice powder which makes for slow moving, but fairly secure footing. Almost all winter ice will be gone. Julia and I will be hiking Cucamonga Peak on Saturday, which hangs on to more snow a litter more than Baldy. Trekking poles are very useful in snow, and microspikes can be a life saver. Bring 2-3 liters of water depending on your needs, and enough snacks to sustain your energy levels. 400-1000 calories is what we bring per person, but your needs may vary depending on fitness. Ski Hut Trail is my favorite Baldy trail to hike in the snow, but Devil’s Backbone can be pretty fun as well. Most of all, take your time and have fun!

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