Dog Friendly Hikes Hiking Trails

Mt. Baldy Summit Camping For Summer Solstice 06.21.15

Mt. Baldy Summit Camping

This Sunday I finished hike number 33/52 for the 52 Hike Challenge in 2015. This hike was special, as I camped at the summit of Mt. Baldy with Julia, Isla, and Lilly. It’s always a lot of fun to kick off the first day of summer and enjoy the longest day of the year.

We wanted to make it a speedy ascent and decided on taking the 4 mile Ski Hut Trail to the summit. It was also a great opportunity to get some John Muir Trail training in, so we packed our bags in the same way that we would for the trail. The trek up was fairly void of hikers, which we expected with a 3:30 PM start time. Having hiked this trail 10+ times, it was really cool to see the different colors and shading from the afternoon sun. It made it feel like a brand new hike.

I knew this was going to be a great day early on, as we saw a deer drinking from the stream just after the iconic green ski hut. Isla and Lilly were alert, but very relaxed in the deer’s presence. We continued on, and made our way up the shaded switchbacks to the saddle beneath Baldy Bowl.

Mt. Baldy Summit Camping
On The Switchbacks

Just as we left the saddle, we passed two groups who said they were planning to camp on the summit as well. They looked to be struggling a bit with their heavy packs, so we passed on and made our way towards the summit.

We were the only ones standing atop Mt. Baldy when we took our final steps to the summit. Isla and Lilly started sniffing around in a familiar way, and it was really cool to see how familiar they’ve become with hiking Mt. Baldy.

Mt. Baldy Summit Camping
Lilly At The Summit
Mt. Baldy Summit Camping
Isla Takes In The Views

Being the first ones to reach the peak, we had first choice of summit campsites. Julia just purchased a new tent, the Tarptent Double Rainbow, so we picked a spot we knew would be windy to test it out. The north ridge of Baldy always gets blasted with a sweeping wind from the high desert, or from the direction of the Santa Ana’s. Either way, we set up the tent knowing it would be a baptism by fire.

Mt. Baldy Summit Camping
Tarptent Double Rainbow
Mt. Baldy Summit Camping
Tarptent Double Rainbow

After setting the tent up, we fed Isla and Lilly and then made ourselves some dinner. The timing worked out perfectly, as we finished eating just as the sun began to disappear on the Western horizon.

Mt. Baldy Summit Camping
Julia and the Sun

As soon as the sun went down and we began to settle into our tent for the night, we realized that the wind test could have been a mistake. We were hoping for gusts in the 20-30 range, what we received was a constant blast of 50-60mph winds all night long. The gusts were so strong that I couldn’t stand upright outside. I’m a pretty strong guy at 185 lbs, but I was no match for the wind. Luckily for us, the tent was! Although it was noisy, the tent had no trouble keeping stable in the howling flood of air.

Mt. Baldy Summit Camping
Oblivious to the Wind

Being that we hiked up on a Sunday, we had to wake up at 5 am to hike down in time for work. Fighting the wind, we hid Isla and Lilly behind the break, and packed up our camp. Just as we began our descent from the summit, the morning sun began to rise from the east. The colors were spectacular, with photons of light fighting through the hazy smoke of the Lake Fire in the San Gorgonio Wilderness Area.

Mt. Baldy Summit Camping
The Girls At Sunsrise
Mt. Baldy Summit Camping
The Descent Begins

The temperature began to rise just as quickly as the sun did, and we had our jackets off in no time. We always reward Isla and Lilly with a big meal of their favorite wet food after hikes, and I think they’re starting to anticipate it. They always get overly excited and giddy on the downhills which makes for a lot of fun.

Mt. Baldy Summit Camping
Downhill Selfit
Mt. Baldy Summit Camping
On The Trail

We made it to the parking lot in time to clean up and make it home before the start of the workday. This was an incredible way to start the week, and the perfect way to kick off the summer.

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.

22 comments on “Mt. Baldy Summit Camping For Summer Solstice 06.21.15

  1. Isla looks so much like a grown-up version of my Neil! Your dogs are awesome and I hope to hit this trail when Neil gets a little older. I’m going to shove photos of Isla in Neil’s face as motivation :P. He loves the few hiking trails he’s been on anyway, gotta take it easy since he’s still a puppy.

    I need to do this trail! The photos are awesome and the write-up was a joy to read. I’ve been looking at Tarptent’s products for a while, but I’m hesitant to buy something I can’t see in person. This one seems to have done well on its maiden voyage, but what are your guys’ thoughts on the durability and general construction? Happy with it so far?

    Thanks for another great post!

    • How cool! I’m sure Neil will love it when he gets older. Tarptents are great for 3 season hiking. They’re very lightweight, and one of the few lightweight tents that can handle wind and rain. The durability and construction seem top notch, but only time will tell. I did extensive research before the purchase, and am very confident in the quality and longevity of the Double Rainbow.

      • Thanks! My tarp shelter just quit on me recently so I’m looking at lots of options. Much appreciated! 🙂

      • Nice! No problem!

  2. That looks like an amazing way to spend a Sunday! Your photos of the sunset and sunrise are so beautiful. Your dogs are so cute too! They are very lucky to have such a fun adventure filled life.

  3. Another awesome post on another great mini trip. LOVE reading your adventures!

  4. Wow, the campsite looks awesome!

  5. Lovely to see the dogs!!
    Great photography as usual 🙂

  6. Fabulous shots. What a great backpacking destination!

  7. Beautiful pics! What sleeping pads are those? I checked out your gear list but it wasn’t the same one. if you have a review of it posted, can you please direct me to it? Thank you!

  8. These pictures are AMAZING! I’m so jealous! I wish I had more time to do these and post about them!

  9. I took my tarptent double rainbow out for its first overnight last weekend. I think it is a great compromise between weight and functionality. It could be lighter but I like having some of the extras that it has. And it is very roomy.

    • I agree, it could be made a little lighter with cuben fiber, but the cost would make it unreasonable. As is, it’s a great balance of size, weight, and affordability.

      • I was thinking more about the extra usability features that the tarptent has. For example little gear pockets inside the tent, very good roof vents, the extra flap on the door (not sure if this is needed), the ability to pitch it using trekking poles, all of the extra tying points and other features. This could easily save 5+ oz but the tent wouldn’t be nearly as good.

      • I agree. There are a lot of “luxury” additions that could be removed to shave some weight. I like having them though, especially for longer trips.

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