Hiking Mt Baldy via Bear Canyon Old Mt. Baldy Trail
Dog Friendly Hikes San Bernardino County Hikes

Hiking Mt. Baldy via Bear Canyon Trail (Old Mt. Baldy Trail)

The Bear Canyon Trail, also known as Old Mt. Baldy Trail, is one of the toughest routes leading to the 10,064 summit of Mt. Baldy. Gaining 5,848ft in 6.4 miles, this hike requires a solid base level of fitness and a lot of determination.

The Bear Canyon Trail, also known as Old Mt. Baldy Trail, is one of the toughest routes leading to the 10,064 summit of Mt. Baldy. Gaining 5,848ft in 6.4 miles, this hike requires a solid base level of fitness and a lot of determination.

Hiking Mt Baldy via Bear Canyon Old Mt. Baldy Trail


Directions And GPS Tracks:

  • To hike Mt. Baldy via Bear Canyon, drive to 6777 Mt Baldy Rd, Mt Baldy, CA 91759. You’ll park on the west side Mt. Baldy Rd, right outside of the US Forestry Department and Mt. Baldy Visitor Center. Once you’ve parked, walk south towards the Mt. Baldy Lodge Restaurant and go right (west) onto Bear Canyon Dr. You’ll walk on Bear Canyon Dr for .4 miles before reaching the sign for Mt. Baldy Trail.
  • Download GPX
  • See track on Strava
Hiking Mt Baldy via Bear Canyon Old Mt. Baldy Trail
Parking on Mt. Baldy Rd.
Hiking Mt Baldy via Bear Canyon Old Mt. Baldy Trail
Bear Canyon Dr. is opposite Mt. Baldy Lodge

Key Points:

  • Distance: 12.8 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 5848 ft
  • Minimum Elevation: 10064 ft
  • Maximum Elevation: 4266 ft
  • Time: 5-9 hours
  • Difficulty: (4/5)
  • Dog Friendly: Yes, on leash
  • Permit Required: No, but an Adventure Pass is required to park
  • Parking: Park in Mt. Baldy Village, but do not take up the spaces at the Mt. Baldy Lodge.
  • Trail Condition: Steep single track. Treacherous snow and ice in the winter months.
  • Cell Phone Reception: Spotty at best

Make sure to hike with the right gear. See my current hiking gear list. 


Hike Map And Elevation Profile:

Hiking Mt Baldy via Bear Canyon Old Mt. Baldy Trail

Hiking Mt Baldy via Bear Canyon Old Mt. Baldy Trail


Hike Description:

0.0 Miles (4266ft)- Starting from the Mt. Baldy Lodge Restaurant, head west on Bear Canyon Dr. You’ll be on asphalt for the next .4 miles before reaching the official trailhead of the Bear Canyon Trail (marked Mt. Baldy Trail). You’ll start by passing through the Mt. Baldy Village Church parking lot.

Hiking Mt Baldy via Bear Canyon Old Mt. Baldy Trail
Mt. Baldy Village Church Parking Lot
Hiking Mt Baldy via Bear Canyon Old Mt. Baldy Trail
Hikers Welcome

While on the asphalt road, you’ll see the oldest and largest Bigcone Douglas Fir in existence. The Douglas Fir, named ‘Old Glory’, is 173ft tall and 91in in diameter. Old Glory is estimated to be 600-700 years old.

Hiking Mt Baldy via Bear Canyon Old Mt. Baldy Trail
Old Glory

0.4 Miles- The official (Old) Mt. Baldy Trail trail begins here. You’ll see from the trail sign that it’s 6 miles to the summit. This first stretch of trail starts out on a smooth and shaded series of switchbacks that meander near a creek and occasionally provide views out towards the front range of the San Gabriels.

Hiking Mt Baldy via Bear Canyon Old Mt. Baldy Trail
Trailhead
Hiking Mt Baldy via Bear Canyon Old Mt. Baldy Trail
Shaded Mornings
Hiking Mt Baldy via Bear Canyon Old Mt. Baldy Trail
Subtle Views

1.8 Miles (5525ft)- You’ll reach Bear Flat. From Bear Flat, you’ll crossover to the south facing base of Mt. Baldy and ascend a series of switchbacks. These switchbacks are steep and seem to go on forever when it’s hot out. Luckily, the views make up for it. As you climb higher, you’ll be able to see the Inland Empire, Baldy Village, and the 3 Ts.

Hiking Mt Baldy via Bear Canyon Old Mt. Baldy Trail
Bear Flat
Hiking Mt Baldy via Bear Canyon Old Mt. Baldy Trail
Switchbacks Up
Hiking Mt Baldy via Bear Canyon Old Mt. Baldy Trail
Higher Up

3.0 Miles (7155ft)- At three miles you’ll be finished with the switchbacks and begin a climb up a wide ridge. The three mile point of this hike is marked with a boulder that looks like it’s been hand sculpted.

Hiking Mt Baldy via Bear Canyon Old Mt. Baldy Trail
3 Mile Boulder
Hiking Mt Baldy via Bear Canyon Old Mt. Baldy Trail
The Ridge Ahead

3.3 Miles (7411ft)- The trail flattens out for a short while to give your legs and lungs a quick break. You’ll see a false peak up ahead that looks like it would be the summit of Mt. Baldy. It’s not. It’s the top of the ridge climb that will take you to the base of West Baldy.

Hiking Mt Baldy via Bear Canyon Old Mt. Baldy Trail
A Short Break

Continue climbing up the ridge towards the summit. If you’re not used to hiking at elevation, this is where you’ll probably start to feel it.

Hiking Mt Baldy via Bear Canyon Old Mt. Baldy Trail
On The Ridge
Hiking Mt Baldy via Bear Canyon Old Mt. Baldy Trail
Looking Back

4.7 Miles (9032ft)- Most of the hard work is done at this point, and you’ll reach the top of that false summit I mentioned earlier. This is my favorite stretch of the Bear Canyon Trail, and one of my favorite trail sections in all of the San Gabriels. You’ll start to catch glimpses of West Baldy and Mt. Baldy up ahead. To your right you’ll see Thunder, Timber, and Telegraph, as well as all the peaks in the front range.

Hiking Mt Baldy via Bear Canyon Old Mt. Baldy Trail
On The Spine
Hiking Mt Baldy via Bear Canyon Old Mt. Baldy Trail
Views Out

5.4 Miles (9478ft)- Only one mile and 600ft of climbing left in this hike. The trail starts to level out, which makes hiking at this altitude very manageable given the terrain you’ve just covered.

Hiking Mt Baldy via Bear Canyon Old Mt. Baldy Trail
One Mile Left

5.9 Miles (9782ft)- You’ll reach the saddle between West Baldy and Mt. Baldy. West Baldy is one of those deceptive peaks that looks taller than Mt. Baldy when you’re standing on Mt. Baldy’s summit. It’s not though. West Baldy only adds .4 miles roundtrip to your hike if you’re looking to bag another peak. Catch this one on your way down if you’re going to do it. For now, continue on towards the summit of Mt. Baldy.

Hiking Mt Baldy via Bear Canyon Old Mt. Baldy Trail
At the Baldy Saddle with the summit in view
Hiking Mt Baldy via Bear Canyon Old Mt. Baldy Trail
Almost there

6.4 Miles (10,064ft)- You’ll be standing on the 10,064ft summit of Mt. Baldy. Take some time to enjoy the views. Make sure to bring extra layers on this hike, as it can be frigid and windy at the summit, even on hot summer days.

Hiking Mt Baldy via Bear Canyon Old Mt. Baldy Trail
At The Summit
Hiking Mt Baldy via Bear Canyon Old Mt. Baldy Trail
Views

For your hike back down, you’ll take the exact same trail that you hiked up. The only wrinkle will be if you decide to hike up to the summit of West Baldy to bag another peak.

Hiking Mt Baldy via Bear Canyon Old Mt. Baldy Trail
Heading Up To West Baldy
Hiking Mt Baldy via Bear Canyon Old Mt. Baldy Trail
View From West Baldy
Hiking Mt Baldy via Bear Canyon Old Mt. Baldy Trail
Views Of Mt. Baldy

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.

13 comments on “Hiking Mt. Baldy via Bear Canyon Trail (Old Mt. Baldy Trail)

  1. That looks amazing. How often do you go hiking?

    • Thanks, Alexis. I try to go hiking at least once a week.

      • That’s great. So do I. Last week I went hiking in Vegas for the first time. Had a blast on Lone Mountain and the Red Rock Canyon.

      • Awesome. I’ve heard great things about Red Rock Canyon. I’m hoping to make it out there soon.

      • Yeah, it was great. A bit dangerous, but probably a walk in the park for you. Literally. Haha.

  2. Wonderful post. Your pics always make me want to hit the trails.

  3. Why does it have two names? Mt San Antonio and Mt Baldy?

    • Mt. San Antonio is the official name of the mountain, but everyone calls it Mt. Baldy. The San Antonio name came from a local rancher in California’s early years. As settlers moved into the area, they referred to it as Baldy because of the barren and treeless landscape of the south facing side that’s visible from the LA/Inland Empire region. It’s a big bald dome that dominates the landscape. I feel like they should just officially change the name to Mt. Baldy, because most people have never even heard the Mt. San Antonio name.

  4. Mike Hohmann

    Great hike, Drew. I loved the first pic with the light trail across scree field going out in the distance. Lots of good pics. I’ll make a note of this one; a good one day workout when visiting! Thx.

    • Thanks, Mike! This is one of my favorite local hikes in the area. Hopefully you can make it out soon to try this one.

  5. Kevin Navarro

    sup drew, im pretty familar with Mt Baldy, done it dozen of times and a few times during winter. anyway one approach thats been on my list for quite some time is the north backbone trail from Guffy campground, have you done it from that side? information on it is scarce. ive walked to guffy from highway two but could not locate the Pine Mt trail which ultimately leads to Dawson and then Mt. Baldy.

    • Hey, Kevin. I’ve never done the trail from Guffy. Like you, it’s been on my list for a while. I’m going to do it this summer once a little more snow melts.

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