Hiking The Mt. Baldy 6 Peak Loop: West Baldy, Mt. Baldy, Harwood, Thunder, Telegraph, and Timber
San Bernardino County Hikes

Hiking The Mt. Baldy 6 Peak Loop: West Baldy, Mt. Baldy, Harwood, Thunder, Telegraph, and Timber

This 21 mile loop hike strings together my favorite trails and mountain peaks in the San Gabriel mountains. Starting on the Bear Canyon Trail, you'll climb 5,848ft to the summits of West Baldy and Mt. Baldy. From there, you'll hit Mt. Harwood before finishing off on the 3 T's trail with Thunder Mountain, Telegraph Peak, and Timber Mountain.

This 21 mile loop hike strings together my favorite trails and mountain peaks in the San Gabriel mountains. Starting on the Bear Canyon Trail (Old Mt. Baldy Trail), you’ll climb 5,848ft to the summits of West Baldy and the 10,064ft Mt. Baldy. From there, you’ll hit the 9,551ft Mt. Harwood before finishing off on the 3 T’s trail with Thunder Mountain, Telegraph Peak, and Timber Mountain. After reaching your final summit on Timber Mountain, you hike down to the Icehouse Saddle and descend the Icehouse Canyon Trail. From the Icehouse Canyon parking lot there is a 2 mile stretch of road back to the starting point in Mt. Baldy Village.

Hiking The Mt. Baldy 6 Peak Loop: West Baldy, Mt. Baldy, Harwood, Thunder, Telegraph, and Timber


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. past the Mt. Baldy Village Church. You’ll walk on Bear Canyon Dr for .4 miles before reaching the sign for Mt. Baldy Trail.
  • Download GPX
  • See track on Strava

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.


Key Points:

  • Distance: 21 miles (19 without the road section)
  • Elevation Gain: 8556 ft
  • Minimum Elevation: 4266 ft
  • Maximum Elevation: 10064 ft
  • Time: 7-12 hours
  • Difficulty: (4/5)
  • Dog Friendly: Yes, but not advisable
  • 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: Virtually none

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


Hike Map And Elevation Profile:

Hiking The Mt. Baldy 6 Peak Loop: West Baldy, Mt. Baldy, Harwood, Thunder, Telegraph, and Timber Hiking The Mt. Baldy 6 Peak Loop: West Baldy, Mt. Baldy, Harwood, Thunder, Telegraph, and Timber


Hike Description:

0.0 Miles (4266ft)- You’ll definitely wan’t to get an early start for this hike, so make sure to arrive to the trailhead before sunrise. The first stretch of trail through Bear Canyon is pretty gradual. You’ll reach Bear Flat at 1.8 miles, and that’s when you’ll need your climbing legs ready. You’ll get some early views of the 3 Ts, which gives you a nice sense of what’s to come.

Hiking The Mt. Baldy 6 Peak Loop: West Baldy, Mt. Baldy, Harwood, Thunder, Telegraph, and Timber
Sunrise
Hiking The Mt. Baldy 6 Peak Loop: West Baldy, Mt. Baldy, Harwood, Thunder, Telegraph, and Timber
The 3 Ts

4.7 Miles (9000ft)- Enjoy the views of West Baldy and Mt. Baldy as you pass 9,000ft in elevation.

Hiking The Mt. Baldy 6 Peak Loop: West Baldy, Mt. Baldy, Harwood, Thunder, Telegraph, and Timber
At 9,000ft

It’s easy to miss the turnoff for West Baldy, as the Bear Canyon Trail heads straight to the summit of Mt. Baldy. In the photo below, you’ll see West Baldy on the left with Mt. Baldy just over the horizon. When you reach a small saddle between the two peaks, you can turn back and head up the short ridge to West Baldy.

Hiking The Mt. Baldy 6 Peak Loop: West Baldy, Mt. Baldy, Harwood, Thunder, Telegraph, and Timber
Heading Towards West Baldy

6.2 Miles (9971ft)- The views from West Baldy are some of my favorite in the San Gabriels. Take your time and enjoy them, because the crowds that gather at the summit of Mt. Baldy can make it a little difficult. You’ll be able to see the summit of Mt. Baldy to the northeast. It’s close enough that you can make out the shapes of people walking around.

Hiking The Mt. Baldy 6 Peak Loop: West Baldy, Mt. Baldy, Harwood, Thunder, Telegraph, and Timber
From West Baldy
Hiking The Mt. Baldy 6 Peak Loop: West Baldy, Mt. Baldy, Harwood, Thunder, Telegraph, and Timber
Looking at Mt. Baldy

6.7 Miles (10064ft)- From the summit of Mt. Baldy you’ll have reached the highest point of this loop hike. From here, you’ll take the Devil’s Backbone Trail to Mt. Harwood.

Hiking The Mt. Baldy 6 Peak Loop: West Baldy, Mt. Baldy, Harwood, Thunder, Telegraph, and Timber
Looking At West Baldy
Hiking The Mt. Baldy 6 Peak Loop: West Baldy, Mt. Baldy, Harwood, Thunder, Telegraph, and Timber
At The Summit

As you descend Mt. Baldy, you’ll look right down onto the summit of Mt. Harwood. The main trail cuts right of the summit ridge, but you’ll see a use trail that heads to the top of a saddle between the two peaks.

Hiking The Mt. Baldy 6 Peak Loop: West Baldy, Mt. Baldy, Harwood, Thunder, Telegraph, and Timber
Heading Down Baldy To Harwood

7.3 Miles (9551ft)- Mt. Harwood is an uneventful peak without much by way of views that aren’t offered on Mt. Baldy. The nice thing about Harwood is that you’ll almost never see anyone else at the summit. Once you’ve reached the summit, continue on the use trail to rejoin the Devil’s Backbone Trail.

Hiking The Mt. Baldy 6 Peak Loop: West Baldy, Mt. Baldy, Harwood, Thunder, Telegraph, and Timber
Harwood In View

The downhill stretch on the Devil’s Backbone trail is a nice place to catch your breath and take in my favorite view on this loop hike.

Hiking The Mt. Baldy 6 Peak Loop: West Baldy, Mt. Baldy, Harwood, Thunder, Telegraph, and Timber
The Backbone
Hiking The Mt. Baldy 6 Peak Loop: West Baldy, Mt. Baldy, Harwood, Thunder, Telegraph, and Timber
On The Backbone

9.6 Miles (7779ft)- Just before hitting the 10 mile mark and the halfway point you’ll reach The Top Of The Notch Restaurant. This is the location of the Mt. Baldy Ski Lift as well. At the restaurant, you’ll find food, drinks, and snacks. There is a water fountain available to refill your bottles. These guys provide restrooms, water, and services to hikers and backpackers, so try to purchase something and support the business if possible.

Once you’ve reloaded on fluids at The Notch, you’ll make your way up to Thunder Mountain.

11.1 Miles (8587ft)- The summit block of Thunder Mountain is also the top of the Mt. Baldy ski lift. Just west of the summit you’ll find the start of the 3 T’s Trail.

Hiking The Mt. Baldy 6 Peak Loop: West Baldy, Mt. Baldy, Harwood, Thunder, Telegraph, and Timber
Thunder In View
Hiking The Mt. Baldy 6 Peak Loop: West Baldy, Mt. Baldy, Harwood, Thunder, Telegraph, and Timber
Thunder Mountain

You’ll get a nice view of Telegraph Peak from Thunder Mountain, so take the time to enjoy it then head west to catch 3 T’s.

Hiking The Mt. Baldy 6 Peak Loop: West Baldy, Mt. Baldy, Harwood, Thunder, Telegraph, and Timber
Telegraph in View

The first stretch of the 3 T’s trail loses a little elevation until you reach a saddle between Thunder Mountain and Telegraph Peak. This saddle provides views of the high desert to the northeast, and the Inland Empire to the southwest.

Hiking The Mt. Baldy 6 Peak Loop: West Baldy, Mt. Baldy, Harwood, Thunder, Telegraph, and Timber
The Saddle
Hiking The Mt. Baldy 6 Peak Loop: West Baldy, Mt. Baldy, Harwood, Thunder, Telegraph, and Timber
High Desert

At 12.3 miles you’ll reach a junction on 3 T’s Trail. Take the use trail east and leave 3 T’s behind for a .4 mile hike to the summit of Telegraph Peak.

12.7 Miles (8986ft)- The small summit block of Telegraph can have you feeling like you’re looking out from a bird’s nest. From this vantage point, you’ll be able to look clear over Thunder Mountain towards West Baldy, Mt. Baldy, and Mt. Harwood. The difficult hiking is mostly finished at this point, and there is only one more peak to go.

Hiking The Mt. Baldy 6 Peak Loop: West Baldy, Mt. Baldy, Harwood, Thunder, Telegraph, and Timber
Views Out
Hiking The Mt. Baldy 6 Peak Loop: West Baldy, Mt. Baldy, Harwood, Thunder, Telegraph, and Timber
Looking Back At Baldy

There is a stretch of sandy switchbacks that lead down from the summit of Telegraph Peak. Be mindful of your footing here if you’re walking on weary legs, it would be pretty easy to take a spill. The view of Thunder Mountain up ahead should keep your energy levels and spirits high.

Hiking The Mt. Baldy 6 Peak Loop: West Baldy, Mt. Baldy, Harwood, Thunder, Telegraph, and Timber
Timber In View

15.1 Miles (8303ft)- Just like Telegraph Peak, you’ll need to leave the 3 T’s trail behind to hit Timber Mountain. This junction actually has a ‘Timber Mountain’ sign post and let’s you know you have .25 miles to the summit. Once you’ve reached the peak of Timber, you can double back to catch the 3 T’s trail to the Icehouse Saddle or navigate the use-trail on Timber’s south facing ridge to Icehouse Saddle.

Hiking The Mt. Baldy 6 Peak Loop: West Baldy, Mt. Baldy, Harwood, Thunder, Telegraph, and Timber
The Final Summit!

Once you’ve reached the Icehouse Saddle, you’ll have a pleasant 3.5 mile descent to the Icehouse Canyon parking lot. You can run or walk the 2 mile stretch of asphalt road back to Mt. Baldy village, or if you’re in a group, you can park two cars in the morning and shuttle back.


 

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.

4 comments on “Hiking The Mt. Baldy 6 Peak Loop: West Baldy, Mt. Baldy, Harwood, Thunder, Telegraph, and Timber

  1. I have been there!! It was awesome. When we were on the shale slope of the summit an army jet flew through a nearby pass and they were below us. I know we didn’t do 21 miles but it was a lot longer than we anticipated since we took a wrong turn somewhere and ended up following a beautiful stream into the village – had to walk back up to our car near the ski lifts. Thanks for reminding me of a beautiful experience. The pictures were exactly as I remembered it.

  2. Lovely views!!

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