Mt. Baldy Loop via Bear Canyon Trail

another great training hike, via a non-common route

*Originally hiked: May 1, 2021

Followed by a great overnight training on Mt. San Jacinto, we decided to do the next tall peak as an overnighter too.  Plans changed and we only did 1 day, but we packed like we were going overnight that helped with training with weight in our packs.  Mount San Antonio (Mt. Baldy) via Bear Canyon Trail is a perfect training hike for those training for the John Muir Trail (which we were training for) or Mt. Whitney or any other hard hike they are about to embark on.

Location Mileage Elevation Gain Type
San Gabriel Mountains 16.01 miles 5,734 feet Loop

Mount San Antonio sits at 10,066 feet in the San Gabriel Mountains/Angeles National Forest.  It is the 3rd highest isolated peak in Los Angeles County.  The peak is also referred to as Mt. Baldy, referring to it’s “bare fell-field” terrain visible from Los Angeles.

Vlog on YouTube

Permits, Direction & Weather

*No permit is needed to hike Mt. Baldy.

Parking permit needed:  You will need a Forest Adventure Pass that costs $5 per day or if you’re a frequent visitor I’d recommend the Annual Pass for $30.  Interested in finding a place that sells Adventure Pass click here.

Directions:  Drive towards Mt. Baldy Village.  The best address to put in in my perspective is 6777 Mt Baldy Rd, Mt Baldy, CA 91759.  Find parking along the way, we actually parked up near Icehouse Canyon Trailhead as that was where we were going to end our trip.

Weather:  Mt. Baldy Village  &  Mt. Baldy Summit

Maps, Books and Gear Recommendations

Mt. Baldy, Cucamonga Wilderness, Trail Map
Trail Map Angeles High Country Map
Therm-a-Rest Z Lite Sol Ultralite Foam Backpacking Mattress
Sierra Designs Women’s Whitney Jacket, 800 Fill DriDown Insulation, Packable and Hooded Winter Jacket

Hike Stats


I’ve hike Mt. Baldy twice already, but from different routes: via Ski Hut Trail and via Backbone Trail.  They say this is the hardest route; but honestly they’re all hard!!!

Usually when I hike locally, I like to wake up super early at 4am to beat the crowds and be able to get parking near the trailhead.  For some reason I wasn’t feeling very well and decided to sleep in till about 530am and only got to trailhead by 730am.  With that said – we just needed to get parking near Mt. Baldy Village as that is where the start of the trailhead is.


through the town and up the back way for a training hike

After we parked a little up the road from the turnoff to Icehouse Canyon (we were going to come out that way the next day); we proceeded to town and made a right straight across the street form the restaurant.  First part of the hike you find yourself amidst some exquisitely designed homes; that lead behind them to a small trail called Bear Canyon.

To be honest, the most I remember from this is hike is that I wanted to give up many times.  Once you get onto the the trail it is an uphill battle, sometimes ranging in a 30 degree vertical; there were many many breaks. I really enjoyed the views and looking down to see how far we have come up during the insane uphill switchbacks.  I’m pretty sure we even took a nap, once we reached the ridgeline.

quick trot through the snow and summiting

Before we hit the summit there was a short time that the trail did not have any elevation gain, which was such a nice break from the morning crazy climb.  Once we got close to West Baldy, there were a couple patches of snow; nothing that warranted us using microspikes (even though we packed them in case).  Once we reached the summit it was extremely windy, we didn’t spend much time at all there.  We raced down the the ski lift where our next water source would be and we ended up making the decision to take the ski lift down to the parking lot and walk back to the car and call it for the day.

Ski lift and pavement walk/hitch to car

I think it was a good decision, puppy was being babysat – we had already done about 14 miles.  The chairlift is $24.99 for roundtrip and since we were only taking it one way I think we paid about $15 at the restaurant bar.  Once we got done with the windy chairlift ride, we slowly trotted along the paved road to where our car was parked.  It was much longer than we thought it would be, so I did something I’ve never done before and put my thumb out for a hitch.  A nice couple with a truck picked us up and took us down the the car; it was pretty awesome hanging out in the bed of a truck getting a ride after such a long hard day.  Thank you friendly couple who took care of us!

I hope you enjoyed this write up and if you have any questions don’t hesitate to write comments below.

Happy Adventures! Annette


One thought on “Mt. Baldy Loop via Bear Canyon Trail

  1. I always have some practice hill walks with my big pack before I take it anywhere for real as I never carry anything much on my normal hill walks here unless it’s either Scotland or winter.

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