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Devil's Backbone Trail #7W05



3.1 mile 5.0 kilometer point to point


Ascent: 2,184' 666 m
Descent: -11' -3 m
High: 9,997' 3,047 m
Low: 7,824' 2,385 m


Avg Grade: 13% (8°)
Max Grade: 39% (21°)


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Trail shared by Tracy Sulkin

A popular trail from Mt. Baldy Notch to the top of Mt. Baldy.

Tracy Sulkin

Features Views · Wildflowers

Need to Know

Adventure Pass required to park at Manker Flat. Trail is very dangerous if there is snow or ice.


The trail starts at Mt. Baldy Notch which can be reached by taking the Baldy Road #3N01 from Manker Flat or riding the ski lift which operates on most weekends. From the notch, head north on the dirt road to the top of the ski lift. From there it becomes a singletrack trail that follows a ridge with sheer drops on both sides.

Along the trail before Mt. Harwood, you have great views of the east side of the mountains. When the trail opens up below Mt. Harwood, you can see Baldy Bowl and the west ridge.

On the summit of Mt. Baldy, you have a 360-degree view, with Baden Powell to the northeast, the Sierra Nevada Mountains in the far distance to the north, San Jacinto and Mt. San Gorgonio to the east. You can often see the ocean and Catalina Island, and even make out the isthmus on a clear day. There are rock rings and plenty of room to kick back and have a snack.

A really pleasant finish to your day could be a ski lift ride down. It provides a beautiful view that you don't get from the service road on your way up. It takes about 20 minutes and glides smoothly down the mountain. If you parked near the locked gate at Manker Flat, it's less than 0.5 mile to hike back to your car. (The lift saves about 3 miles.) Tickets, one way or round trip, can be purchased in advance or inside the restaurant at the notch. Totally worth it.

Flora & Fauna

The section of the trail that parallels the service road from the notch is semi-shaded with Jeffrey pines, sugar pines and white fir. Manzanita, ceanothus and chinquapin are the most common other ground cover. Past the highest chair lift tower, the trees start thinning out with limited shade from lodgepole and limber pines. The landscape below Mt. Harwood is like a movie set, especially on foggy days--my favorite area. Just past Mt. Harwood, you reach tree line where the trees are more stunted.

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Jun 8, 2019
Bryan W Adventure
6.2mi — 3h 20m
Oct 27, 2018
Ryan Dunn
Beautiful weather at the peak! 12mi
Oct 7, 2018
Sharon Zhao
Sep 22, 2018
lauren yakuta
Out and back from Manker Flats Campground
Jul 11, 2018
Charm Smith
Jul 4, 2018
Scott S
Jun 3, 2018
Jennifer Gramley
Jan 14, 2018
Nathan B-E
Mostly dry. Some snow patches are melting after the Han snowstorm. Done in hiking boots 3.1mi

Trail Ratings

  4.4 from 16 votes


in Mt. Baldy


  4.4 from 16 votes
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