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San Antonio Falls - Sierra Club Ski Hut - Devil's Backbone

Difficult
 4.7 (27) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

A fun but strenuous hike around some key features in the area.


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Map Key

10.8

Miles

17.3

KM

Loop

9,991' 3,045 m

High

6,178' 1,883 m

Low

3,810' 1,161 m

Up

3,813' 1,162 m

Down

13%

Avg Grade (8°)

72%

Max Grade (36°)

Dogs Leashed

Features Spring · Views · Waterfall · Wildlife

Overview

This hike hits all the highlights in the area including the falls, ski hut, summits, and the Devil's Backbone Trail. This hike is an undertaking for sure, not just because of its length, but the grade of the climbs are fairly intense.

Need to Know

This is a strenuous hike; make sure you're prepared for it.

Description

From the parking area at Manker Flat, head north on Baldy Road #3N01, a service road with an easy grade. At 0.5 miles, the road turns to head back south; at this northern point, hikers will have a nice view of the falls, but the adventurous can reach the bottom of the falls by following a rough trail further north. Do not try to climb the falls.

Return to the road and continue on; at almost one mile, there is a junction with Baldy Bowl Trail #7W02 which heads north. Take a left to follow Baldy Bowl Trail #7W02 as it ascends steeply along the edge of the San Antonio Canyon. The trail is steep but at least it is shaded by white fir, oaks and Jeffery pine trees. The right turn for the Sierra Club ski hut is two miles from the junction with Baldy Road #3N01. There is a spring near the hut.

Return to Baldy Bowl Trail #7W02 and continue to climb up steep switchbacks to a shady ridge that overlooks the headwaters of the San Antonio Canyon. The trail continues to be quite rugged, but on a clear day the views from the summit of Mount San Antonio (aka Mt. Baldy), reached four miles into the hike, are fantastic. The Devil's Backbone, Mt. Harwood, the San Gabriel and San Bernardino mountain ranges, and the Mojave Desert are all visible.

Hikers of course can return the way they came, but a somewhat easier (though longer) way down is to follow the Devil's Backbone Trail off the summit. The grade this direction is much gentler, especially as you get further from the peaks. At mile six, Turkey Shoot trail splits off to the right; continue on the Devil's Backbone Trail until you reach Mt. Baldy Notch and the junction with Baldy Road #3N01 at 7.1 miles. Head down the easy grade of the fire road enjoying the views as you descend back to the parking lot or take the ski lift from the notch.

Thanks to John McKinney, The Trailmaster, for sharing this trail description. To learn more about trails in California, check out his guides at The Trailmaster Store.

Flora & Fauna

White fir, Jeffery pine, sugar pine, lodgepole pine and limber pines are in the area. Watch for bighorn sheep.

History & Background

Mount San Antonio was named in 1790 after Saint Anthony, a 13th-century friar from Italy. In the 1870s, it was nicknamed "Old Baldy" because of its impressively bare summit.

Contacts

Shared By:

John McKinney

Trail Ratings

  4.7 from 27 votes

#1

in Mt. Baldy

#302

Overall
  4.7 from 27 votes
5 Star
74%
4 Star
22%
3 Star
4%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Recommended Route Rankings

#1

in Mt. Baldy

#49

in California

#302

Overall
98 Views Last Month
5,199 Since Aug 9, 2017
Difficult

0%
0%
0%
4%
92%
4%

Photos

Following the leader!
May 20, 2019 near Wrightwood, CA
Windswept trees just below the summit...
May 20, 2019 near Wrightwood, CA
Summit of Mt. San Antonio facing south-east.
Aug 5, 2015 near Wrightwood, CA
Downed Tree...
May 20, 2019 near Wrightwood, CA
Blue skies on the way to the top of Badly.
May 20, 2019 near Wrightwood, CA
Using my hands to hike...
May 20, 2019 near Wrightwood, CA

Weather


Current Trail Conditions

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All Clear 10 days ago See History
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Check-Ins

Aug 1, 2020
Vince C
Jul 18, 2020
Bryan Pavalko
Jul 11, 2020
Bryan Pavalko
Jun 29, 2020
kate g
Jun 28, 2020
Caroline Charpentier
11mi — 5h 15m
May 30, 2020
JAMES TEJEDA
May 23, 2020
Jeremiah Kalan
11.5mi — 7h 50m
Nov 16, 2019
Dark Renji

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