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

Difficult
  4.8 ( 21 ) Favorite

Trail

10.8 mile 17.3 kilometer loop
Difficult

Elevation

Ascent: 3,810' 1,161 m
Descent: -3,813' -1,162 m
High: 9,991' 3,045 m
Low: 6,178' 1,883 m

Grade

Avg Grade: 13% (8°)
Max Grade: 72% (36°)

Dogs

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Trail shared by John McKinney

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

John McKinney

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.

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Family Friendly, ADA Accessible

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Check-Ins

Sep 18, 2019
Sven Blublublub
Sep 9, 2019
JT Stukes
11mi — 5h 00m
Sep 2, 2019
Arturo Chavez
10.8mi — 5h 10m
Aug 31, 2019
Diana Ngole
Did the loop, would probably stick to an in-and-out route with the Devil's Backbone. 11mi — 6h 59m
Aug 20, 2019
Dennis
W Amrita and Peenut
Aug 10, 2019
William Nicolas
1:55 to get to the top of mount baldy. took our sweet time with Kevin for the way down through the devil's backbone 17.3mi
Aug 6, 2019
Evan Stade
11.4mi — 5h 34m
Aug 3, 2019
Breda Lund

Stewarded By


Trail Ratings

  4.8 from 21 votes

#1

in Mt. Baldy

#289

Overall
  4.8 from 21 votes
5 Star
81%
4 Star
14%
3 Star
5%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Featured Hike Rankings

#1

in Mt. Baldy

#48

in California

#289

Overall
159 Views Last Month
3,896 Since Aug 9, 2017
Difficult

0%
0%
0%
21%
74%
5%

Photos

Following the leader!
May 20, 2019 near Wrightwood, CA
Summit of Mt. San Antonio facing south-east.
Aug 5, 2015 near Wrightwood, CA
Windswept trees just below the summit...
May 20, 2019 near Wrightwood, CA
Blue skies on the way to the top of Badly.
May 20, 2019 near Wrightwood, CA
Downed Tree...
May 20, 2019 near Wrightwood, CA
Looking toward a ridge section with great views!
Aug 1, 2015 near Wrightwood, CA

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