Tips for Hiking Mount Baldy
Hiking Mount Baldy is a strenuous and wonderful experience. Over the years, I have seen the crowds grow substantially for those looking to hike Mount Baldy. I think it’s great that more people are getting out and enjoying the outdoors! I also think it’s important that we all do it responsibly. Here are some tips for hiking Mount Baldy with a successful summit!
- Water, water, water
Seriously. Hiking Mount Baldy gets hot, and especially hiking from 6,000 to 10,000 feet, hydration is SO important. You should have at least 3-4 liters of water with you for hiking Mount Baldy. The Mount Baldy hiking loop is 11 miles, but you can refill at the Baldy ski lodge on the way up or down. In some years where water levels are higher, there is a stream near the San Antonio ski hut. You can consider bringing a water filter so that you don’t have to carry as much from the start, but check with local rangers before your hike.
- Leave extra water in the car for your return
Should you finish all your water on the way down (and if you’re hydrating properly, you will), it’s always nice to have some extra in the car for your return. Town is a few miles away, but then the closest CVS and gas station are about 20 minutes down towards the freeway.
- Leave a yummy surprise in the car for your return
You just hiked a huge mountain – you deserve a treat. Nothing is better than getting to your car at the end of the 11 miles to a box of oreos or doritos. Sure, the ingredients are all fake, but they taste damn good. And In&Out afterwards is always encouraged.
- Hike your own hike
This really applies to all hikes – hike at your own pace. Don’t worry if other people are hiking faster than you. You need to hike smart. If you’re tired, rest – but try not to take long breaks because that can often make you more tired. But, take it slow if you want, stop for 30 second breaks when you need them, and don’t forget to enjoy the view around you!
- Maybe don’t take your dog….
This is a huge one for me. When I hiked Mount Baldy in August one year, it was really, really hot. I can’t tell you how many dogs I saw that shouldn’t have been up there. My dog is a well-conditioned dog for hiking and has done Mount Baldy multiple times in the non-hot seasons, and I made the decision to leave him home for that one. Not only is it really hot, but it’s super dry, and there is no cover from trees near the top.
Don’t make your dog suffer – just let them stay at home and sleep. If you’re hiking Mount Baldy outside of the summer season, you should be okay. I’ve taken my pup in February and October and both times were comfortable, but please leave them home in the hot summer.
- Pick up trash
As I’ve mentioned, Mount Baldy is one of my favorite hikes in California, and I’m sure we’d all like to keep it that way. Please don’t expect someone else to clean up after you. I picked up so much trash on my last summit – wrappers, bottles, napkins, etc. If you drop something, pick it up. If you see someone else’s trash, do your part – please. Let’s keep this mountain beautiful!
- Hike with the right gear
For me, gear is like candy to a baby. I love it, and I can’t get enough of it. But, it’s not just for show – the gear I buy is technical and purposeful (and maybe sometimes I need 3 of each?). Hiking Mount Baldy with the right gear could mean the difference between summitting, or not.
Good hiking boots make a difference when you’re hiking – you want something with good grip, and I twist my ankles all the time, so good ankle support is important, especially when my legs are tired. Having the right kind of backpack to carry the right amount of easily-accessible water is really nice. Hiking poles can be incredibly helpful, especially when hiking downhill (your knees will thank you), and you can even find the right kind of lightweight flask for your celebratory summit whisky!