Park at Manker Flat. Parking is on the west side of the divided road a 1/2 mile below the Baldy Ski Lifts. A National Forest Adventure Pass is required for your vehicle while parked the the trailhead. This can be obtained at the Visitor Center in Baldy Village for $5.00 a day or $30.00 for an annual pass.
Walk past the locked gate of Falls Road and follow the dirt road for almost 2 miles to the ski lodge. This is Baldy Notch. Follow any of the ski runs west to the top or the ski area boundry. From the top of the ski lift, follow the fire road up the ridge. The fire road ends at the Devil's Backbone, and it is a trail from there on up to the summit. 13 miles round trip. Many people opt to park at the ski area parking and take the first ski lift up to Baldy Notch. If the lift is running this will knock off almost 4 miles round trip and 1,500 feet of elevation gain.
Water. Snowshoes, crampons and ice axe may be needed in wintertime depending on snowpack.
Register Ridge Variation
Author: Mike Zimmerman
Date: June 27, 2004 2:50 PM
Follow the San Antonio Ski Hut Trail route as if you are heading up to the Ski Hut. When you take the turn off to the left off of the fire road, head up the trail that goes to the Sierra Club Ski Hut. Look for a rusted register box on the right side of the trail. You will notice that the trail makes a sharp turn towards the north as you hike up from the register box, travel up the trail approximately 40 meters past the register box. There is a use trail that goes up to the right, follow this up onto the ridge.
This is the ridge that you will follow all the way up and is the SE Ridge, called Register Ridge, that goes up toward the summit of Mt. Harwood. Stay on the ridge, which is pretty steep, and keep climbing up. You will come to a distinct flat spot, about 3/8 of a mile below the Baldy Notch Trail. From here, this is the steepest part of the route in which you gain about 800 feet in a quarter of a mile. Eventually, the climb up the SE Ridge meets the Baldy Notch Trail, just SE of the summit of Mt. Harwood. Turn left on the trail and head west toward the summit of Mt. Baldy.
The elevation gain is the same as the San Antonio Ski Hut Trail and the distance is probably about the same. I recommend the San Antonio Ski Hut Trail, which has a sign along the way down that says Baldy Bowl Trail, for a descent route.
This is a strenuous varation to climb Baldy, it has some nice views on both sides of the ridge and if you want some solitude from the weekend crowds, this is a good option. If you do this climb after all of the snow has melted, bring plenty of water, since there are no water sources until you get down to the SA Ski Hut, where there is a small run-off stream.