Summit Trekker Blog
Trek to Mt. San Antonio (Mt. Baldy) Summit
Manker Flats to Summit
Using Android “My Tracks” GPS tracking
Total Distance: 9.8 miles round trip
Total Time: 7 hours (4 up, 3 down)
Total Time Ascent: 4 hours
Hiking Time Ascent: 1 hour 45 minutes
Elevation Gain: 4,450 feet
Summit Elevation: 10,036 GPS (10,060 per summit marker)
The Manker Flats to Mt. San Antonio summit is the shortest of the three major trails leading to the summit. With early views of San Antonio Falls and a crossing of San Antonio creek at the half way point, this strenuous hike is a formidable one day trek. Starting with a ¾ mile hike up an access road to the trail head (Waypoint #1), the steep rocky trail proceeds approx 2 miles to the Sierra Club Ski Hut at elevation 8,150 feet (2.6 miles total at this point). The San Antonio Creek crosses the trail at the Ski Hut, so this makes for a wonderful rest stop. On our trek on July 29th, 2011, the stream was running quite well with pools large enough to splash yourself with the cool snow runoff water and drink from the refreshing mineral laden stream.
A nice rest is in order before tackling the next steep, rocky leg up to the top of the Baldy Bowl, a typical saddle ridge from which one can see down to the valley floor near Claremont, CA and across the canyon to the South Peak (next to Baldy to the west). Given the amount of loose granite and lack of vegetation, the trail can be lost fairly easily, but almost always converges back to the main trail. Unfortunately, many hikers have cut switchbacks with more directly ascending trails and this causes some confusion to first-time hikers. To the north is the top of the Baldy Bowl, a pinnacle laden ridge that is easily seen above from the Ski Hut.
Refer to the following photo showing the view of Baldy Bowl and the saddle ridge that is the top of this section of the trail. Note that the trail switches up the left side of the photo on the edge of the tree section. The trek from the Ski Hut to the top of the saddle is 1 mile with an 850 foot elevation gain. From the top of the saddle, one can see the South Peak to the west but not the Baldy summit, which is obscured to the north by the pinnacled top of the north section of Baldy Bowl. At the saddle you should have hiked a total of approx 3.6 miles, leaving 1.3 miles to the summit.
The last leg of the trek includes two diverse trail sections. The first section climbs from the saddle through the pinnacle area and is quite steep and rocky, requiring some minimal non technical rock climbing. After achieving the top of the pinnacle area, one can see the top of San Antonio to the north, as the trail switches up a steep sandy and rocky barren section with very few trees. The following photo was taken from the saddle area showing the pinnacles to the north.
The first section leading up into the pinnacles, approx ½ mile, is through loose granite rocks with the trail diverging, then re-converging, several times. It is best to stay to the right (east) to make the most direct ascent to the top of this section as the trail splits a few times. The trail levels out at the top of this section and is marked with the following sign on the west side of the peak:
At this point you are under a mile from the summit. The trail becomes more visible here as it becomes more soil than granite. Continue approx ¾ mile to the summit at 10,060 feet, one of three peaks over 10,000 feet in southern California (the others being San Jacinto and San Gorgonio, both visible to the east from the summit).
As seen in this photo with Summit Trekker and most of his summit team (oldest son taking photo), the summit is quite bald and barren. Even in July, there was a small snow patch on the north east side of the summit.
Given the steep trajectory of the trail and numerous section of loose granite, our decent was fairly slow taking us 3 hours with very little rest, approx five minutes rest for each of the first 2 miles.
Please refer to the attached My Tracks generated Google map and route with statistics for each major Waypoint (found at the top of the page). My first waypoint is the trail head sign-in box that is located at 6520 feet, approx .8 miles up the initial road, but not visible from the road. One needs to scramble up a rock trail approx 50 yards to see it, so be careful to watch the curve of the road on the track to lead you to the crossing where the trail begins steeply up the left side of the road. My 2nd waypoint is the Ski Hut at 8100 feet where the stream crosses the trail. My 3rd waypoint is the top of Baldy Bowl, the “saddle”. The last waypoint is the summit.