If you love hiking, Mt Baldy has some incredible trails to explore before the snow flies. Some trails can be accessed from the base of the mountain and some from the top (which can be reached via the ski lift), but my favorite is an easy to moderate hike beginning at the San Antonio Falls Trailhead. If you are looking for a hike that novices and advanced hikers alike might enjoy during your Mt Baldy getaway, investigate this gorgeous option.
San Antonio Falls Trail
As I’ve mentioned, I’m not great with challenging hikes or with hiking while dealing with significant elevation changes. Big Bear (also in California) was a real challenge for me, and I was mindful of that when Andy and I started looking for compromise treks. He’ll tackle almost anything. Me? Not so much. So, we liked the sound of the San Antonio Falls Trail in Mt Baldy.
It is an out-and-back trail that runs about 1.3 miles. Most of it has a layer of asphalt, making the majority of the hike widely accessible. The end of the trail does involve a scramble over rocks, for those who are interested in getting under the waterfall. The path is available all year long; however, it draws far more people during the summer, fall and late spring months. Hikespeak.com describes the falls as “a 75-foot tall multi-tier year-round waterfall carrying water off Mount Baldy.” Be warned that if you come during the summer (our visit was in July) that the water flow will be significantly less than if you came during or after the snowmelt.
Our Hike Experience
I’m not going to lie – I was feeling the elevation even here. In fact, Andy and I both felt it. We were smart in waiting until late afternoon to start the hike because the weather in Mt Baldy, though cooled by a thunderstorm, was still in the low 80s in the village. I was sweating from the moment we left the car, but we had water in hand, so I thought I’d be okay.
The views were gorgeous. We saw many families, some with strollers, on the asphalt track taking in the scenery. The San Antonio Falls Trailhead is maybe four miles from the Mt Baldy Lodge, making it easy drive for those staying there (as we were).
I’m afraid that my sweating seemingly attracted every known mosquito and flying insect in the area. Sadly, we didn’t see any rams hanging out, but we did stop several times to just breathe in the views (and swat the bugs away). My breathing, in general, wasn’t great. Whether that was because of the elevation or the looming health problems, I can’t say. But Andy and I made it to the scramble point in the trail.
Andy was ready to scramble over the rocks to get to the waterfall. He was so looking forward to dunking his head in the cold water that even if the rocks had been more challenging, he would have gone for it.
I refused to go. I do the thing I always do: “if one of us falls, how do we get out of here?” There were some homes below the trail and around the bend, so it wasn’t remote enough to strand anyone there, and yet, I could not be moved to start climbing down, over and around the loose formations.
Happily, Andy was able to adventure without getting hurt, and I was able to stay back and enjoy the view. The perfect compromise for an adventurer and someone who enjoys an abundance of caution in all things.
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