Mount Baldy's kid brother, Mount Harwood, sees only a fraction of the visitors that its bigger brother counterpart does, but it is indeed no less an inspiring summit. While hundreds will make their way up Old Baldy on a fair-weathered weekend, you can expect to have Harwood, only a short 300' scramble off the main trail, to yourself for hours. Its solitary nature, moonscape terrain, windswept ridge, and excellent vistas make Harwood a peak well worth your visit. In addition, it is the 5th highest peak in the San Gabriel Mountains standing just below Mount Baldy at 9,552'.
Elevation Gain: 3300'
Location: Angeles National Forest
Directions: From the I-210 in Claremont, exit Baseline, and turn right off the highway, then turn left on baseline. Soon, make a right on Padua Ave, and after 2 miles turn right onto Mount Baldy Road. Stay on it for about 15 miles (through the small community of Mount Baldy, and up some windy turns) until you reach MANKER FLATS CAMPGROUND. Go by it. There is a island in the middle of the road; park there or on the side of the left side of the road, and look for a locked street called Falls Road (this is the trail).
The Trail: From the new trailhead (same location, new features), you begin your adventure
by ascending the paved Falls (Baldy) Road y crossing the locked gate. In about 0.75 miles the road becomes unpaved and makes a grand switchback where you will get an inspiring vista of Mount San Antonio (Mount Baldy), protruding thousands of feet above the triple-cascade falls, San Antonio (Angel) Falls. A side trip to the falls is well worth it. (See my post on that trip here). Continuing on, you pass by junction of the Ski Hut Trail, which also leads to the Register Ridge Pathway, a straight shot up to Mount Harwood, but insanely steep gaining over 1000' per mile. For the more moderate hikers, pass by that fork and wind for about 3 miles until you reach the Baldy Notch, where you will find the end of the ski lifts (if you are short on time you can take that option, cutting out 1,600' of gain), clean, real, bathrooms, a restaurant, and a water fountain.
From the rather city-like Notch, take the trail left towards Mount Baldy and follow it as it
winds quite moderately about 600' before the climb on the narrow Devil's Backbone commences. Lots of people think that this section of the trail is "super dangerous" and "vertigo provoking" ...like I've said many times, it's not bad at all. It looks really intense, but it's really just an very fun part of trail. The trail is plenty wide. After crossing the Backbone, you steeply gain some more elevation as you enter into the sub-alpine section of the trip, coasting between Lodgepole pines, Limber Pines and some hardy junipers and Sugars.
Before you arrive at the Baldy-Harwood Saddle there is a use-trail which climbs the south-face of Mount Harwood on your right, just 300' up. Take it up through the small talus fields and barren slopes, until you find yourself on the wide summit. The views are quite good; I don't think you could get a better picture of Baldy anywhere. To the direct north over 100
miles away is Telescope Peak (11,030') the highest point in Death Valley National Park. To the north right in front of you are the third and fourth highest peaks in the San Gabriels, Dawson Mountain and Pine Mountain. The great gash of Lytle Creek cuts through the mountains 5000' below, and behind it is the San Andreas Fault and the High Desert. Looking east is the Cajon Pass, the I-15 Freeway, the San Bernardino Mountains, and the San Jacinto Mountains. To the south is the Cucamonga Wilderness and the western Inland Empire, with distant Santiago Peak in the background. After enjoying the views and time on this quiet summit, return the way you came - or, if you have time, add a quick trek up Mount Baldy before returning. (+700' of gain and 2 miles to your trip)
Breathe in us, O Holy Spirit your gifts like the wind of the mountains.
Hiked 5-26-2015, San Bernardino County, Adventure Pass Required.
|The Falls and Mount Baldy|
|San Antonio Canyon from the Trail (road)|
|Still patches of snow almost in June|
|Thunder Mountain (lower) and Telegraph Peak (higher)|
|Don't take this slope....take the trail.|
|Eastern San Gabriels and the San Bernardinos|
|Looking South from the trail|
|Devils Backbone begins and Mount Harwood (back)|
|Mount Harwood as seen from the beginning of the use-trail|
|At the crestline|
|Baldy from Harwood's summit|
|Dawson and Pine (respectively)|