The Devils Backbone Trail is one of the most famous classic hikes in all of Southern California. It is the most used route of ascent to reach Mount San Antonio, locally known as Mount Baldy. Mount Baldy stands at 10,064 feet and is the highpoint of the San Gabriel Mountains. Mount Baldy is also the highest point legally acessible to mountain bikes. As a hike it is simple and commonly done, as a ride it is almost never done. For the most part riders will have to push their bikes up of steep trail at high elevations. This is a very uncommon occurence in SOCAL. This is why it is a great ride. The feeling of descending along th twisting exposed Backbone is amazing.
From the parking area at San Antonio Falls Road pass through the gate and ride up the road for about 3 steep miles to the Notch. The Notch is a ski lodge and is where the first ski lifts meet up. If you want to cut out the rode option you can take the ski lifts up to this point on the weekends. Now continue pass the Notch and take the road that heads west towards Baldy, the peak itself. After another steep climb this roads ends at the top of the ski lifts 8500 feet. From here the Devils Backbone begins. The trail is narrow in places and is very steep. For the most part you will be hiking the bike up from this point on. After some quick gains you will start to cross the broad south slope of talus covered Mount Harwood 9552 feet. Harwood is a nice side option to reaching Baldy at this point. Continuing up the trail you drop to shallow saddle with Harwood and Baldy. Now for sure you will hike up the last very steep 600 to the top of Baldy. After reaching Baldy take some time and relax at the high altitude.
The descent is fun, exposed, and unique in southern California. The downhill is not for inexperienced riders. Some riders might want to gear up with armor and full face helmets. Take great care to watch for hikers and to remain on trail so as not increase erosion. Lower down on the Backbone you come aross some mean rock gardens, some can be jumped. A fall in this region could send you hundreds of feet down rocky chutes.
Getting ThereTake the 210 freeway to Claremont exiting onto Baseline Road exit. Head west on Baseline to the first right, which is Padua Ave. Take Padua for about 2 miles reaching the lighted intersection with Mount Balady Road. Turn right onto Baldy Road and take this to Baldy Village in about 7 miles. Continue through the Village and up the swithcbacks up to the entrance to San Antonio Falls Road. Park here if you are taking this route. Park off on the side of the roads and display your adventure pass. If you are continuing up to the ski lifts drive another mile or less along Baldy Road. The road ends at the lifts.
When to Bike & External LinksFor current forecast go to Weather Underground.
The only time to hike-a-bike on Blady is when there is no snow, a slight dusting won't kill you though.
For lifts tickets info go toMount Baldy Ski Lifts.
For current conditions contact Angeles National Forest or San Bernardino National Forest.
For information about Mount Baldy Vistor center
You will need a Adventure Pass to park at the turnout.