This was a tough trail. can get very cold near the top and slightly less air than down below. . It is has some long steep narrow trails. Some have been almost washed away. As you near the peak, there were several patches of ice and snow, but nothing major or hazardous. Trekking poles and good hiking shoes were all that were needed to do the up and back. Today was perfect temperature wise. Warm, sunny and very little winds. The first part of the hike is up one of the ski runs, very steep. It is about 800 feet of elevation gain in less than a mile. Once passing the end (beginning) of the ski run, you get out on the ridge, with views of the high desert (Palmdale, Lancaster, etc) on the north, and views of the Claremont and Pomona area on the south. This middle part is the most enjoyable, both in terms of scenery and also being (relatively) flatter. The last mile, give or take, is up the scree of Mount Baldy, with multiple alternative paths. I would recommend the least steep way, it'll be easiest on your legs. The peak is very flat, and there is room for dozens of people to mill around up there. The walk down is much easier, but not easy, because the first part and the last part are very steep, and you need to be careful. The views of the devil's backbone are better coming back than heading up. This is definitely a butt-kicker, which is why I gave it 4 stars instead of 5. 2300 feet of gain in 3 miles is quite a grade.
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