In winter, our local mountains have snow. Yes, you read right, SNOW. Right in our own backyard. Rain means snow at higher altitudes.
Mount San Antonio aka Mt. Baldy is the highest peak in the San Gabriel Mountains, it’s peak stands at 10,064ft above sea level. Located off the 210 freeway borderline of Los Angeles County and San Bernardino county, in the Angeles National Forest.
The Top of the Notch restaurant: A restaurant that sits 7,300 feet above sea level in the middle of the mountains? how cool can that be. The restaurant is accessible year-round, and it is only a short drive away from the Los Angeles area. There are 2 ways to get to the Notch: ski lift chair and hiking.
The ski lift elevates you 1,500 feet in just under 15 minutes, the fee $20-$25 round trip. The views on the way down are nice, well worth the ride. Groupon tends to have a great deal; food and ride for a discounted price.
About our hike: We start at the San Antonio Falls trailhead, an ADVENTURE PASS is required for parking. Big 5, Sport Chalet and REI have the day pass for $5 or a year pass for $30. We then follow the fire road, 3 miles, 1,500 feet elevation gain. This trail is fairly easy, and as long as you keep one foot in front of the other, you will reach your destination. Withing 0.8miles, San Antonio Falls is reached. A 10-20 minute detour can be taken down to the falls. Be careful ! Though there is a small trail, it is in some places slippery, specially if snow is present. Not a huge drop, but will definitely leave a bruise or scar. We enjoyed a nice break here, took off our packs, and had a snack. After about 10minutes, we continued our hike. From here, the road gets less traveled, meaning the snow is much fluffier . The level of steepness increases just a tad bit. Pace is key; going too fast might wear you out, cutting your trip short.
Once at the Notch, you can enjoy a packed lunch, or a fancy meal from the restaurant, which is very yummy and the price is not up the roof. There is an option to hike up to the Notch, and get a one-way ride down, should be $12-$15.
The Top of the Notch restaurant has flush toilets, full dining menu, and cold beer. Furthermore, a live band plays in a stage on the weekends. A great treat if you ask me.
ADDRESS & DIRECTIONS:
Trailhead coordinates: 34.266172, -117.62684 (34° 15′ 58.21″N 117° 37′ 36.62″W)
take the I-210 E towards the Claremont area. Take the exit Base Line Road, and turn left at the light. At the light, turn right onto Padua Road. Follow Padua Road until you reach Mt. Baldy Road. Turn right onto Mt Baldy Road for about 9 miles. Pass through Baldy Village, here you can stop for an Adventure Day Pass. Keep going down Mt. Baldy Rd 4more miles, Look for parking once beyond the Manker Flats Campground. Trailhead is to the left hand side, look for a few blue porta-potty’s . Park along Mt. Baldy road, display ADVENTURE PASS, and hike on. Ski Lift parking is just 0.6mes down the road, keep going until you come to a dead end.
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