Fresh snow at Manker Flats Trailhead in Mt Baldy after the rainstorm

Mt San Antonio, or Mt Baldy as its called colloquially referred to by Los Angeles locals, is a forty-five minutes drive east of the city of angels. This is the closest ski area to Los Angeles in the winter months and when southern California does see snow the mountain has twenty-six runs in operation. But did you know that there is more to do at Mt Baldy then just skiing? Hiking to the top of San Antonio is one of the ultimate hikes in the Los Angeles area. The summit gives you a birds-eye view of everything from downtown Los Angeles, to the Cajon Pass to the north, to sometimes even boats out on the Pacific Ocean almost sixty miles to the west. Sometimes on a clear day, you can even see the shadow of Catalina Island in the distance. These kinds of views are why I prefer to hike Mt Baldy in the winter months. The smog is much lighter and the skies above Los Angeles are clearer in February and March and the views at over 10,000 feet are just fantastic. Not to mention hiking Mt Baldy in the snow is unbelievably pretty.

Summer hiking is a blast—sunshine on your face, a warm breeze blowing through the trail—but wintertime creates its own magic within the mountains, especially when there’s snow on the ground. Snow dramatically changes your favorite trails and adds novelty to places you’ve been before. It’s a totally different experience in terms of the senses, from what you smell – pine becomes more intense in the winter – to what you see. Instead of wildflowers and green meadows, snow covers everything, even the trail. Winter hike offers you solitude and quiet contemplation.

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