Pets allowed
Allowed with Restrictions
Elevation Gain
8,131.00 ft (2,478.33 m)
Trail type
There-and-back
Distance
15.00 mi (24.14 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

Manker to North Backbone is a 15-mile out-and-back located west of San Bernardino and east of Los Angeles, California. This trek will take you up three tall peaks in the San Gabriel mountains twice! Through a remote section of the San Gabriel mountains, you remain mostly above 8,000 feet. The route offers breathtaking views, pristine nature, and sections of solitude. Although the trails are easy to follow, they sometimes contain loose scree and rocky terrain. This hike is best done in the spring, summer, or fall (depending on the weather and snow conditions), and it's recommended for experienced hikers. Additionally, hiking, backpacking, and trail running are popular activities in the area. 

The trailhead for this route is located just past Manker Flats Campground. You'll begin with a 4 mile climb with an elevation gain of almost 4,000 feet. Mount Baldy (10,064 feet), the tallest peak within the San Gabriel range, is the first peak to be ascended. In addition to the ups and downs, the trail has very little shade or water, as well as little or no flat terrain.

Approximately .9 miles from the trailhead, you will reach a junction with the Baldy Bowl Trail. Turn left onto the Baldy Bowl Trail and continue uphill. After 2.5 miles, you will reach the ski hut, a nice place to sit and take a break. There is usually a small stream with flowing water just past the ski hut (all water must be filtered). Continue ascending Mt. Baldy for approximately 2 miles after the ski hut. 

Enjoy the views at the top, but don't stay too long because the journey is just beginning. Follow the North Backbone Trail to descend Mount Baldy's north slope. It takes you up and down Dawson Peak (9575ft) and Pine Mountain (9648ft). Your turnaround point is the Blue Ridge Truck Trail. You will then retrace your steps, climb all three mountains one more time, and return to Manker Flats. 

Manker Campground information: https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/angeles/recreation/camping-cabins/recarea/?recid=41776&actid=29

 

Sheep Mountain Wilderness Information: https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/angeles/specialplaces/?cid=stelprdb5194614

 

Mount Baldy Visitor Center Information: https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/angeles/recarea/?recid=41942

 

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Spring
Summer
Fall

Congestion

Moderate

Parking Pass

None

Open Year-round

Yes

Pros

Solitude. Scenic Views. Three Summits.

Cons

Very strenuous. Lack of Water.

Trailhead Elevation

6,193.00 ft (1,887.63 m)

Highest point

10,064.00 ft (3,067.51 m)

Features

Wildlife
Waterfalls
Backcountry camping
Big vistas
Wildflowers
Bird watching

Typically multi-day

No

Permit required

No

Location

Nearby Adventures

San Gabriel + San Bernardino Mountains, California
San Gabriel + San Bernardino Mountains, California
San Gabriel + San Bernardino Mountains, California

Nearby Lodging + Camping

San Gabriel + San Bernardino Mountains, California
San Gabriel + San Bernardino Mountains, California
San Gabriel + San Bernardino Mountains, California

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