If you are looking for a trail that isn’t really well-known and doesn’t show up on the park map, then you should consider giving the awesome Little Baldy Dome Trail a try. This hike is a decent 4 miles round trip with a good amount of uphill, but the payoff view at the top is just as good as Moro Rock and it provides a much different view. Here is all the information.
- 4 Miles Round Trip
- 1000 Feet Elevation
- Trailhead: 11 miles north of the Giant Forest Village on the Generals Highway
After parking at the turn out for the Little Baldy Saddle you will proceed across the road and start hiking up the hill on the dirt single track.
From here the trail continues a gradual incline with dozens of switchbacks for about the next mile and a half.
Along the way the trail starts to get above the trees and provide lots of amazing views of the sea of firs and Big Baldy in the distance. Also, when looking out over a group of trees, the trees that look like broccoli tops are sequoias. We saw a grove out in the distance as you can see in the middle of the below photo.
I had the opportunity to go with a ranger and learned a lot about the trees and plant life that we were looking at. You can see both a white and a red fir in the photo below. Also, the Ponderosa has a bark that smells like butterscotch, be sure to smell it for yourself if you see one.
After finishing the switchbacks we made our way to the top of the ridge and started to walk along the a more flat area towards the dome.
One of my favorite parts of the trail was when we started this flat section we passed through a huge grove of new growth trees as you can see below.
After walking through them we saw the dome in the distance and walked the last tenth of a mile up the granite slab to the top of the dome.
We even saw some life on this trail, including many birds and a few lizards.
Once you reach the summit you are greeted with amazing views in all directions, and it is one of those places that you will want to spend time just sitting and relaxing at.
The dome itself is pretty massive so you can walk all around it and get lots of different views from all of the different angles.
I imagine this being a great spot for both sunrise and sunset, but even in the middle of the day it was a really amazing hike that I enjoyed. I hope to do Big Baldy next time I am there so I can compare the two.
After taking in the view you will simple follow the trail back down the way you came, hopefully invigorated by the beauty you just experienced.
All in all, this is one of the better hikes I have done in the park as it is not too difficult but has a huge payoff. Let me know if you have been in the comments and what you thought of the hike.