While the Mt Baldy area is a popular winter skiing location due to its proximity to Los Angeles, it is also a haven for many different summer activities as well, of which my favorite is hiking. One of the things I have always wanted to do is go on their moonlight hike and BBQ that they have during the weekends closest to a full moon, in the summer months. This last weekend (2015) I was able to make the trek, and it was a unique experience that I have already told many others about, I mean where else can you ride a lift, hike to about 7,800 feet in the dark and enjoy music and a BBQ after you are done?
- Prices: Vary – Check them out online
- Lift is open until 11 PM at night
- BBQ from 7:30 – 9
- Bring a headlamp, but you might not even need to use it
- Check the calendar for their next hike here
I pulled into the parking lot for the Mt Baldy resort at around 5:30 PM, grabbed my pass and hit the lift for my ride up to the notch. I had originally planned on hiking from the base up to the notch, but I wanted to make sure I was at the Devils Backbone for sunset, so I took the lift up then hiked the one mile and 500 feet of elevation trail up to the devil’s backbone. I arrived right around 6:45 PM and the sun was just setting behind Mt Baldy, a perfect time to set up my camera.
My friend continued over the traverses, and I set up right at the base of the backbone, the sky was completely clear, and the colors were amazing, these pictures do not do it justice, but here are some of my favorites.
We took pictures for about an hour until the sun was completely down and the area was only lit up by the moon above that was almost full. I continued to take more pictures in the darkness just to see what I could get.
After that, I headed back down towards the lodge, really excited about the food that was waiting for me there. I loved seeing the lights from the lodge surrounded by the blackness of the mountains; it was like a beacon calling you home as you hiked down. Just in case you were wondering, it was simple to hike in the dark, we brought headlamps but didn’t even use them.
We got back to the lodge at around 8:30 PM and immediately headed to the buffet style BBQ you could smell from outside. It was full of tri-tip, BBQ chicken, veggie lasagna, potatoes and salad, more than enough to quell my hiking hunger. Check out how full my plate is, they load you up.
We relaxed in the central area for a while right next to the stage, where they have music during most of the full moon hikes. After resting, we hit the patio to sit next to the fire and just enjoy the epic view of the city lights while watching people come and go via both the lift and the hiking route down.
The lift itself saves about 1000 feet of elevation and 2 miles, so it is a welcomed sight after a full meal and some hiking above 7,800 feet. If you did not buy a ticket you could still get a ride for $12 from the lodge at the top, I saw many people opting for this, and I don’t blame them.
Even the lift ride is beautiful with the darkness surrounding you and the lights of the city.
All in all, this was an enjoyable adventure. I cannot wait to take others up there as the experience is just unique. Even if you are not a hiker, I highly recommend the lift both ways and dinner; you will be hard-pressed to find a better view. Check out the rest of my photos below and consider checking it out yourself during their last hike this year in October, or next summer.