Hiking to San Antonio Falls

My foot in the water

On Friday evening, my nephew Miles and I went for a quick evening hike to San Antonio Falls at Mt. Baldy. It’s a hidden gem, a place you can forget exists. Yet, it’s easy to get to, both in terms of driving up to the mountain and then hiking to the Falls, which are created from the snow melt from Mt. Baldy. I was concerned we were visiting too late in the year, but last winter was extremely wet and the Falls are still flowing.

To get there, you take Mt. Baldy Road up the mountain, past Mt. Baldy Village, through the twisty switchback section, and then up to the north end of the Manker Flat campground. It’s only about nine miles from the top of Claremont, and perhaps 12 miles from the 210 freeway. Park on the street near the end of the campground–you’ll see cars there, two portable toilets, and a road across from Manker Flat. The road is the path to the Falls. (Note: You are supposed to purchase a $5 Adventure Pass to park here.)

I hiked here once before, about 12 years ago. I remembered it was simple–you literally walk up a paved road, off of which are two houses. I did forget how steep the walk is. My calves were crying. But we made it. At the end, there is a little bridge with a wonderful view. You can continue on, following a dirt path that leads up and around to the bottom of the Falls, where you can dip your toes in the still very cold water. (There seems to be one path heading straight down; don’t go there.) One section of the path is a little precarious, but most people could traverse it, including an older couple with a dog and a family with a small child. Just make sure to bring shoes that can get wet, some water to drink, a camera and perhaps a towel.

Afterward, we treated ourselves to very delicious and inexpensive nachos at Mt. Baldy Lodge. All in all, a lovely way to start a weekend.