Peak 1 of 6: Mt. Baden-Powell
Peak one of six was a doozy for my first ass-kicking/toe-kicking hike…
The Hike: Part of the infamous Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), this hike is incredibly steep. You will feel every foot of elevation gain as you traverse the 40 (that’s right: 4-0) switchbacks up and up and up some more. If you haven’t done this hike before, you might ask folks “how much farther?” to which, no matter where on the trail you are, you will hear: “Only a half mile more!” The trail stays covered in pine, oak and cedar trees for the majority of the trek, however, once you reach the last REAL half mile, it becomes fairly exposed. Beautiful 360 views of the desert, cities and mountain ranges lay before you once you get to the exposed peak.
On the way down, be sure to show some love to your “little piggies,” a.k.a.: your toesies. Because the hike up is so steep, your toes will pay the price coming back down since they are essentially being jammed into the front of your shoes. Bring band-aids, do a toe sanity check and tread VERY carefully. No matter how carefully I walked, I still managed to slip and fall on my booty a couple of times. BE CAREFUL.
Driving Directions: head east on I-210/Foothill freeway, take CA-210 and I-15 north to CA-138 west in San Bernadino county.
Your GPS may tell you to keep going, but be sure to look for two parking lots on both sides of the road just before GPS’ end mark. Depending on where you’re coming from, one parking lot requires an Adventure Pass or National Parks Pass. The other lot is free of charge, just be wary of the jagged gravel.
Roundtrip mileage: 8.9 miles, about 5 hours*
Elevation: 9,400 feet
Elevation gain: 2,900 feet
What to bring: Water, food, hat, phone/camera, band aids, a smile, Adventure Pass
There are 40 switchbacks up to the Baden-Powell summit, they seem never-ending, but they do end. They do. And you will never be so glad to see a bald-looking path once you are, literally, out of the woods and those switchbacks. Be wary of future hike recommends from anyone who has traversed the PCT (Sean Jansen!!) In late June, you may see remnants of snow on the ground, which, of course, I had to touch.