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Nancyann
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PostMon Nov 16, 2020 3:49 pm 
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I have always wanted to get up to the high meadow that Alpine Baldy perhaps is named for, but until recently had no idea how to get there. A couple of years ago I heard a rumor that a new mountain bike trail was being built up there, so last spring Hiking Partner and I went to check it out. We could see from Highway 2 that the meadow was melting out, but our attempts were thwarted at about 4,000 feet elevation by deep snow. We did learn quite a bit about the route though, so it was a successful endeavor in that respect.
In a nutshell, this is a 15 mile roundtrip boring roadwalk masquerading as a bike trail, with zero views until the last few miles, several of which are on a new trail which connects the end of the logging road to the meadow at about 5,000 feet elevation. The trail leaves from the Jennifer Dunn Trail parking lot and crosses many streams while it switchbacks relentlessly up the hill. The bike clubs have put a tremendous amount of work into making this into what looks like a challenging and fun mountain bike trail, but it is quite tedious for hiking.
On our first foray in the springtime, we saw no one at all, and on our second attempt on November 2nd, we only encountered one group of cyclists, who were coming down the trail at breakneck speed. Fortunately, they saw us in time and were able to stop before we got mowed down.
That said, when we did finally reach the big Alpine Baldy meadow, the views made the long boring approach worthwhile.
Alpine Baldy 11/2/20
Alpine Baldy 11/2/20
Alpine Baldy 11/2/20
Alpine Baldy 11/2/20
Alpine Baldy 11/2/20
Alpine Baldy 11/2/20
Alpine Baldy 11/2/20
Alpine Baldy 11/2/20

The new trail traverses west towards Beckler Peak all the way across the meadow and then stops at a viewpoint and a log with a memorial plaque.
Alpine Baldy 11/2/20
Alpine Baldy 11/2/20
Alpine Baldy 11/2/20
Alpine Baldy 11/2/20
Alpine Baldy 11/2/20
Alpine Baldy 11/2/20

Lots of nice views towards the Alpine Lakes Wilderness all the way up to the Chiwaukums.
Alpine Baldy 11/2/20
Alpine Baldy 11/2/20
Alpine Baldy 11/2/20
Alpine Baldy 11/2/20
Alpine Baldy 11/2/20
Alpine Baldy 11/2/20
Alpine Baldy 11/2/20
Alpine Baldy 11/2/20
Alpine Baldy 11/2/20
Alpine Baldy 11/2/20

The allure of the fine views caused us to linger a bit too long though, and too soon on the descent, we found ourselves donning our headlamps with many miles still yet to cover and many streams to negotiate in the dark.
Alpine Baldy 11/2/20
Alpine Baldy 11/2/20

All in all though, it was a worthy destination and a heck of a good workout!
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puzzlr
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PostMon Nov 16, 2020 7:01 pm 
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Nice to get an update of that bike trail. I've only done Alpine Baldy as a side trip from the other side while climbing Fernow, but this peak is one where the actual summit is not the main attraction. That big open south facing meadow just below the summit is amazing.

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Nancyann
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PostMon Nov 16, 2020 9:15 pm 
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Yes, it is pretty nice up there and despite the long approach, I will probably go back during wildflower season to enjoy the views again!
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Cyclopath
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PostMon Nov 16, 2020 10:36 pm 
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That meadow is gorgeous!!  I didn't know about this one, and it looks like I've been missing out.  Those views out on the horizon are stunning too.  Nancyann, you keep doing amazing hikes.
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fourteen410
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PostMon Nov 16, 2020 11:13 pm 
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Good stuff Nancy! Was the trail rocky at all? Hoping to check it out on my mountain bike next summer if it's not too technical.
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Nancyann
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PostMon Nov 16, 2020 11:30 pm 
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Cyclopath, I have looked up at that meadow for years from the Sky Valley and always wanted to go there, so it was pretty sweet to finally make it. smile.gif
Lauren, there are some sections where it is a little rocky, but for the most part  they are smaller than say, the rocky parts of the road to Monte Christo. The bike clubs have put a tremendous amount of work into the trail, very impressive!
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timberghost
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PostTue Nov 17, 2020 6:51 am 
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It's a shame to build a mountain bike trail across that meadow. Spent a lot of time taking pictures of bears up there in the spring. Before that old road bed was turned into a mountain bike trail in the fall that road found lots of hunters use. Saw a few out there this fall and bear season. The road typically washes out on a high water winter. It was a well established road before the mountain bikes converted it to their use.
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JimK
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PostTue Nov 17, 2020 11:39 am 
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Fall is a good time to go up there.

Alpine Baldy
Alpine Baldy

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Hiking Northwest
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Nancyann
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PostTue Nov 17, 2020 9:59 pm 
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Timberghost, I can totally relate to your frustration as I also have some special high meadows I go to that I would not want to see a trail across. However, it looks like the trail users are very respectful of the meadow and haven’t created any social trails to the top. Also, seeing how deep the snow was down lower last spring, I imagine it takes a long time for the trail to melt out enough for mountain bikers to ride all the way up to the meadow.
We did see some large bear prints in the snow.
JimK, thanks for the beautiful fall color photo!
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Celticclimber
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PostWed Nov 18, 2020 2:08 pm 
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My partner & I did this 'climb' back in August.
We took off from the Beckler Pk trail, as I was give really (no REALLY) bad BETA
on how to get there.
Short story: We did make it, after some 3 hours of bushwacking.
Then thinking (wrong thought) that taking the MBT back would be simpler.
Well it was. But it took us 2.5hrs to do it.
I could have dead reckoned our way back so much quicker.
So here is the good BETA for doing this 'peak' that is neither bald. Nor Alpine.

Take the Beckler Pk trial to just before you enter the OG.
At  an old log landing turn north and head up. You will run into
the MBT in about 800ft of gain.

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Live every day like you will die to-marrow.
For some day that will be true.
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timberghost
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PostThu Nov 19, 2020 7:03 am 
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At the old Norm McCausland cabin he had a trail that went up the ridge to the top along with one that went over the back side into Harlan creek head waters. You will see some of his Martin set trees notched from time to time. I have cut straight off of the face of Alpine Baldy and hit the logging road below when coming from Fernow. Wouldn't necessarily advise it.
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Forum Index > Trip Reports > Alpine Baldy 11/2/20
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