The History of Mt. Baldy

The History of Mt. Baldy
Home of the annual Summer Run to the Top Race and site of one of the closest winter ski lifts to Los Angeles, California, Mt. Baldy is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts. With a rich history, Mt. Baldy is one of the most well recognized and visited mountains in Southern California.


Mt. Baldy's peak is at 10,064 feet, making it the tallest mountain in Los Angeles County.


The highest point in the San Gabriel Mountain Range, Mt. Baldy is an example of a "folded" mountain. It was formed as the result of seismic forces along multiple fault lines that transverse the range and are associated with the collision zone involving the North American and Pacific plates in the Earth's crust.


Officially named Mt. San Antonio, this snow-covered mountain gained its nickname from its treeless summit. Bald and snow-capped, the peak is easily recognized through the winter and spring.

Human History

The Gabrielino-Tongva tribe's history in the Los Angeles basin dates 7,000 years. Tribe members called the snow-capped mountain, "Yoat," which means snow. Today the tribe shares their culture through educational events at the Mt. Baldy Environmental Education Center.

Mt. Baldy Schoolhouse

Opened in 1921 as a school for the settlement that is known today as the town of Sierra Madre, the Mt. Baldy Schoolhouse closed in the 1970's after it failed to pass new earthquake standards. Today the old Schoolhouse serves as the Mt. Baldy Visitor Center.

Mt. Baldy Zen Center

Founded in 1971, the Mt. Baldy Zen Center still acts as a retreat center for students of the Rinzai Zen lineage.

Article Written By Kathrine Cole

Kathrine Cole is a professional outdoor educator. She teaches rock climbing, backpacking, cycling, and bike maintenance classes. She is a graduate of the National Outdoor Leadership School, a Wilderness First Responder, and a Leave No Trace Trainer.

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