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Harwood via Register Ridge

Needed to get out and keep my legs in good hiking shape and having never done it before I decided to tackle Register Ridge this past Saturday Morning. Got up early and was at the trailhead at Manker Flats about 5:45. Air quality was pretty crappy due to the smoke from the Sand fire blowing into the basin overnight. Trail was in pretty good shape, just up, up, and a little more up thrown in for good measure. Made it to the top of Harwood in about 2 hours where I stood around and rested for a few minutes. I had originally planned on going down the Backbone trail on my way back but decided to descend via Register Ridge instead due to needing to be back home in time for my wife to go run some errands. Pretty smooth sailing, stopped a few times to let groups of people that were chugging up the hill past as to not kill their momentum. I normally try to run on the downhill bits but the steepness and scree on the trail nixed that idea except for the 3 short flatish sections. Was back to my truck by around 9:15 and headed back home.

From the first bend in the road on the way up:

San Antonio Falls

Baldy Bowl Trail junction:

Register Ridge Trail junction:

Looking up to Baldy and the ski hut:

Looking down to Manker:

One of the few flat spots on the trail:

Flat spot viewed from further up the ridge:

Almost to the top:

Looking south from Harwood:


Looking east over the Cajon Pass:

Almost back to the bottom at the same spot the first pic was taken:

Early start is the key for that route, it's incredibly hot once the sun reaches over the crest.
Another great day in the mountains.

The start of the register ridge trail used to be unmarked and unnoticed by all but those that had heard about it through word of mouth (aka the internet). Now it looks like it is a freeking sanctioned, formal trail. Not sure what to think.

Nice TR by the way - thanks!

I saw 3 people on the way up total, one coming down and two that I passed going up. Saw about a dozen coming up on my way down, and at that time I was thinking that it was waaay too late to be chugging up that ridgeline.

Probably going to head back up next Sunday morning and see if I cant do a little better time wise. First time up a trail always tends to go slow..
David R

In general Baldy and that whole area has become over-populated. When I first starting hiking Baldy 16 years ago, the only trail that had any significant foot traffic was the backbone route. Ski Hut was considered a rough "trail experience" not the freeway it is today. The hike up from the Village would have maybe two-three parties on the weekend. The Register Ridge route was called the Harwood Ridge route and when I first hiked it there was literally no sign of human presence other then a wayward duck here or there and some faint use trail on the steepest sections. There have been significant changes in hiking patterns that I've seen just over this short time span.

HikeUp wrote:
The start of the register ridge trail used to be unmarked and unnoticed by all but those that had heard about it through word of mouth (aka the internet). Now it looks like it is a freeking sanctioned, formal trail. Not sure what to think.

Be happy for the trail! No doubt once a faint sheep route, it has fully matured into a human track. Now us animal-trail hunters can bequeath it unto the class 1 hikers of the world and move on to the next hidden animal path.

So not being satisfied with the amount of time it took me to make it to the top of Harwood via Register Ridge the previous weekend I went back out this Sunday Morning and gave it another go.

Went up in one push this time, with no breathers between Manker and Harwood. First time up it took me 1:50 minutes to make it from the beginning of Register Ridge to the top of Harwood. This past weekend I did the same bit in 1:28 min, so I knocked 22 min off my time - not too shabby for a second go. After I hit the top of Harwood I was still feeling good so I made a b-line across the top and then up to the top of Baldy. Once I hit the summit of Baldy I snapped a couple of pics and then turned around and headed down the backbone trail to where it intersects Register Ridge and then down to the TH at Manker. Saw one group of 6 people, and a few other single hikers coming up as I was going down. Total round trip time was 3:47 min, with only 10 min total stopped on the entire out and back, and all of that was stopping to let people coming up Register Ridge pass so their momentum up didn't get scuppered.

Requisite Baldy Marker Shot:

Looking over to West Baldy:


Group heading up the ridge near the top as I was heading down:

Got up early and hiked Register Ridge again this weekend. Had planned on being on the summit of Baldy for sunrise but my pace up the hill was slower than it had been on previous hikes. Got started at 5:00 by head lamp, and caught the sunrise about 300' below where the trail tops out onto the backbone trail. Skipped Harwood on this one since I was running behind schedule by the time I hit the backbone trail.

Sun just below the horizon:

Sun just peaking up to the left of San Gorgonio:

Sunrise Selife:

Looking over towards West Baldy, Mount Wilson and Baden-Powell with some neat streaky clouds in the sky from the summit of Baldy:

They've done some work at the summit, Mount Baldy sign now concreted into the base:

New sign to the west:

New sign to the east:

Baldy from the Backbone Trail below Harwood:

Looks like they're trying discourage people from going up Register Ridge. They filled in the approach spur off the Ski Hut Trail with rocks to make it look less like a trail. Judging by the amount of people heading up the trail when coming down after summiting Baldy i'd say the fill isnt having the desired effect.

I wasn't happy with my 4:30 round trip time on this hike so I'm going to head back up next weekend and see if I cant beat my best round trip time of 3:47.

Really enjoyed reading about the hiking history of Register Ridge in the above posts.  And the beautiful pics.  Spectacular!  That one with the sun almost up above the distant ridge is what I think James Branch Cabell must have had in mind when he wrote about that place existing "between the dawn and the sunrise". Forum Index -> San Gabriels
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