The Midnight Trail is a 5.4 mile long trail that begins on Forest Road 134 and ends at the Mt. Baldy Cabin.
Trail Condition: Good
From the trailhead on FR 134, the Midnight Trail – Trail #81, takes off on the left side of a large meadow. The first 50 yards are faint, but the trail quickly picks up once it enters the dense timber. It climbs for a little bit before starting to switchback and from here, it climbs steeply for the next mile. There are a few downed trees, but overall, it is in good condition.
After about one mile, the travel levels off and joins an old roadbed and continues to contour to the left. Over the next 1/2 mile, as the trail stays relatively flat, there are a few side trails that intersect the ridge. Ignore these. Continue straight and remain on the ridge.
The trail eventually wraps around to the right side of a small knob and continues to climb until the trail joins the ridge again. From this point on, the trail climbs consistently all the way to Baldy Mountain. It passes a number of saddles along the way, but remains on the ridge more or less.
The trail doesn’t enter the Wilderness until the final stretch towards Baldy. After a small climb after passing into the Wilderness, the trail tops out on a small meadow. Up until this point, the trail was in amazingly good condition, but fades slightly in the meadow. There are a few cairns to help guide you, but as long as you are looking out, you should be able to pick up the trail as it bypasses the Baldy summit. It’s a less than 5 minute side trip to the top, and as long as the weather is holding, the views make it more than worth it.
Past Baldy, the trail starts its descent to Baldy Cabin. The trail is steep in places but is in good condition and easy to follow. It passes a few small meadows before passing the Cabin, which is just 100 feet off the trail. Just past the cabin, you will reach a sign marking the end of the trail the start of the Bull Creek and Lake Fork trails.
Mt. Baldy Cabin to Baldy Mountain:
From the Mt. Baldy Cabin, pick up the Midnight Trail behind the cabin and outhouse, turning right (east) to follow the trail uphill.
After about 1/4 mile, the trail begins to climb up to a small saddle below the ridge. There are a few trees down in this forested section, so pay attention so as not to lose the trail. The trail briefly enters a meadow in the saddle below another small peak to the left, and then immediately turns back into the woods and continues to climb to the south (right).
After a short ways, the trail will enter a clearing and you will pass a sign for Baldy Mountain. To reach the peak, leave the official trail to climb to the top of the treeless ridge. After about 5 minutes of climbing, you will reach the top.