Over the weekend, I finally got to try out one of the Mount Baldy Full Moon Hikes – and while it’s not really a hardcore hiking experience, it is one I’d recommend as a change of pace from your normal hikes – especially if you’re not used to night hiking.

Typically the hikes are loosely organized affairs departing from the very steep fire road near the main ski lift. You turn in your $17.50 print out for a small raffle ticket, then hike up the fire road to the lodge as the sun sets behind you.

When you get to the lodge, it’s kind of a full-on party atmosphere. When I went, there was a full crowd inside the lodge, and plenty gathered outside around a fire pit and the barbecue area, too. Inside, two folk musicians shared a small stage while the hikers dined on chicken and steak kebabs (included with the price of the ticket) and drank wine and beer (not included) at tables lit by candlelight. The line for food was a bit long, but manageable – and everyone was in good spirits. Food is served from 7:30 to 9.

After you get up to the lodge, you’re free to do whatever you’d like – explore a few of the fire road / ski trails, sit on a ledge and watch the moonlight reflect off Mount Baldy, or just soak in the stars and moonlight by the fire with other hikers. You can either take the ski lift down or hike in the moonlight (which is the preferred method).

Hiking in the full moon is a pretty great experience – I brought a headlamp but never needed it. At times the moonlight was so strong that it actually hurt to look at the moon!

The Mount Baldy web site is not exactly a source of consistent information, but it looks like there are two more Full Moon Hikes scheduled for this season – one on September 9th and another on the 16th. The actual full moon is on the 12th. Pick up a ticket online, get a group together, and enjoy some night hiking!

Image by jpstanley

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