Baldy Base Camp

Overnight at Harwood Lodge Below Mt. Baldy

The grand stone house known as Harwood Lodge is just a short walk from Mount Baldy Trail, the quintessential SoCal mountain trek. Set at 6,000 feet amid the pine-forested splendor of the San Gabriel Mountains, the Sierra Club lodge offers the perfect way to acclimate to the altitude before bagging Old Baldy, and a chance to participate in civil society in a setting full of warmth and solidarity.

The lodge was built by Sierra Club members in 1930 and named in honor of the club’s first woman president, Aurelia S. Harwood. The edifice was built entirely with rough, eclectic stones—walls, deck, outside stairs, everything but the pitched roof—lending it a rustic whimsy. Inside is a 40-foot-long great room with wood-burning fireplace, a cozy dining room, and a compact, fully equipped kitchen. Upstairs are men’s and women’s dormitories with bunk beds, plus private “family” rooms. All in all, the lodge accommodates 64 overnight guests. Expect the place to fairly hum on most weekends this summer.

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You have to be a Sierra Club member to stay at Harwood, but membership is very affordable, and the lodge is still a terrific bargain even with the cost of joining. Also, up to two nonmember guests can join you for just $5 each. Everyone staying at the lodge is expected to share in daily cleanup duties. The Sierra Club also owns the San Antonio Ski Hut, perched dramatically beneath Baldy Bowl on the summit trail.

Take the I-210 to Claremont and exit Baseline Rd., turning west, then north onto Padua Ave. Turn right on Mt. Baldy Rd. and continue 11 miles. Look for a rough gravel turnoff on the right (the lodge shares a driveway with the Mt. Baldy Zen Center). Harwood is set back from the road behind a dense screen of pines. The lodge is open only on weekends, based on the availability of volunteer hosts. Check the Angeles Chapter’s outings calendar for the schedule. No dogs.

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