Heidi and Daniel went back and forth on the best location for their engagement session, but they settled on Mount Baldy in Southern California. This spot was especially meaningful to them because they used to hike the mountain on weekends during college. The best part about this location is there were soooo many beautiful spots to shoot! Many Mount Baldy hikes have great backdrops just a short way in. For example, we started on the beginning of a trail and shot around the front entrance for these jaw-dropping portraits. From there we drove toward the exit back to Los Angeles and stopped at a few spots along the way, all within five miles.
We were able to pack so many different scenes into their session since we didn’t spend too much time on commuting. My favorite spot might have been where we ended, an overpass showing off the mountains that were stunningly green! The best part about doing an engagement shoot in the early spring is seeing the beautiful colors before the plants dry out—although we can certainly work with summer scenes, too. During the second half of our session, the clouds rolled in and partially covered the mountains, creating a surreal backdrop and perfect lightbox for us! Their session looks like we transitioned from California to the Pacific Northwest in a matter of minutes!
Interested in a Mount Baldy engagement session? I’ve put together a list of several spectacular trails in the area that don’t require much of a hike so we can make the most of our time—and you aren’t dripping with sweat.
4 Easy Mount Baldy Hikes for Photoshoots
1. San Antonio Falls Trail
San Antonio Falls Trail involves a 1.4-mile round trip (although we don’t have to do it all). It is takes around 42 minutes to complete. This hike is ideal for engagement sessions because it is easy, and it leads to a gorgeous waterfall view!
While you may want to wear a beautiful flowy dress for your photos, be sure to hike in appropriate hiking boots or tennis shoes. You can always change into your cute outfit later on, but it is better to be safe along the way. It is also recommended to arrive early or visit in the off season, as this is a very popular trail!
2. Sierra Power House Trail
This easy hike is 2.4 miles round-trip (but again, we don’t have to hike the entire trail). It typically takes hikers about an hour and 14 minutes to complete. This trail isn’t as well-known, so we can easily stop and take photos with few onlookers. There are plenty of photogenic spots a short distance into the hike. (Just be sure to go during daylight hours and bring plenty of water!)
3. Joatngna Trail
Joatngna Trail is only 0.6 miles long and takes about 17 minutes to complete (ideal for photoshoots!) The trail typically features blankets of wildflowers, a flowing creek, and mountain views in the background. Dogs are also allowed on this trail if you want to bring your fur baby for the shoot! While this may not be the most adventurous trail, it will certainly give you a stunning mountain backdrop for engagement photos!
4. Bear Flats via Bear Canyon Trail
This 3.4-mile roundtrip hike typically takes a couple hours to complete, so we would stick to the first part. It is recommended for moderate-level hikers as it is a bit more difficult than the previous trails listed. However, the breathtaking scenery on this hike is on display year-round. Many hikers found that the middle of the hike actually has the best views, so don’t feel pressured to complete the trail in order to achieve amazing photos.
Pro Tips for Mount Baldy Hikes
1. There is no cellular service in certain places on the mountain. Before starting the photoshoot, we will want to meet at a specific location before heading into the mountains. Or we could meet in the middle at a local mountain town.
2. There are many mosquitos in the mountains during the spring and early summer, so be sure to bring the bug repellent (and sunscreen)!
3. Many trails are closed for safety during the winter, so check to make sure your trail(s) are open before booking a photo session (I can help with that as well).
4. Several trails require a recreation pass for hiking or driving. Please visit this website to learn more. (Again, I’m happy to help with the logistics for your Mount Baldy engagement session.)
5. You don’t have to hike the trails in order to get beautiful photos! If you’re an avid hiker, you may feel that wander lust creeping in, but it’s ok to chase that summit after the session. Some of the most gorgeous photos are taken at the trailhead, on an overpass, or in a cute mountain town. Feel free to get creative when it comes to locations!
Mount Baldy California Engagement Photos with Hanna!
Mount Baldy in Southern California offers endless gorgeous scenery year-round, so it is easy to see why Heidi and Daniel chose it for their engagement photoshoot location! If you love the idea of these beautiful Mount Baldy hikes, I am happy to help answer any questions you may have. Congratulations on your engagement! Connect with me to start planning your SoCal engagement session. I can’t wait to work with you both!