Sam Merrill Trail to Echo Mountain, Altadena

Feb 2, 2011

5 miles round-trip; moderately strenuous
Alternate: Inspiration Point

Named for one of the great trail volunteers of local history, this route is popular with hikers seeking a good workout and a great view. It starts at the gates of the long-gone Cobb Estate, crosses over Las Flores Canyon and then climbs up a sunny, two-mile switchback (home to lovely spring wildflowers if the rainy season was decent) to the top of Echo Mountain, site of a thriving 19th-century tourist resort. Called the White City, the resort was fed by the Mt. Lowe incline railway and comprised two hotels, a small zoo, a reservoir and the Mt. Lowe Observatory. In the early 20th century, fires destroyed most everything; you’ll see remnants of the railway and old foundation. The clear-day views are superb, and there are pine-shaded tables for a picnic.

If time, energy and water allow, look for the sign atop Echo Mountain pointing to the Castle Canyon trail to Inspiration Point, and continue on for an additional two miles to this awesome view spot, where an old stone viewing pavilion has been restored. Head back the way you came.

Driving Directions: Exit Lake from the 210 Freeway in Pasadena. Drive north until the very top of Lake; park near the gated area on the right.

Hiking Directions: Enter through the gate and head up the battered asphalt road until you see a stone water fountain, trailhead sign and sign-in sheet. Follow the trail to the left, which heads downhill, across the dry streambed, and then uphill until you reach the summit at the top.

2 Responses for “Sam Merrill Trail to Echo Mountain, Altadena”

  1. […] Parade: February’s Black History Parade, down Fair Oaks View: Take the 2.5-mile hike up Echo Mountain (trailhead atop Lake Ave.) Hospital: Down the hill to Huntington in Pasadena. Web Site: […]

  2. […] the popular Sam Merrill Trail to Echo Mountain, this trail will take you winding up switchback after switchback through the San Gabriel Mountains […]



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