After reading about this hike on Modern Hiker, which is a great resource for local hikes in Southern California. I was really keen to try this hike as a tune up for Yosemite. Tax day 4/15/2017 was a day to try it alone. I packed food and about 3 liters of water and headed out around 7:30am. Per his blog, I was expecting a 10 mile hike with 2.7K elevation gain. My route was a bit longer and it ended up around 14 miles. My legs are still sore as I write this blog. The other blog does a great job explaining the history of this location so I will just break up some of the pictures into different sections of the hike. All photos taken with Iphone 7+
The Start 3302 Lake Ave, Altadena, CA 91001
2.5 Miles Trailhead to Echo Mountain
This section will take 2.5 miles and get you to Echo Mountain. I decided not to stop at Echo Mountain but instead hike straight up to Inspiration Point. My rationale was that it would be more enjoyable to enjoy Echo Mountain on the way down.
2.5 Miles Echo Mountain to Inspiration Point
At this point you can explore Echo Mountain but if you want to Inspiration Point you have 3 options to get to Inspiration Point. Steep to Easier: Castle Canyon Trail 2.1 miles, Sam Merrill Trail 2.5 miles, Mt. Lowe Railway Trail 3.1 miles. I took the Sam Merrill Trail up.
The interesting point about this place are the metal tubes that you look thru to see predetermined locations. I stayed here for about 30 minutes taking pictures and watching other hikers reach the top and celebrate
3.1 Miles Mount Lowe Railway Trail to Echo Mountain
Taking this down, you will see the remains of the old train track that used to take people up to Inspiration Point from Echo Mountain.
2.5 miles Echo Mountain back to Trailhead
More than 3 million people rode the trains to these alpine hotels until the Tavern burned in 1936. The last train ran in 1937 and by 1939 the system was being dismantled. By the early 1960s, the Forest Service had destroyed what remained of the Tavern and the powerhouse on Echo Mountain—but the ruins, stories, and photographs of Echo Mountain continue to inspire dreamers today.
For more info and excellent historical photographs, be sure to visit the Mount Lowe Preservation Society at www.mountlowe.org.
Although this was longer than a 10 mile hike, it was a great day exploring the local mountains