Mt. Lowe Railway Loop is a 10.7 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Altadena, CA that offers scenic views and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, trail running, and mountain biking and is accessible from September until May. Dogs are also able to use this trail.
Fascinating historic railway, great views, pine trees, deep canyons I really enjoyed this hike along the ruins of the Mt Lowe railway, Echo Mountain, and the Alpine Tavern. These locations were the most popular in Southern California in the late 1800's, before being destroyed by floods and fire. More than a dozen historical markers along the way tell the fascinating story of this railway. To top it off, the hike includes stunning views, pine forests, deep canyons, and lots of hiking. The first half of the hike, up to Alpine Tavern (now Mt Lowe Camp) and Inspiration Point, follows the Sunset Ridge Fire road to the top. The return leg is a bit more convoluted, but quite fun. A quarter mile down hill from Inspiration point, take the Sam Merrill Trail to Echo Mountain and visit the ruins of the former Inn at this location. Next head right on Echo Mountain Trail back to the Sunset Ridge Fire road. A hundred yards down the fire road on the right, take the unmarked trailhead for Sunset Ridge Trail, which parallels the fire road, and will get you home.
such beautiful views! it's a steady incline which helps with the hike!
Loved this trail!
It was a spectacular hike with amazing vistas. We went after a rain and the clouds were beautiful. This upside down hike amazes.
My dad and I did a variation on this loop. We started at the Cobb Estate/Sam Merrill trail head. The Sam Merrill trail up to Echo mountain was in good condition, but was very crowded. The view from Echo Mountain and the remains of the hotel and machinery was interesting. From Echo Mountain we tool the long way to Inspiration Point via the railway trail. Trail is wide, but pretty empty after Echo Mountain. Lunch in the shade at Mt Lowe Trail Camp. Back down the railway, we went down Dawn Mine trail, which wasn't in the best condition. There were a few stretches where we debated turning back. A hiking stick would have been good to have. The Dawn mine was interesting, and there was lots of flowing water in the creek. Going down the Milliard Canyon trail was not as fun after all of the nice trails. Lots of hoping down rocks and climbing under trees. We missed the turn-off to the Sunset Ridge trail, but caught it after a brief scramble just above the falls. Ended at Chaney trail head and got a ride back to our car.
The views are fantastic, and as said, the side trails can get you to an amazing overlook. The history is interesting too. Best done after rattlesnakes are away, or at least be super cautious
- for I've sure seen a big one up there on the trail.
Beautiful place! At the end it's a Good spot to take a break and have a few sandwiches.
I didn't do the full loop I just hiked from the fire road entrance on Chaney Trail Rd. all the way up to Echo Mountain I have to say it's a bit challenging just because sometimes there's no where to go when the bikers come down sometime. I arrived at 930 on saturday to the fire road entrance and it wasn't packed they mentioned you don't need a parking pass I think you'll need an adventure pass if you decide to camp.
Very interesting to see the historical spots
Had a great hike. The side trails are fantastic.
This trail has something for everyone. It was very challenging to do this on a mountain bike. I started in the morning during a weekday so I didn't run into very many hikers. (wow, that sounds bad) I didn't encounter very many hikers. The views on this trail are amazing if the sky is clear, which is another reason to start this in the morning.
I've done this hike a few times all the way to Echo Mountain and back up to the Red Box area. Best done in late fall, winter and early spring before it gets too hot as it's mostly west facing and not fun to do in the heat. Mostly downhill all the way down and uphill all the way back.
Bring snacks or a lunch and LOTS of water for you and your dogs. Gets rather crowded at times at least to the Mt. Lowe viewpoint, then the day hikers drop off a bit. However, this trail is well supported so if you bring your dogs be sure they are socialized and friendly with other dogs, otherwise keep them on a leash and controlled.
I have not hiked it since the Station Fire so can't speak to the current watershed but most areas are in recovery from the damage.
The hike is about 11 to 12 miles so be sure you are up for it.
I did this hike via Echo Mtn-Castle Canyon-East Mt. Lowe trail. The GPS clocked it in at just over 12 miles total with 3750 ft of elevation gain. The hike was much prettier and more enjoyable after getting through the crowd on the Echo Mountain trail (though everyone we encountered was very friendly). This is a great training hike for bigger peaks or longer treks. I was tired at the end for sure. It was very misty from Inspiration Point on up, which turned into rain, so I can't comment on the views but I definitely felt like I accomplished something worthy of enjoying a burger and 2 beers afterwards. It was enjoyable enough that I would do this a hike again on a clearer day. Trails were easy to follow and well kept The signage is pretty clear but I'd recommend bringing a map just in case because there are several turn offs.
Watch out for poison oak! Not fun. Loved this hike, regardless. Start as early as possible, especially on hot days. The heat and this trail can be brutal. Take plenty of water and a snack. Enjoy!
You do not need a parking pass(someone stated that in one of the comments),I've been coming here for years and recently asked a police parking officer that was at the trailhead if a parking pass was needed,He said not at all.So there it is, straight from an actual cop.Great workout for cardio and legs,I usually run/hike to Inspiration point,Going to the Mt.Lowe "railroad site" is a nice little workout but usually a lot of traffic,especially on the weekends,But from the railway to Inspiration point is always pretty desolate and the trail from that point on is much smaller,steeper at times but also a lot of trees to the Inspiration destination.My personal favorite hike/run!!!
This was a great hike! Did a total of 9.25 miles going up and back down. Theres a loop you can take but i did not look for it so i just cane back down the same way i went up. Bring plenty of water and a small snack. Took us about 3 1/2 hours maybe a bit longer. We got there at 6:30am and there were hikers already waiting for the gate to be opened. I would have to say it's the best time to come if you don't want to catch the busy time which would be around 11am, non-stop hikers going up! So 6:30am guys would do it! And its not hot, nice and cool weather at that time. Date and time of hike 1-11-2014. Oh and no snow, i read some people's reviews and they noted there was snow. Not this time, maybe after a storm.
Awesome! I underestimated the length of this course, it is all basically up hill on the way going but you are most definitely awarded at the end. Took 3hrs going, 2 to come down. You need a parking pass, I uploaded a photo showing where you can get one. Many breathtaking views, bring plenty of water and plenty of time as hiking back in the dark isn't ad great as I thought.