Mount Lowe Railway Loop

MODERATE 53 reviews
#12 of 124 trails in

Mount Lowe Railway Loop is a 10.2 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Altadena, CA that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

10.2 miles 2962 feet Loop

dog friendly

birding

hiking

mountain biking

nature trips

trail running

walking

views

wild flowers

wildlife

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.

hiking
10 days ago

Great trail, it's well maintained for most of the hike and is pretty clearly marked. Just make sure you save the main turn points so you don't get confused! It's a hike and a history lesson! Took me around 4:30 for the whole trail having to park outside the gate to the road because it doesn't open til after 6am

hiking
11 days ago

hiking
11 days ago

hiking
1 month ago

such beautiful views! it's a steady incline which helps with the hike!

6 months ago

7 months ago

hiking
8 months ago

Loved this trail!

hiking
9 months ago

It was a spectacular hike with amazing vistas. We went after a rain and the clouds were beautiful. This upside down hike amazes.

hiking
9 months ago

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.

1 year ago

hiking
1 year ago

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.

1 year ago

Beautiful place! At the end it's a Good spot to take a break and have a few sandwiches.

hiking
1 year ago

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.

trail running
1 year ago

1 year ago

Very interesting to see the historical spots

hiking
1 year ago

Had a great hike. The side trails are fantastic.

mountain biking
1 year ago

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.

hiking
1 year ago

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.

hiking
1 year ago

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.

2 years ago

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!