Explore To Try - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

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Did slowly.. Took a left at first split straight towards Sandstone Peak. I'd rather heavy elevation gains for a shorter period & within first part of hike, than to deal with gradual, longer incline. Once you bag your peak, Inspiration Point is still another mile or 1.5 -- this map shows tintsy tiny bit of trail variance when heading from Sandstone towards Inspiration compared to my friends. No big deal. Hers showed to take trail pointing to Tri Peaks, this map has you go slightly different. Both are right & meet up w one another very quickly. Don't be surprised, after Inspiration Point, trek still another 3+ (this map I used didn't calculate actually stopping at Inspiration but it is WELL worth it if you do). If I'd planned better I would have added Tri Peaks.. The last 1/2 of hike is gradual descent but more tiring than you expect due to exertion to Sandstone. Views are stunning almost entire hike!. This would be great to take an out of towner hiker on. Better than cliche Hollywood sign or Runyon, in my opinion. Saw Channel Islands. Heavily trafficked though with not as much trail etiquette... that was only down side. Oh, and towards very end, follow map. When you get to sign that says .4 to Yerba Buena Rd or .2 to Sandstone, take that later.. that'll get you back to correct lot.

Amazing views. Great hike.

Great hike. Shirt and sweet. Good training hike for Wilson.

Great winter/spring hike in cooler weather.

Hiked up Ski Hut / Baldy bowl and down Devil's Backbone loop Sunday March 18th.

Left at 7:15AM, arrived at Ski hut at 9am, and summited around 11am. We contemplated descending the ski hut trail, or completing the loop down Devil's Backbone. After talking with several people on the summit who hiked up the backbone, we decided on the backbone. We were lucky to have great weather and a solid path in front of us the entire day. We got the job done in our micro spikes but obviously preferred with crampons. There were certainly a couple sections where you want to be extremely cautious along the backbone, and most likely avoid after a storm or it's too cold / icy.

We stopped by the lodge for celebratory beers and ended back at the starting point around 2:30pm.

Overall this climb was far more impressive than I was expecting. The entire hike was beautiful. It's awesome to have this mountain only an hour from the beach.

I'd definitely recommend going with someone who is familiar with the route or experienced in the mountains if you decide to do the bowl or backbone on the ascent/descent in the winter. Shoot for a day with a great weather window as it will eliminate alot of the risk variables.

The sun didn't hit the mountain hard until noon, which then we observed several rock and ice fall as the mountain came alive. Try to be on your descent in the early afternoon.

Awesome hike. 5 Stars!

My husband and I are avid hikers and this trail, although starts off easy the first 2.5 miles, gets very intense and difficult the next 2 miles. A 4.5 mile hike that truly has spectacular views once the intensity kicks in and the steep incline pounds your feet. It was a great day for a hike. Lunch at the peak along with some soup. Be sure you leave your mark at the box...

Great hike this weekend. Right before the storm. After Echo MT. We decided to continue on up to Inspiration Point. What a great decision. Amazing view. But was freezing cold up there. Will definitely do both hikes again.

I loved it! Only hiked for 6 miles but it was worth it, mostly uphill so not for beginners, it’s great for building up stamina for more difficult hikes. I’d definitely recommend it.

Breathtaking! Great place to find yourself and get away from city life

Great views the entire way. Well maintained with a good mix between mild rock scrambling and dirt paths. I'm not a view person, but inspiration point was stunning!

This place is absolutely beautiful! don't forget to bring water and snacks. It gets rocky on the trail so bring some good shoes and some good vibes!

On March 10, hiked up Ski Hut / Baldy Bowl and down Devil’s Backbone to the Notch, about 7.5 miles total. Took the chairlift down the rest of the way. The hike itself took 4 hours and 3min, but I set a very aggressive pace for myself due to time constraints. The first three miles up to just beyond the ski hut took 1h20min, the next 1.5 miles up to the summit took 1h20min (this segment abolutely kicked my butt) and the summit down to the Notch took 1h25min. I set out from Manker Flats at 5:22am (with a headlamp as it was not yet twilight) and got to the Notch at 9:26am. The trail was mostly clear of snow and ice for the first three miles. Microspikes were necessary for most of the upper section to the summit due to ice and snow particularly in the steep section beginning about 1/2 mile after the hut. I had downloaded a route into my Garmin watch, which was very helpful (read: necessary) because there are sections between the hut and the summit where it would be very easy to lose the trail. Hiking down Devil’s Backbone was a little scary in parts due to ice and snow along the precipitous drop-offs, however there was enough ground exposed so that I could easily identify and avoid the snow cornices. It is a little hairy right at the western entrance to the Backbone section as there is a lot of snow wedged in the corner next to a fairly steep dropoff. Overall it is a very fun and pretty challenging hike, with amazing views and spectacular scenery along the whole route. Well worth it, but this time of year use caution and tread carefully along precipitous sections of the Devil’s Backbone trail; and be prepared - I would recommend microspikes and trekking poles for the hairy parts, and also bring some layers because there can be very significant changes in temperature at the different elevations and much wind chill at the summit.

Great time. Snow on the ground made it that much more enjoyable. Did the whole loop and Needed crampons for sure to help with the sliding around.

This is a great training trail. It's long enough and difficult enough for a good workout. Very nice views as well. Just be sure to start early when it's hot because there's not much cover from the sun.

I really enjoyed this trail today. Gorgeous views and solitude, my dog and I did not encounter another soul the entire trail. The last 30-40 minutes of the hike is a booty kicker with a few areas that require scrambling up the rocks. Just prior to the steep ascent there is an option to turn left towards Strawberry Meadow. Take that trail if you’re not in the mood for cardio.

Absolutely stunning views on a fun and dynamic hike! Def check out Inspiration Point along the way.

This hike truly does have amazing views of the ocean and the mountains to the east once you get to the top.
I got there pretty early (8am) and parking wasn’t an issue. By the time I got back to the car three hours later the lot was full and cars were parked on the main road so get there early!
I took the longer route which is less steep and much more scenic. It’s a huge loop so I took the sandstone trail back. The last quart mike or so requires a bit of scrambling but it’s nothing crazy. The view at the top is probably the most amazing view in all of LA. I got lucky with a clear day so I could see as far out as the Channel Islands.
Definitely a must do.

It was a really good workout!! Some ice and frost early in the morning, but that was about it. Nice for the first 2 miles or so, but gets more intense past the marker for the peak. Some rocky terrain made it challenging past that but it's definitely doable. Got muddy coming back down and had to take it slow to get back up an incline.

Sadly our group wasn’t able to get to the top but i enjoyed this hike.. great workout and beautiful views! Can’t wait to go back! We also took a different trail starting the hike, that had a type of water fountain and also felt spooky.

Didn’t make it all the way to Echo Mountain, but will be going back tomorrow, so another review to come soon.

So far, this place is pretty cool. The views are amazing all around, and the bits of history about the old railway is delightful. Can’t wait to go back!

Awesome hike - good workout and amazing views. Make sure to stop at Inspiration Point before heading to the peak. Inspiration point has the best views and more space to sit and enjoy.

Good morning hike. Trail is moderate for first 2 1/2 mi then more difficult. Views are worth the effort.

love this hike and always look forward to going back.

So fun and one of the best views of LA from uptop.

I love this set of trails. Sam Merill Trail starts at the intersection of Lake Ave and Alta Loma Dr, straight up Lake Ave from the 210 about 5 miles. Its all street parking, i've never had an issue finding a spot neary even at 9am. Just look at the signs, some say No Parking, some have times.

The first 2.5 miles is steep and can get hot with almost no shade so start early. You hit the old site of Echo Mountain Hotel and the Mount Lowe Railway at 2.5 miles and there's an amazing view of DTLA and Catalina from there. At this point there are several trails that branch off. Continue another 2.5 miles on the Inspiration Point Trail. This portion is awesome. There is alot of shade, it goes by a creek, it starts to look foresty, and you get a glimpse of a cool cave which I have yet to try to get to. Once at the top, the views are breathtaking! There are several points of interest to look out at, there are benches to have a snack, and shade. The view is amazing and without driving into the mountains.

For this route, you take the trail over the back side of Inspiration Point where it is all shade for the first few miles down. Here you will likely see deer roaming. Also beware this portion is highly traveled by mountain bikers, listen for their bell warning and let them pass by quickly. Eventually you will arrive back at the top of Echo Mountain. From here continue down the Sam Merill Trail you came up originally for 2.5 more miles. Most of this trail is narrow and has steep drop offs, it can get congested. The lower portion is highly traveled by runners. Overall it is still excellent, especially with the ease of getting there.

once u get to the top. is amazing

Fav hike In The Santa Monica’s!! ❤️✨❤️✨

The day was nice and crisp, some breezes blowing and good sushine. The trail is pretty well maintained. Being a holiday it was heavily trafficked. Next time will be during the week when the trail traffic is lighter.
It is pretty though, and a good hike.

Such an amazing trail! We found the trail quite easy to follow. The view is absolutely STUNNING! We were blown away. The hike did not make us tired as it had a good balance of inclines and declines on the route. Took us a around 3.5 hours to finish. Bring plenty of water!!

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