Explore the most popular birding trails in San Gabriel Wilderness with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Seen a bear less than 1/4 mile from inspiration point telescopes.. it was less than a foot from me and another hiker eating some left over trash someone should have carried out with them.. non the less the bear was small and easy to scare off... cool hike liked the feeling of being above the clouds once to the top.

Loved it. Worth the hike to the top.

,Hardest peak yet for me!!!

What a great trail! A bit hard to follow but thanks to all trails we followed it perfectly!
Steep inclines about 1.5 Miles before twin peaks summit. Running behind on time so we skipped the waterman peak. Will definitely be returning here!

backpacking
1 month ago

This has become my go to site. Beautiful hike and over night backpacking. Every time I have gone shared the site with at most 2 more groups and sites are spaced out far enough you really don’t get overlap at all. Be aware of the trail when it turns off the main creek it can be easy to miss, you want to go up the hill before the creek splits. From the fork there is no way to miss the spot. Trail can be tricky in spots depending on the water and time of year. In the winter there can be high water and tricky crossings with rock hopping and once we had to use a fallen tree to cross in the early spring.

The elevation gain posted here is correct but not the mileage...it is at least 1 mile longer than the posted 9 miles if you do the loop...definitely recommend getting there early to avoid the heat and the crowds that come later...I usually try to start around 6 am. Hiking poles aren’t needed but could be useful for some people. Depending on the weather conditions when you do this hike, I think 2-3 liters of water should be fine.
From the Cobb Estate gate it is about 2.5 miles up to Echo Mtn. From there you can either start with the San Merrill trail or the Castle Canyon to get to Inspiration Point and use whichever one you didn’t take up to get back down to Echo. My GPS measured Castle Canyon to be about 1 mile shorter.
Distance- 10.1 miles
Duration- 4-6 hrs
Difficulty- hard

*easy to find street parking and no Adventure Pass needed

Yes it’s been so hot this summer!! BUT this trail is nice and shady if you start as early as 6am. You would definitely need all terrain/hiking shoes. WATER and snack as well. Too many mountain bikers so Earphones headphones is not a good idea. Due to recent fires the view wasn’t as good but will definitely comeback!! Really liked the trail and if you’ve never hiked be ready for a great uphill downhill leg workout! :))

really good hike.
I actually did 12.4 mile total.
I started from Sam Trailway worked my way up to Inspiration
( I took the longer way) I liked the challenge. Came back down the same way I went up. You definitely need at least 3 or 4 liters of water in a hot day. Took a sandwich and orange and u survived lol.

Yes this hike is recommended for advanced hikers.

backpacking
2 months ago

Great hike. No water source until about mile 5. Trail can be hard to follow at times. Lots of rock hopping. We only saw one other group of backpackers the whole time. In July the mosquitos were prevalent at night. Overall a fun overnight trip about 45 mins from a main town.

hiking
2 months ago

A short but steep hike with spectacular views, some of the best in the range. Also lightly trafficked -- you'll likely have it to yourself. Highly recommended, but do another hike in the area to make the drive worthwhile. Nearby Mount Waterman, Winston Peak, and Mount Akawie are good options.

3 months ago

favorite place so far

fishing
3 months ago

Some good trout fishing along the river, used my mountain bike to ride alongside the river. Main trail is mostly asphalt, great for hiking, biking, and nature walks. There’s a lot of people hiking the first 3-5 miles, afterwards there are very few people, mostly with bikes. I would recommend bringing a buddy or two if your planning to hike/bike the trail deeper due to bears around that area.

This was my first 10 mile hike with my 8yr old daughter. A lot of climbing but the views are amazing. Be careful with mountain bikers. The way we took this hike was heading left and loop around. Recommend it . . .

3 months ago

This was a good challenge. It is not at all easy, but it is doable. It is so peaceful as you branch off from Echo Mountain to hike to the point. About 10 minutes in, we felt like we were in a rainforest (California standards) listening to running water and singing birds. Go early if you want to enjoy the feeling of being in nature alone. We started at 4:50am and were back down by 9:20am.

This is a nice trail that leads down to a creek. There was water but it was a trickle. Enough to refill my bottle. This trail is more moderate than easy. I would say it is easy for those in better shape and those who hike more often. I did this trail because it was rated easy and I wanted to work on ascending. This was not easy and can be somewhat steep in some places. It was a beautiful hike with fragrant spring blooms. I gave it 4 stars because some people use part of the trail to walk their dogs and leave doggie bags along the trail. Also, bring your own toilet paper as the vaulted toilet at Cooper Canyon didn't have any available.

hiking
5 months ago

Did this on may 1st with fog, fog, fog: no views. But wonderfully quiet and cool. Took side trips to Echo Mountain, Muir Peak and Mt Lowe for a combined 17 mi hike. very nice. The actual trail is well maintained, well indicated and not all that hard.
All the historical signs and indicators made the trail a tad too domesticated for my taste.

I took this route back in 2009 and had fond memories and wanted to do it again so I took my 25 year old daughter on the hike as part of our preparation to summit Half Dome in Yosemite this summer.

This route was as pleasant and interesting as I remembered. I enjoy the climb to the ruins at Mt. Lowe and the the level walk back into Castle Canyon and then the sharp ascent to the top. I like the lookout and “telescopes” up there. Then, continuing on the loop comes the shady and level section through the trees before the descent.

As you make your way down the mountain the sense of how high you have climbed is impressive. Great views! We were out on the trail about 6.5 hours, moving 5.5. 11.6 miles.

worth all the effort!

Fun hike did it just under 5 hrs. Got to trailhead at 7am and wasn’t too crowded but on the way down lots of people to dodge around. Did Muir Peak while at Inspiration- easy side trip and worth the view / quietness

Great day hike and a good one to use to train for Vivian Creek. Hit it on a clear day and you can see for miles.

Fun hike. We’re pretty experienced, fit hikers and it took us 5 and a half hours (including stopping to explore the ruins and taking a lunch break at Inspiration Point). Pretty hazy, but still enjoyed the view.

Fun route to get down to cooper canyon. The first part of the trail can be either the road or the PCT. I recommend taking the PCT the whole way.

I hiked his trail just after a snow melt and the stream was flowing heavy. The smell of spring was very strong in the air and there were clouds streaming over the mountain tops and a constant cool breeze. Couldn’t have asked for a better day.

Amazing views. Great hike.

great views, lots of climbs

Hiked 3/5/18 After a fresh snowfall I decided to do this trail. However I did this as a loop. Ascending the Islip Ridge trail, and then descended via Windy Gap Trail (which I highly recommend). I can’t say for sure how strenuous this is without snow, but it was pretty intense as this was my first real snow hike. Poles and Crampons were a definite must as the last couple miles were completely covered. The views were amazing and the sky was so clear I could see all the way past Catalina to San Clemente!

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.

backpacking
7 months ago

Fun backpacking adventure. Finding campground is difficult, we ended up setting up camp at a flat along the river. Lots of rock hopping on the way out.

Overall a good hike. The first half is very repetitive and offers a great view, but just a single one. On the way back, more cover, more vegetation and quite a few deer. San Nicolas Island was visible from the top - 125km away! Finished the hike after sunset, the night view over LA is breathtaking.

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