Inspiration Point Loop Trail is a 9 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Altadena, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round.

DISTANCE
9.0 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
2,746 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

kid friendly

backpacking

birding

hiking

mountain biking

nature trips

trail running

walking

forest

views

wild flowers

wildlife

blowdown

historic site

no dogs

Trailhead is at the top of Lake Street, north of I-210 in Pasadena

hiking
16 days ago

Definitely a great hike but get there early during the warm months to beat the heat and beat the crowd. I’d also suggest taking Castle Canyon to Inspiration Point and come down through the Sam Merril trail since Castle Canyon has a lot of rocks on steep inclines that might be dangerous to travel downward on. We got that tip from a stranger as we started heading back down Castle Canyon. Safer way to travel down is definitely Sam Merril. Great views.

1 month ago

Love it

hiking
1 month ago

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.

1 month ago

Loved it. Worth the hike to the top.

hiking
2 months ago

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

hiking
3 months ago

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! :))

3 months ago

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.

hiking
4 months ago

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 . . .

4 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.

hiking
6 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.

hiking
6 months ago

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.

6 months ago

worth all the effort!

hiking
7 months ago

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

7 months ago

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.

7 months ago

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.

hiking
7 months ago

Amazing views. Great hike.

8 months ago

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

hiking
8 months ago

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.

9 months ago

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.

hiking
9 months ago

It was a difficult trail but every steps we took worth the spectacular view.

hiking
10 months ago

Trail was pretty difficult but it was a great workout and the views were beautiful

hiking
11 months ago

Nice trail,gorgeous views. Watch out for bikers from Echo mountain to Inspiration point.

hiking
11 months ago

Great hike, close to town but get you high into the mountains for great views to Catalina to the Rose Bowl. It can be hot on warm day but quickly climbs into the cooler mountains. Plenty of parking, even on weekends. Our hike to Inspiration Point stops by the site of Echo Mountain and the Mount Lowe Railway where you can see the remains of the machinery for the incline and foundations of the resort. Ring the bell on Echo Mountain and shout into the Megaphone and hear your echo come back from the nearby mountains.

hiking
Sunday, October 08, 2017

Definitely go in the morning. Breaking right to go up was super nice!

hiking
Sunday, October 01, 2017

This has become my new favorite hike. Great views, moderate exercise and even a bit of LA history thrown in for good measure. The hike starts in Altadena. You can street park for free on Lake Ave near the entrance until 10pm. If you plan to make it a nighttime hike, then just going outside the signage on the street a few blocks will mean you can stay out longer. (Nighttime is spectacular by the way, and permitted here if I read other hike reviews correctly. The nightlife comes out, there are fewer hikers and the views of LA lights are majestic - just bring a headlamp and warm clothes obviously.) Inspiration Point itself is a rock structure located on the saddle of the Lowe ridge. It features "telescopes" (really just pipes you can look through) that are aimed at particular landmarks across LA county. Be sure to check out Echo Mountain if you have a chance, which is located about halfway up the mountain. It features the scattered concrete remains of a famous household and train tracks that resided there early last century. The hike to echo Mountain is more populated. During the day you'll pass quite a few people. The hike from there to inspiration point is much more sparse. This is a 3000 ft elevation climb so bring plenty of water and snacks to eat at the point itself which also has picnic tables for anyone to use.

hiking
Monday, September 04, 2017

beautiful views throughout. the first part of the hike can be done at night to see the lights of the valley underneath. it's especially stunning around the holidays. be careful on your way back down. I wouldn't try to run this. with the foot traffic and the slightly steep terrain you might tumble.

hiking
Tuesday, August 22, 2017

This was my second time on this exact same path, and it was great. The first time, I didn't have enough water, and I wasn't cardio fit, but did complete it with much longer time needed to complete this. This time around, with improved cardio I did this hike in less than 50% off from my first hike. Just remember to take lots of water, 3 litters and up. I took 4 litters but used only 3 litters this time. I will go back and do this, but will do the reverse loop this time. Same path, but going up and coming down clockwise. It's easier going up to Inspiration Point counter clockwise, but I'll be doing the clockwise loop in the next few weeks.

hiking
Sunday, May 28, 2017

Great hike. I'd go up Sam Merrill, come down Castle Canyon. The canyon is pretty steep. But overall an amazingly varied hike with even a bonus water cross in Castle Canyon on the way down. More people at Inspiration Point than I would have predicted. Still good flowers, particularly higher up.

hiking
Monday, May 08, 2017

One of the best hikes I've completed in socal.

6 days ago

Load More