Inspiration Point via Sam Merril Trail to Castle Canyon Trail

MODERATE 164 reviews
#17 of 197 trails in

Inspiration Point via Sam Merril Trail to Castle Canyon Trail is a 8.2 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Altadena, California that offers the chance to see wildlife 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.

DISTANCE
8.2 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
2,732 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dog friendly

birding

hiking

mountain biking

nature trips

trail running

walking

forest

views

wildlife

bugs

rocky

hiking
6 days ago

This is one of my favorite local hikes! It can be done as a lollipop loop using the Sam Merril Trail as the base. When you reach the top of the Sam Merril Trail you can take the Castle Canyon Trail (which is really awesome and wild but pretty strenuous the 2nd half). Or you can stay left and keep going up the mountain about 3/4 of a mile on the Sam Merril Trail until you hit Mt. Lowe rd. Then make a right and take that about 2 3/4 of a mile until you hit the Mt, Lowe Campground. And then only 1/3 of a mile more up to the right to Inspiration Point. Once there you can go back down the way you came or do it as a loop. The Mt. Lowe Rd. way is a little longer but not as steep. I like to do this hike as a sunset hike...the views are amazing. I usually make it back to the halfway point near the old hotel as night has fallen. The views of the city at night are breathtaking.

28 days ago

I loved this hike! I took the Sam Merril trail to Echo Mountain and took the left turn onto the Inspiration Point trail. The signs are pretty easy to follow. The signs will tell you it’s 8.7 miles but I had a couple GPS trackers that told me I did a total of 10.6 miles.
The Echo Mountain portion of the trail is really busy, almost annoyingly so. Once you turn off to the Inspiration Point Trail the crowds die down dramatically. I think I passed 2 people the whole time. It was very cloudy and overcast once I got to the top and there was zero visibility but I still enjoyed watching the fog roll around the mountains.
There are picnic tables at the top so bring food and have a little picnic, it will be well deserved!
The little signs make for great photo ops too.
I definitely recommend this hike and will try it again when the sun is out to see how far I can see out.

hiking
2 months ago

Such an amazing view. Hike can be difficult depending which trail you take. 2 Out of 3 can be difficult, the longer way of course is a bit easier. I wouldn’t recommend wearing your general tennis shoes for this as there are areas with rocks or narrow walk ways.

Pack plenty of food and water.

hiking
2 months ago

Great and tough hike. Make sure you bring lots of water and snacks. It can get really hot or be very cold on top. Also bring good shoes with good grip. Not a lot of shade and can get crowded.

hiking
3 months ago

Cloudy Monday AM (4/2/18). Best way to do it. Little sun, few people. Took Sam Merrill from Echo (2nd left after making the ridge). Longer but not as steep as Castle Canyon. 10.6mi total, 2756 ft elevation gain, 4.25 hours. Great views over the clouds.

4 months ago

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

hiking
4 months ago

The signs weren’t super clear (at least to us) and we ended up walking 5 extra miles for a total of 14, lol. Make sure you bring enough water since it is a long hike. The top is beautiful and hiking shoes are recommended for the downhill because it can be a little slippery.

hiking
5 months ago

hiking
5 months ago

Great workout with an excellent view at the top, one of the best day hikes in LA. Bring a lunch to enjoy at the top!

5 months ago

Gorgeous yet strenuous trail. At the summit we took a left and went down Sam Merrill until we reached echo peak (half way point~). It was super cold today but the views were worth the windchill.

hiking
5 months ago

Excellent hike with ruins, forest, and payoff at the top. I wouldn’t go if over 75-80 degrees as there is no shade on lower section, and sun is really intense here in SoCal.

hiking
6 months ago

Views are great !
Ps* do the trail early in the day. It does get warm out

6 months ago

10 mikes total if you don’t explore Echo Mountain. Beautiful hike! The way up is a little challenging but worth the views. Completed in just shy of 3.5 hours.

6 months ago

I’d say difficult... but worth it at the top - we clocked 12.99 miles from start to finish

6 months ago

Enjoyed the fake telescopes at the top of the trail. Good variety along the trail. Echo Mtn. is about the halfway point.

hiking
6 months ago

Wonderful view of the city of L.A. surrounded by the San Gabriel Mtns in Angeles Natl Forest. Once you get past the Echo mountain trail marker (about 2.3mi), you start feeling the steep incline as well as the elevation gain. Beautiful day to hike on a December!

6 months ago

Nice views along the trail. The last mile up to inspiration point is pretty steep but getting to the top is worth it and there are more trails from there.

hiking
7 months ago

did this trail in early November, hard but worth it for the views.

hiking
7 months ago

Good hike. Busy up to Echo Mountain, even on week days. Saw only one other person on the way to Inspiration Point. It was very hot and exposed to the sun, even in November.

7 months ago

Awesome trail. Obviously it's pretty heavy foot traffic going to the top of Echo Mountain but once you start hiking to Inspiration Point it's good. Peaceful and relaxing.

8 months ago

It is actually about 13 miles round trip I did the hike in 4:40 but allow time to rest and or eat at the top. View is ok. Interesting history about Lowe tavern and the trolley that once was built up there.

8 months ago

My very first hike! And let me tell you. Not advisable for beginners. But I completed. Barely! Lol

8 months ago

awesome trail! incredible views!

8 months ago

this is one of the best hiking trails the I ever done, really challenges you.

hiking
9 months ago

This is a pretty challenging loop, but it covers two absolutely wonderful canyons. You pass the ruins of the observatory first, then the views get better as you get higher. The upper part of middle Sam Merrill trail is in a heavily forested canyon, very quiet and lush. Castle canyon on the way back is steeper, so a little better for the downhill leg. Note the freshly restored monument to Sam.

9 months ago

Via Crystal Castle trail its def a booty kicker! be ready for an extreme hike up..ull feel the burn. When u get to the top tho its very rewarding..keep pushing! :)

hiking
9 months ago

hiking
10 months ago

One of my favorites

hiking
10 months ago

I have hiked to Inspiration Point 3 times now. The 1st time it was difficult and I was sore after, but the last two times were much easier especially using the Sam Merrill trail from Echo up and the Castle Canyon down. Total distance is just under 10 miles and takes between 4-6 hrs based on your pace and how long you spend looking around Echo Mtn and taking in the views at Inspiration Point. I would recommend going early during warmer months. Free street parking.

hiking
10 months ago

Not too bad. Have good shoes as it can be a little slippery. Trail can get very narrow at times. Will be back.

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