Mount Lowe Railway Loop

HARD 219 reviews
#15 of 223 trails in

Mount Lowe Railway Loop is a 9.8 mile moderately 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. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

Distance: 9.8 miles Elevation Gain: 2,762 feet Route Type: Loop

dog friendly

camping

hiking

mountain biking

nature trips

bird watching

running

forest

views

wild flowers

wildlife

Fascinating historic railway, great views, pine trees, deep canyons. This is a 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.

awesome trail. Great views throughout. Get there early since parking is small.

running
rocky
4 days ago

Great hike with fantastic view and cool spots to see. Added a loop up to mount Lowe which was spectacular. Challenging but very doable.

hiking
6 days ago

The trail was nice and goes alongside the road for a while. There were great views of the city from inspiration point, and the trail itself was not hard. I'm not sure about the distance, because a different app we used recorded 12 miles, and the entire loop took 6 hours, including a 30 minute lunch break at the top. Weather was pleasant at the bottom, but chilly at the top, so i'm glad I had a puffy jacket with me. There is a single, very small stream to fill up water (if you have a filter), and it's about mid way point of the loop. The downside is that there are many mountain bikers that go very fast downhill, so you're always a little bit on edge. That would be the main reason I wouldn't do this trail again.

hiking
rocky
scramble
7 days ago

Did this in about 5hrs with leisurely stops. Great hike. Challenging but not too hard. Avoid the scramble trail (there is an option to take it, you can stick to the fire road) if you’re not in the mood for a challenge!

hiking
bugs
icy
rocky
11 days ago

It was a great hike. I did the hike clockwise direction. There's opportunity to visit Echo Mountain and Inspiration Point. There's some bugs but not too much. Lots of shades and the temperature was cool throughout the hike. I will definitely do this again.

hiking
rocky
scramble
13 days ago

hiking
rocky
1 month ago

hiking
no shade
2 months ago

Good for how close it is to the city. Otherwise it’s okay- follows paved road for a significant portion which is disappointing.

hiking
3 months ago

Really nice trail.

hiking
4 months ago

5.4 hours. Beautiful views historical and workout

hiking
4 months ago

This is a great trek. Inspiration point is gorgeous and taking the Merrill trail back down proved both fun and gorgeous. Make sure you've got plenty of water, the fire road can be gnarly if you're doing it mid-day.

hiking
5 months ago

I can't believe there are hikes like this within 45 minutes of West LA! A nice variety of surfaces, flora, little bit of fauna. Very solid. I did the loop(s) clockwise which meant a longer uphill and a steeper downhill which I probably shoulda reversed since I like running my descent. Anyhow, if you've done the six pack of peaks and are looking for something new, totally give this a try.

hiking
6 months ago

CAUTION! There was a Mountain Lion spotted on the fire road about a 1/4mile from Inspiration Point on July, 4th 2019 around 7:00PM

hiking
bugs
off trail
rocky
6 months ago

Очень понравилась тропа. Начал в 8 утра, спустился в 12:30 с одним перерывом. Есть и участки с теньком и солнечные. Прекрасные виды. Часть спуска сильно похожа на внедорожье, но так даже веселее

hiking
7 months ago

Great trail with high elevation gain’s. Flora changes from the base of the mountain all the way to the Summit. Allowing you to see shrubs and hardwood trees on the same hike. Fauna includes deer, raptors, coyotes, bobcats, and the occasional bear if you get lucky. Bring at least 40 oz of water if you plan on doing the full hike from the base to the summit, I would bring more if you like to stay hydrated. The summit offers 360 views, allowing you to see Los Angeles, Mnt Baldy, and the Los Angeles National Forest. It’s a great hike year round, but especially fun during the winter months when the summit gets covered in snow.

hiking
bugs
rocky
8 months ago

I highly recommend you start by doing the face up Echo Mountain which leaves you on the fire road not to far from the Mt. Lowe trail. The high intensity begin makes the rest of the hike easy breezy.

hiking
rocky
9 months ago

What a pretty trail, but wtf I almost got killed by mountain bikers at least 3 times. Mountain bikers, use a BELL please and just go ahead and assume that a hiker will be around the next hairpin. Unfortunately many of these guys are not skilled mountain bikers and unable to control their bikes safely. Not all bikers were nice either. Scenery was very lovely with flowers and lots of birds but too much freakin testosterone on this trail. :(

hiking
rocky
9 months ago

A lot of loose rock on the trail. Lots of bikers but all were very friendly and communicative. Wear a hat and sunscreen, many portions of the trail have no shade. Overall great hike!

hiking
rocky
snow
11 months ago

Great trail. Lots of beautiful views and the history of the railroad is amazing. Just wish the Alpine Tavern was still there to get a beer! Some snow at the upper elevations and patches of thin ice to watch out for but nothing too bad. Good water sources. Decent off the top is a bit steep and extended so trekking poles are in order.

hiking
rocky
washed out
11 months ago

Trail is fantastic. Phone died halfway through so it didn't record the whole thing, but no way possible to do this hike in under 10 miles. Took us about 14 miles today total including an extra mile - mile and a half with the road being closed due to the government shutdown as well.

hiking
rocky
washed out
11 months ago

Load More