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Mt. Lowe Railway Ruins

  4.2 ( 33 ) Favorite


5.3 mile 8.5 kilometer out and back


Ascent: 1,344' 410 m
Descent: -1,344' -410 m
High: 3,189' 972 m
Low: 1,851' 564 m


Avg Grade: 10% (5°)
Max Grade: 22% (12°)


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Trail shared by Alison Kelly

A very popular trail; at Echo Mountain's summit, multiple trails branch out that extend your hike.

Alison Kelly

Features Birding · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife


This is a great little out-and-back hike. Novice hikers, tourists and families will enjoy the wonderful views (I've seen to Long Beach from here before!) and exciting ruins at the top of Echo Mountain. Experienced hikers will enjoy the opportunity to expand the hike via spurs to Mt. Lowe, Inspiration Point, and others at the summit of Echo Mountain. Expect lots of switchbacks with some steep sections at the beginning, but the trail becomes more mellow and somewhat sheltered by scrub brush with altitude.

Need to Know

Bring water! The first portion with switchbacks is steep, dusty, and exposed. Beware of poison oak—it can be found along the sides of the trail for its duration. There are no restrooms at the start of the trail or on Echo Mountain. The nearest restroom is at Farnsworth Park on Lake Ave., 3 blocks south of Loma Altra Dr.


Street parking only; be considerate of neighborhood signs noting restrictions in different areas. I like to park down the hill on Lake Avenue by the rec center; this does add another 0.5 miles or so in each direction, but there is reliable parking there. Pass through the iron gate of the Cobb Estate and go east 0.1 miles to the start of the Lower Sam Merrill Trail 12W14.1. Follow this trail for 2.7 to the intersection of the Echo Mountain Trail 12W14.A. Turn right and go 0.2 miles to the ruins.

The first portion of the trail is a series of mostly exposed, dusty switchbacks which rise rapidly with some steep sections. There are steep drop-offs, so novice hikers may get nervous. On clear days you'll be able to see the ocean out towards Santa Monica and clear views of downtown Los Angeles very readily on this section, so take all the breaks you need!

The middle section is wooded with scrub and live oak stands. Beware of copious poison oak along the trail, mostly in this middle and upper portion of the trail. Another good reason to keep your dog leashed!

At the top, the trail levels and broadens as you head the last 0.25 miles to the ruins. Note the multiple spurs along this section with signage and mileage to destinations such as Mt. Lowe, Mr. Lowe Railway, and Inspiration Point.

The overlook at the apex of the Echo Mountain Trail is the ruins of a turn of the century tourist destination lodge and restaurant. The views are fantastic and there are fun things to do like shout into the "Echo" apparatus that really does echo wonderfully against Mt. Lowe. This is a great place to have a lunch.

Flora & Fauna

Great bird watching!

History & Background

There are ruins of a turn of the century lodge and restaurant, as well as remnants of the Mt. Lowe funicular railroad which once reached the lodge (separate trails follow the former railway path).

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Family Friendly, ADA Accessible

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Aug 17, 2019
Jonathan Limon
Jul 6, 2019
Sacha Robertson
First proper hike with JBJ. Made it to the top! With a little pre hike at the start. Beautiful hot and hazy day. 5.3mi
Jun 15, 2019
Alvin Wong
5.3mi — 2h 30m
May 5, 2019
Sara Lotz
Mar 30, 2019
Craig Streiff
Feb 20, 2019
Leonardo Vazquez
Dec 23, 2018
Tina Bach
Dec 9, 2018
Yukiko Matsumoto

Trail Ratings

  4.2 from 33 votes


  4.2 from 33 votes
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in California


106 Views Last Month
4,723 Since Apr 14, 2015



Beautiful mountain views.
Apr 14, 2015 near Altadena, CA
Flat, sandy trail and lovely flora along the link trail.
May 11, 2015 near Altadena, CA
Sierra Club WTC Group Five, Winter 2012.
Apr 3, 2018 near Altadena, CA
Heading into the more sheltered/scrub brush portion.
Apr 14, 2015 near Altadena, CA
Wide, flat portion near the ruins at the top. This is the portion of the trail where other spur trails are noted via signage.
Apr 14, 2015 near Altadena, CA
Lush live oaks - beware poison oak here!  On the Echo Mountain Trail
Apr 14, 2015 near Altadena, CA

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