Sam Merrill Railway Ruins

 9 votes
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Featured Hike

5.3 Miles 8.6 Kilometers



1,361' 415 m


-1,361' -415 m


3,206' 977 m


1,846' 563 m



Avg Grade (6°)


Max Grade (15°)

All Clear

66 days agoUpdate

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

Alison Kelly


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.
Features: Birding — Views — Wildflowers — Wildlife
Dogs: Leashed

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.


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 .5 mile or so in each direction, but there is reliable parking there.

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 mile 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 cog railroad which once reached the lodge (separate trails follow the former railway path).


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4.2 from 9 votes

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Feb 25, 2017
Joey Audrey Janssen
Feb 4, 2017
Lindsay Hanania
Great hike 5.7mi
Jan 21, 2017
Bryson Asmus
Jan 15, 2017
Christie Kwan
Jan 14, 2017
Keito K
Dec 4, 2016
Luke Fuller
Trail was great. Lots of people out and it definitely gets narrow in some spots! Awesome views, we could see the ocean the whole way up. 5.3mi
Sep 18, 2016
Tim Whalen
Aug 20, 2016
Nobel LeTendre
2h 30m

Trail Ratings

  4.2 from 9 votes


  4.2 from 9 votes
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in California


46 Views Last Month
512 Since Apr 14, 2015
Intermediate Intermediate



All Clear 66 days ago
Mostly Dry - trail is in great shape considering all of the rain as of late. very little mud.
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