Mount Lowe West Trail Professional Reviews and Guides
"Located in the Angeles National Forest in the foothills above Sierra Madre. Highlights: Awesome technical singletrack descent. Old hotel ruins at Echo Mountain. Historical trail markers for Old Mount Lowe Railway. Hazards: Steep cliffs, poison oak, lots of bugs. Forest Adventure Pass required."
--Mark Ross & Brad Fine, Mountain Biking Southern California (Falcon Guides).
"This rail-trail lies on the bed of one of the most famous and historic rail lines in the Los Angeles area. The Mount Lowe Railway, which featured a remarkable incline up Rubio Canyon to the Echo Mountain House, and a circular bridge that was world renowned as an engineering landmark, stopped transporting passengers up the mountain in 1939, but the route continues to thrill modern visitors with its scenery and views. Surface: Ballast and dirt. A Forest Adventure Pass, available for a small fee at sporting goods outlets throughout the Los Angeles area, is required to use this trail."
--Tracy Salcedo-Chourre, Best Rail Trails California (Falcon Guides).
"This route has it all: a challenging, lung- and leg-burning ascent, great views, numerous plaques with historical factoids to read on the way up, and a heartstopping descent with endless technical challenges and sheer cliffs nearby to test your intestinal fortitude. The Mount Lowe Railway, with the descents on Sam Merrill and Sunset trails, will challenge riders of all skill levels and must be experienced by everyone. Safety Message Novice riders be wary: the entire trail is exposed to many steep drop-offs and cliffs. It may be best to avoid this trail entirely if your technical skills aren’t up to par."
--Charles Patterson, Mountain Bike! Los Angeles County (Menasha Ridge Press).
"If you’ve hit San Gabriel Peak, Mount Disappointment, and Mount Markham but still want to spend more time on the trail, this route to Mount Lowe is worth the extra time and effort. The nearly 360-degree views from the summit of Mount Lowe give you an excellent lay of the land of this region of the San Gabriel Mountains, along with some brilliant views of the Los Angeles basin on clear days. Just remember: it’s uphill both ways!"
-- Casey Schreiner , Day Hiking Los Angeles (The Mountaineers Books).
"Late in the year, when the smog lightens, but temperatures still hover within a moderate register, come up to Mount Lowe to toast the setting sun. You can sit on an old bench, pour some champagne, and watch Old Sol sink into Santa Monica Bay."
--Jerry Schad and David Money Harris, 101 Hikes in Southern California: Exploring Mountains, Seashore and Desert (Wilderness Press).
"Late in the year, when the smog lightens but temperatures still hover within a moderate register, come up to Mount Lowe to toast the setting sun. You can sit on an old bench, pour the champagne, and watch Old Sol sink into Santa Monica Bay."
--Jerry Schad , Afoot & Afield Los Angeles County (Wilderness Press).
Careful not to take the first left described in the guide. The guide is confusing, and it is easy to make this mistake. It leads you to a nice waterfall, but its a much shorter hike, and because the canyon is so steep, there is no way to meet up with the other trail that goes to Dawn Mine.
Also, when we went on May 11, 2008, there were hand-written notes taped to signs at the trailhead, and along the trail to the waterfall about recent Mountain Lion sightings and attacks on dogs. The regular trail looks amazing, however, so I'll give it a good rating.
We loved the trail. Lots of variety, climbing up to the top of the canyon and then dropping down to the creek. The hike summary failed to stress enough how washed out the trail through the canyon along the creek is. There was a lot of rock and boulder hopping, which made it fun but more difficult than the trail summary indicated. Plan on getting your feet wet!
Great little walk, particularly if it has rained recently. Get ready to get wet or have a walking staff as you have to cross the creek at least a half dozen times.
Sorry, I made a blunder in my review. The mine shafts are on the LEFT as you go upstream.
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