Sam Merril Trail to Echo Mountain

Pasadena, California

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This path dips briefly into a shaded canyon and past a dry riverbed, then begins to climb via long switchbacks up Echo Mountain to an altitude of 1,400 feet. The reward is the ruins of a turn-of-the-twentieth-century mountain resort with sweeping views of downtown Los Angeles and the San Gabriel Valley. Stone pillars and an old iron gate mark the entrance to this former estate in Altadena, a laid-back community just north of Pasadena. The grounds are now a part of the Angeles National Forest, and a plaque at the entrance dedicates the property as “a quiet refuge for people and wild life forever.” This is one of my favorite trails in Los Angeles County—the hikers are friendly and polite, the views are spectacular, and it offers a history lesson to boot. The looping switchbacks make the hike seem longer than it actually is.

Sam Merril Trail to Echo Mountain Professional Review and Guide

"This path dips briefly into a shaded canyon and past a dry riverbed, then begins to climb via long switchbacks up Echo Mountain to an altitude of 1,400 feet. The reward is the ruins of a turn-of-the-twentieth-century mountain resort with sweeping views of downtown Los Angeles and the San Gabriel Valley.

Stone pillars and an old iron gate mark the entrance to this former estate in Altadena, a laid-back community just north of Pasadena. The grounds are now a part of the Angeles National Forest, and a plaque at the entrance dedicates the property as “a quiet refuge for people and wild life forever.” This is one of my favorite trails in Los Angeles County—the hikers are friendly and polite, the views are spectacular, and it offers a history lesson to boot. The looping switchbacks make the hike seem longer than it actually is."

Activity Type: Hiking
Nearby City: Pasadena
Distance: 5.9
Elevation Gain: 1,210 feet
Trail Type: Out-and-back
Skill Level: Difficult
Duration: 3.5 hours
Season: Year-round
Local Contacts: 626-574-1613; www.fs.usda.gov/main/angeles
Local Maps: USGS Pasadena and USGS Mount Wilson; at kiosk beyond trailhead
Driving Directions: Directions to Sam Merril Trail to Echo Mountain

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May 2018