Echo Mountain Shuttle Hike and Launch

  • Sat, April 07, 2018
  • 9:00 AM
  • Memorial Park, Pasadena


Registration is closed

Join us in experiencing the first modern transit-to-trails system to Echo Mountain since the historic Mount Lowe Railway stopped in 1937 (81 years ago!)

Hike - Echo Mountain via Sam Merrill Trail:
Distance: 6 miles round trip.  Elevation gain: 1500 ft.
Difficulty: Strenuous/Moderate, all uphill to the top.
Shuttle bus: Free for this weekend!

Co-organized with Nature for All.

Feel free to come early for the public program in Memorial Park, Pasadena at 9 a.m., table with Bryan, enjoy Old Town Pasadena... or meet our group at 11 a.m. in the park to take the shuttle to the trailhead.  

Shuttle Launch Location: Memorial Park, Pasadena (Google map link) is next to the Metro Gold Line Memorial Park Station. Make it a transit day and hike without a car! Or there are parking lots around the park.

However, if you only want to meet us directly at the trailhead, get there on your own and wait until we show up. We'll start hiking at 11:45 a.m. Parking is on neighborhood streets and may be blocks away (hence the new shuttle service)

Trailhead location: Cobb Estate gate, Altadena (Google map link)

Great Outdoors has been invited by our friends at Nature for All (formerly San Gabriel Mountains Forever) to promote our club with an information table at an exciting event - the Launch Party of a new Pasadena shuttle to take people up to the famous Echo Mountain trailhead! Bryan will man the Great Outdoors table at Memorial Park in Pasadena from 9:00 - 11:00 a.m., then lead the group hike using the shuttle at ~11:15 a.m. from the park.

We will ride the new 40-passenger bus service from Memorial Park in Pasadena, to the Cobb Estate gate / trailhead in Altadena, on Lake Avenue. From here we will begin our hike up 1500 ft of elevation gain to reach the historic ruins of Echo Mountain and Thaddeus Lowe's fabled Mount Lowe Railway. 

We'll get to know the fascinating history, amazing views, and serious uphill workout of this mountain. Bring a hat, sunscreen, water because there's no shade. But getting to the top and having your lunch/snacks/wine/beer (BYO picnic!) will be worth it! 

We will take our time up there and explore the ruins of "The White City" (Echo Mountain House and surrounding buildings, which burned down sadly in 1900, only a few years after the luxury hotel was built). Lowe’s funicular and railway ran from Rubio Canyon in Altadena, up the San Gabriel Mountains front range from 1893 to 1936 and carried 4 million passengers before it was shut down. Four destination hotels, an observatory, menagerie, casino, an Alpine Tavern, waterfall viewing staircases, even -- made this a wonder above Los Angeles, but alas fire, wind and rain brought every last grand structure down.

Contemporary photo by Steve Crise. Compositing by Jim Bunte. Mount Lowe Preservation Society Collection.

Activity Schedule

9:00 a.m. (Optional) Opening Day Shuttle Launch program begins at Memorial Park, Pasadena. Speakers include: L.A. County Supervisor Kathryn Barger, Congresswoman Judy Chu, and Mayor of Pasadena Terry Tornek. Other organizations and activities: TBA.

Great Outdoors LA will be tabling & promoting our upcoming events. 

11:00 a.m. Great Outdoors hikers & guests assemble in Memorial Park for hike.

11:15 a.m.  Hikers go to the Raymond/Holly bus stop and wait for Shuttle to the trailhead. (Free today!)

~11:45 a.m. Arrive at Cobb Estate gate/Echo Mountain trailhead. Begin hike. 

~1:30 p.m. Arrive at Echo Mountain ruins. Lunch, relax, explore.

~3:00 p.m. Hike back down

~4:00 p.m. End hike at Cobb Estate gate (Lake Avenue)

~4:45 p.m. Return to Memorial Park by shuttle

Pasadena Star News: First modern transit-to-trails from Pasadena to San Gabriel Mountains starts in April

Launch event:

Shuttle route info

Hiking trail info

I HIGHLY RECOMMEND watching this Mount Lowe Railway history video and reading some of the incredible history before the hike!

Mount Lowe Railway: What Remains (Aol, 3:54)

Mount Lowe Volunteers - History page

Trip Leader: Bryan Matsumoto  Cell: (626) 246-8634

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