California Hike Travel

Echo Mountain from Mt. Lowe

Located in the Angeles National Forest, Echo Mountain is not only easy day hike, but has a fascinating history.

Did you know that this trail used to be an incline railway that led up to a hotel back in the 1890s? Pretty cool, right? Unfortunately, the hotel burned down hundreds of years ago and is now a historic artifact for locals and tourists to see.

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To get to the trailhead, most people start at the Cobb Estate and hike to Echo Mountain from there. I took the other route which was the Mount Lowe Railroad Trail.

I’m gonna warn you that the Mount Lowe Railroad Trailhead does require a National Forest Pass or Adventure Pass in order to park. But in my opinion, this trailhead is much easier on the knees especially if you’re not much of a hiker. To get the Adventure Pass, you can purchase one at REI for $5.


Here is the address to both trailheads:

Trailhead to Cobb Estate: Lake Ave & E Loma Alta Dr Altadena, CA 91001

Trailhead to Mt. Lowe Traihead: Echo Mountain (Mount Lowe Railroad Trail), Altadena, CA 91001


When you drive up to the trailhead parking lot, the road cuts most of the uphill sections, leaving you with a nice, gentle hike.

Once you park your car, there is a fence with a road behind it.

Follow the road for about 0.2 mile before you run into sign pointing to Echo Mountain on the left side of the trail.

Once you make a left onto the sign, the trail starts to gain elevation with a few switchbacks.

But fear not! There are plenty of shades under the trees if you’re feeling the Cali heat!

Not to mention the ever-changing scenery of the mountains…

Once you hike about a mile, there is another fork on the trail. Take the trail that says Sunset Ridge Trail.

The other fork leads to a small creek with a private cabin.

As you continue up Sunset Trail, you keep walking up small steps of stairs, gaining more elevation as you climb past the treeline.

As you progress, you will notice that the trails start to get narrower and steeper until you reach the main road. Once you reach the main road, there is a sink with a plaque behind it. This is where you can see Echo Mountain not too far ahead.

Now’s not the time to give up yet! Get ready for the final push!

As you follow the main road, there is a trail to the right that points out Echo Mountain. Follow that trail for 0.8 miles.

Along the way, you’ll notice interpretive signs talking about the history of the Mount Lowe railway.

This trail used to be a railroad for the Mt. Lowe Railway.

You’ll know you reached Echo Mountain when you see a giant wheel!

Keep walking straight ahead and you’ll find the remains of Echo Mountain House.

From there, enjoy the panoramic (not to mention…smoggy) views of Los Angeles!

Echo Mountain (Mt. Lowe Trail)

Distance: 3.5 miles one way

Elevation Gain: 1,400 ft

Time: 4-5 hours

Directions to Echo Mountain from Mt. Lowe Trail


Did you hike up Echo Mountain? Which route did you take? What was your most memorable moments there? Let me know by commenting down below.

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