Friday, August 13, 2010

Hike 82: Echo Mountain

Hiked Friday, August 13. This used to be by far my most frequently walked trail, up until this year. This year, I'm pretty sure I've hiked out of Eaton Canyon more frequently. But I still like Echo Mountain. It's got that cool "White City" as a destination.

From the 210 freeway, exit on Lake and head north until the road reaches an end (it makes a sharp left turn at the end, and turns into Loma Alta Drive). Park near the bend. The trail starts through the gates of the "Cobb Estate." The actual gates are usually locked, but the trail goes around the south end of the gates.

Follow the old paved road until it turns north. When the road turns to the north, you should keep going straight (unless you want to take the Altadena Crest Trail to the west). There's a drinking fountain right after the trail leaves the pavement. From there, the Sam Merrill trail up to Echo Mountain heads to the left; the eastbound Altadena Crest Trail goes straight before heading down and to your left.

The sign indicates its 2.7 miles to Echo Mountain. From there, it would be an additional 2 miles to Inspiration Point (which I've hiked twice this year).

This trail is extremely well defined, much better than it was about twelve or fifteen years ago. It's always been heavily used, but sometime in the last ten or so years it was substantially widened and reinforced. In most places, it's between 3 and 5 feet wide.

There are wooden 4x4 stakes at the one and two mile points, although I miss the first stake more often than not. Also, tonight, the "2" on the two mile stake was missing. Between the first and second mile, there's one point where you walk right under an electric transmission tower. Informally, I always consider that the half-way point to Echo Mountain.

If it's clear, there are nice views south over the San Gabriel Valley, southwest, to Downtown Los Angeles, Palos Verdes, and Santa Catalina Island, and west, to Century City. Sunsets can be pretty cool from up here, too.

From the top, the air to the north seemed very clear, and I had a nice view of Inspiration Point, to my north. Downtown was also easy. Yes, it was a little hazy, but it's about as clear as you can get, except immediately after a big storm.

Tonight, I actually went a little earlier than I wanted to. My initial plan was to be at the top around sundown, then watch the crescent moon and Venus pop out of the twilight. However, I made it to the top around 6:30pm, and even after killing some time up there taking pictures, it was still about an hour before sunset. So I headed on down early. Maybe I'll try this again in about a month.

Despite the temperate weather we've had this year, the mountain is definitely drying out. Most of the annuals have dried out. The only color left were some Indian Pinks that I saw, still in bloom.


  1. I was just thinking the mountains look like they are drying out. We've had a few hot days on the trail up here in Northern California.

  2. Figure you'll be in Oregon any day, now. :D

    Second hot snap of the season for us back in the LA area. Somewhere near 100 in the inland valleys today, even hotter than yesterday. I thought it was supposed to start cooling down today, but they pushed it back another day. Still around 80 degrees and humid as I write this. Just letting you know what you're missing! :D

    Best of luck on the rest of your hike!