Echo Mountain to Inspiration Point

Hi everyone! This week has definitely been crazy with tests and assignments for school so I’m really excited to find some time to write about my hiking adventures from this weekend. On Sunday my dad and I hiked Echo Mountain to Inspiration Point in Pasadena, CA. One of our other co-founders, Stefanie, hiked the same trail but started later than we did. My dad and I began at Cobbs Estate which leads you to the Sam Merrill Trail. We started around 8am so there were plenty of people on the trail which made it easy to figure out where to go. Pictured below is the sign detailing the trails and their mileage.

Sam Merrill Trailhead

As we continued on we enjoyed the nice views of the mountain this trail has to offer. We were able to enjoy a lot of shade throughout the hike, mainly due to our earlyish start and the surprisingly cooler temperature on this Sunday morning. The initial part of our hike was to Echo Mountain which was about 2.5 miles and had an elevation gain of 1399′. This felt relatively easy as there were a lot of switchbacks and the cool temperature made it very enjoyable.

Sam Merrill Trail to Echo Mountain

I did not know what to expect the summit of Echo Mountain to look like and I was pleasantly surprised to find so many interesting artifacts and posters about the history of this mountain! Echo Mountain was part of the Mount Lowe Railway which existed from 1893 till 1938. Back in the day this area was a place for people to eat, sleep and shop. Who knew?! There are tons of signs all over detailing all of the events that took place.

Artifact at Echo Mountain

Another unique part of Echo Mountain was the Echo Phone we found. Many people were lined up to try it out and see if their voices would really echo throughout the mountain. The Echo Phone definitely works, as we heard many people testing it out as we continued our hike.

Echo Phone

After exploring the summit we decided to extend our hike to Inspiration Point. There are several options you can choose to do while at the summit, you can either go back down to Cobbs Estate, which would be about 5 miles round trip or continue on to Inspiration Point. We were told there were two different options to Inspiration Point, either a 2 mile trail with higher elevation gain or a 4 mile trail. We chose to do the 2 mile trail which was easy to find.

Trailhead to 2 mile hike to Inspiration Point

This portion of the hike was slightly more difficult than the initial 2.5 miles to Echo Mountain because the elevation gain is about 1,341′ over 2 miles. This definitely isn’t a “difficult” trail but we could definitely feel the difference in the two trails. There was even more shade on this trail which is always a plus in sunny SoCal. After traveling for 2 miles we finally reach Inspiration Point. This area had a couple benches and a covering for shade, plus more information about the railway. My favorite part of this area was the telescope view that highlighted different cities and places of southern CA.

Telescope View

After reaching Inspiration Point there are many options to choose from. You can either go back to Echo Mountain from the same trail, return back to the Sam Merrill trail which would be a loop, or even head to the Mount Wilson summit! We decided to do a loop and head back towards the Sam Merrill trail. This trail was narrow for a decent amount of time which became difficult when we had to share the road with bikers. This trail does not offer as much shade as the earlier trails did so we definitely felt the heat, but the trail offers beautiful view of the mountain and city of Pasadena. We made our way down and eventually reached Echo Mountain again. After returning to Echo Mountain we continued onto the initial trail we took and made it back to Cobbs Estate. Overall this hike was 10.7 miles, according to the “All Trails” app and had an elevation gain of 2,795′. We took about 4 hours to complete the hike, which included all of our stops for pictures and exploring. I loved all of the views this trail had to offer and the shade during the initial part of the hike. If you are sensitive to heat I would recommend starting early and bringing a lot of water. I will definitely visit this trail again!

“All Trails” App

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