Trailhead: Cobb Estate Trailhead
Note: Trailhead is not directly connected to parking area. See trailhead page for directions
Trail: Lower Sam Merrill Trail to Mt. Lowe Railway Trail to Upper Sam Merrill Trail to Mt. Lowe, down East Mt. Lowe Trail, Middle Sam Merrill Trail and Lower Sam Merrill Trail.
Stats: From the Cobb Estate to Mt. Lowe: 8.6 miles 3802′ gain. From Mt. Lowe to Cobb Estate (shorter route than ascent): 6.9 miles, 3802′ loss. Round trip: 15.5 miles, 3802′ gain and loss
Last Hiked: 3-2-2011
Trail Segments: Take the Lower Sam Merrill Trail to the Junction at Echo Mountain. Take the Lower Mt. Lowe Railway Trail up to the Cape of Good Hope. When you reach the paved road, turn right and head up to the Upper Mt. Lowe Railway Trail and take it past Lowe Campground to Lowe Saddle. From Lowe Saddle (where 5 trails meet), take the third trail–Mt. Lowe Road–shown on the Lowe Saddle page and head up to the Upper Sam Merrill Trail. Take the Upper Sam Merrill Trail to the Junction with the East Mt. Lowe Trail. At the Junction, head up a short trail to Mt. Lowe Summit. Return going down the trail to the Junction and head down the Upper East Mt. Lowe Trail. At the junction with the North Mt. Lowe Trail, continue down the East Mt. Lowe Trail to Mt. Lowe Road. Continue down Mt. Lowe Road to Lowe Saddle and take the Middle Sam Merrill Trail down to the junction at Echo Mountain. Finally, take the Lower Sam Merrill Trail down to the Cobb Estate.
Points of Interest: Mt. Lowe Railway Trails, Mt. Lowe Campground (old site of Alpine Tavern with some remains and many signs with historical photos)
Peaks: Mt. Lowe
The Lower Sam Merrill Trail is mostly without shade and the views are outward to the city. This makes for a great winter hike or morning/dawn hike during other seasons. It’s a popular trail where you will find people traversing at night. On a clear day, Catalina Island can be easily seen.
The Lower and Upper Mt. Lowe Railway Trails follow the path of the electric railway that once ran in this area. There are still a number of concrete footing where bridges once supported the tracks as well as numerous signs with historical information and old photos of how the train looked when it was operating.
The Middle Sam Merrill Trail goes around Inspiration Peak from the south, west, and north. This yields three different ecotones. From the trailhead up to the junction with the Inspiration Peak Trail is mostly chaparral along the southern side of the mountain without much shade. From that junction to Sunset Point is essentially along the western side of the mountain through a burn area. Both above parts of the trail have excellent views of the city. From Sunset Point to Lowe Saddle is along the north side of the mountain and is shady throughout with excellent views of Mt. Lowe and Grand Canyon.
The Upper Sam Merrill Trail goes around Mt. Lowe similar to how the Middle Sam Merrill Trail goes around Inspiration Peak. From the south, there are great views of the city and Inspiration Peak. As the trail moves west, the views are out toward Mt. Lukens and down Grand Canyon. On the north side there are excellent views of Mt. Disappointment, San Gabriel Peak, and Mt. Markham. This portion of the trail goes mostly through burn areas, so shade is sporadic.
The East Mt. Lowe Trail has a significant portion that is recovering burn area, so there isn’t much shade. It has great views overlooking Inspiration Point, to the ocean, Eaton Canyon, and of Mt. Wilson.
The Upper East Mt. Lowe Trail is also through burn area with very little shade. The views of Mt. Wilson, Mt. Markham, San Gabriel Peak and Mt. Disappointment are excellent.