Inspiration Point - Trail, Altadena / North Pasadena, California

Inspiration Point - Trail, Altadena / North Pasadena, California

DESCRIPTION

The narrow trail to Echo mountain is 2.6 miles long w/ an elevation gain of 1400 feet. It's one of the best trails in the San Gabriel front country. At the Echo Moutain junction turn left and follow the trail to the Mount Lowe Fire road. You have just by passed 1600 feet of boring fire road at this point! Follow the fire road to Inspiration point. It's okay to read the self guided tour provided by the USFS and volunteers. Notice the recently rebuilt shelters. It comes in handy. The Mount Lowe Hotel ruins are located not too far from Inspiration point. Self guided tour markers will direct you to it. The signed Sam Merril Trail head is located less than .25 miles away from Inpiration point and Mount Lowe Hotel grounds. It's one of the many options from a 5 way intersection. P.S. Pass by Inspiration Point before descending the Sam Merril Trail heading towards Echo Mountain. The Upper Sam Merril Trail has a different flavor as the lower Merril. Its as exposed as the other lower trail, but this one is a bit more technical and rockier. But the views and granite formations are awesome. It's an exciting trail. It's 2.5 miles to Echo mountain and another 2.5 miles to Cobb Estates where you are parked. Highly historic, Lots of single track to fulfill your doctors orders and it's fun. **** Please, observe the self imposed 6 mph max speed limit while descending the Lower trail to Cobb Estates. THANK YOU VERY MUCH!

USER REVIEWS

Showing 1-9 of 9  
[Sep 16, 2013]
Eddie
Cross Country Rider

Very fun trail if you can avoid the hikers. Recommend very early rides. Good climbing workout with decent downhill blast.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
[Nov 05, 2009]
DannyBoy1
Cross Country Rider

Done this trail 3 times now in the past month, and its great, i love it and can't get enough of it! Very exposed, blind corners, (watchout for the hikers) and some deep rutted switchbacks.
I really perfer the Middle Sm, from inspiration point, since its less traveled and a little bit more tech,faster flowing. but since the station fire some of the trail is washedout or too damn rocky! But its such a nice ride that it wont stop me from coming back!

Customer Service

Go up Lower SM to Echo Mnt. Take the Mt. Lowe connector trail. Make right and cruise to Inspiration Point.

Similar Products Used:

The Upper SM, but thats for rock junkies!

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
[Mar 10, 2007]
MGW12
Cross Country Rider

I have ridden this trail at least 8-10 tyimes over the past 18 years! I have seen it change & yet it is still one of the most awesome & technically challenging rides around! How did we do this all those years back with no suspension & no disk or v-brakes!..We were real men back then! heh-heh! Loving MTBing still after 18 years of riding!

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
2
[Nov 24, 1998]
john

riding up the lower sam merrill like the first description suggest should be left to the more advanced riders. the trip up is very steep and narrow, and it is also very exposed. there are a lot of rocky swithbacks and dropoffs. it does, however, offer some great views of the san gabriel valley. unless you are a very advanced rider DON'T ATTEMPT TO GO DOWN THIS TRAIL!! the directions i suggest make for a longer ride but it is by far not as dangerous nor strenuous. it is definitely a hard climb to make, but at least here you don't have to worry about falling off a cliff. the climb is mostly on pavement
(known as mount lowe), and when you finally reach the dirt (about 3miles later) it gets easier. once you reach the saddle you take the fire road that goes to inspiration point. there is a signpost that gives perfectly clear directions. it goes in 4 different directions. you can choose to ride up to echo mountain, down the Idylhour singletrack to the mount wilson toll road, to inspiration point, or down the upper sam merrill singletrack. that will take you to the old railcar station. that is a very cool place to go after inspiration point. the inspiration point fire road will take you there also. after going to the old railcar stations i would suggest riding across the singletrack to the mount lowe road. it is shorter and more fun than going back the way you came. once back on the mount lowe road you can head back down to the car or take a singletrack that is on the left hand side of the road (sunset ridge). the singletrack will dump you back out further down the mount lowe road. this would be an epic ride for most people. i would recommend this to everyone who is in good shape because it is just beautiful up there and you also get to check out some historical points of interests.

Customer Service

a better way to get to Inspiration Point is to go up Lake Blvd, but instead of stopping at Loma Alta, go left on Loma Alta (Lake ends at Loma Alta). Go a little ways until you see Chaney Trail. there is a red flashing light at that intersection. make a right and follow it up until you see a gate on the right hand side of the road. You will need a forest service Wilderness Parking Pass to park there (these can be obtained in the local Pasadena bike shops). park your car and ride through the gate. you will climb about 3 miles of steep pavement and when you finally hit the dirt it will ease up and the saddle isn't too far away. when you reach the saddle, the trail splits in many directions. follow the sign that says inspiration point (to the right). this will lead you right there.

Similar Products Used:

other trails to ride in the area are the idylehour singletrack to the mount wilson toll road. it is an absolutely beautiful singletrack to ride. it doesn't look like you are even in southern california anymore.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
[Feb 02, 1999]
Andy

This is a great ride, very steep, very unrelenting, and as of late has been professionally cleaned up and made so that it is completely rideable bottom to top.Be friendly to the grumpy local hikers, they tend to complain.And when you get to the top, you will have earned a really fun, and harrowing downhill!

Customer Service

Ignore John's advice about Chainy Trail, and park at the top of Lake. His route replaces fun technical singletrack with a horrible grueling paved climb.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
[Mar 01, 1999]
Eric

As far as the Chaney Trail paved fireroad vs. top-of- Lake Ave. single track for the initial ascent, I would have to agree that the latter is a very advanced ascent, unrelentingly steep and exposed. I would also agree that the paved alternative is kind of boring, however it will save you maybe a few hundred feet of climbing. If I'm going all the way to Mt Wilson, I prefer to grind up the pavement and save the good single track for the descent. Also, I find the upper section of the Sam Merril single track, from Inspiration down to Echo Mountain, more fun and way less crowded than the lower section. I always meet quite a few hikers on the lower section, even on weekdays.

With all the options and the great views, this is an area worth a number of visits. The only thing from keeping this from becoming the Disneyland of mountain biking is all the climbing.

Customer Service

Also a great route to Mt Wilson! In addition to the great views, gnarly single tracks, and history of the old Mt Lowe Railway, the Mt Lowe road continues up all the way to Mt Wilson. Just follow the wide road past the Inspiration Point trail. This route is 10.6 miles total and gains 3600 feet, which is somewhat less grueling than the classic Mt Wilson Toll road a couple of miles to the east (a 4300' climb.) There's an interesting tunnel and a great view just before you hit the paved Red Box Road, which you have to take for another mile and a half to the summit. You can return the same way, or you could always descend the Toll Road for a loop, but of course then you'll have to ride back up to your car or use a second car for a short shuttle back up Chaney Trail Road.

Similar Products Used:

Also accessible from the Chaney Trail access road are the Brown Mountain trails which offer some shorter climbs and a couple of loops. Just continue on Chaney Trail to the Millard Campground parking lot and ride through the camp to the trail.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
[Apr 18, 1999]
Charles

Posted by Duplicate Post from Tech on April 18, 1999 at 20:45:49:

Please write a letter and tell them how you feel to a possible total ban of Mtn Bikes on the Lower Sam Merril Trail which Originates at the top of Lake Ave in Altadena and ends at Echo Mountain!

Arroyo Seco District
Oak Grove Park
Flintridge, Ca 91011
818-790-1151

[Side Note] If you have not contributed time for trail maintenance work please contact the Mt.Wilson
Bicycle Association at 626-795-3836 for a recorded message for the next trail work day. [ 4-24-99 -
saturday ]

Today, Sunday 4-18-99 a rider and I were climbing the Lower Sam Merril trail on our way to Mt.Wilson
when we were warned by a cyclist descending the trail about an older lady in her 70's who was
anti-bikes and is confrontational.

Ten minutes later, as I continued to climb the trail and see an approaching hiker from the distance, I
pulled over to let her pass. All of a sudden I was being yelled at with the following from a distance w/
a very angry & disrespectful tone of voice:

" Don't you know this trail is banned for bikes and you must take the Paved Mt.Lowe Road? " " This
trail is too narrow to accomodate a cyclist and a hiker" An accident can prove fatal for a hiker due to
the narrow cliff trail"

As I explained to her, that forest service personel on mountain bikes actually ride this trail and that
there are NO signs at the trail head to ban us from using this trail. Furthermore, I stated to her, the
reason why I have pulled over is to let her pass safely. I'm guided by a code of conduct.. Her
response,

" Don't you worry about the Forest Service! WE WILL FIGHT them all the way to ensure that you
bikers are not allowed on this trail! You will see, and I promise you that!"


With that statement, I am assuming a rally is in progress to request the forest service to take action on
a total ban on bikes on the Lower Sam Merril Trail. You may think one trail closure is insignifcant, but
if they succeed, who knows where it will stop? It's the beginning of the end.

Thank you for your time.

Charles

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
[Mar 13, 2000]
Robert

This is one of the best single tracks I have ridden in So Cal!

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
[May 26, 2003]
Paul

the most satisfying ride i've done in a long time. the trail is clean and consistent. fun switchbacks. if you can, go during the week to avoid the hikers on the weekends. make it to the top - it's worth the effort.

Customer Service

park at the top of lake ave and ascend lower sam merril

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
Showing 1-9 of 9  

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