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Mount Lowe Railway Trail, CA

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Rated  Favorite Wish List CA > Los Angeles
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Difficulty 2.5 of 5
Distance One Way 3.6 miles
Trailhead Elevation 3,178 feet
Elevation Gain 1,253 feet
Accumulated Gain 1,286 feet
Kokopelli Seeds 7.89
varies or not certain dogs are allowed
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Preferred   May, Oct, Jun, Apr
Sun  6:25am - 4:49pm
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Water
Nearby Area Water
Castle Canyon Trail 12W28
0.1 mi away
1.8 mi
1,342 ft
Incline Railway Trail - Lowe
0.4 mi away
1.1 mi
1,217 ft
Lone Tree Trail
0.6 mi away
1.4 mi
1,956 ft
Rubio Canyon
0.6 mi away
1.0 mi
819 ft
Lone Tree Pavilion Trail
0.6 mi away
0.4 mi
-390 ft
Sam Merrill Trail
0.7 mi away
5.1 mi
2,728 ft
Idlehour Trail 12W16
1.1 mi away
5.3 mi
882 ft
Mount Lowe West Trail
1.3 mi away
1.3 mi
1,025 ft
Altadena Crest Trail
1.5 mi away
2.2 mi
724 ft
Mount Wilson Road
1.5 mi away
8.6 mi
4,369 ft
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The Mount Lowe Railway was the third in a series of scenic mountain railroads in America created as a tourist attraction on Echo Mountain and Mount Lowe, north of Los Angeles, California. The railway, originally incorporated by Professor Thaddeus S. C. Lowe as the Pasadena & Mt. Wilson Railroad Co. existed from 1893 until its official abandonment in 1938, and had the distinction of being the only scenic mountain, electric traction (overhead electric trolley) railroad ever built in the United States. Lowe’s partner and engineer was David J. Macpherson, a civil engineer graduate of Cornell University. The Mount Lowe Railway was a fulfillment of 19th century Pasadenans' desire to have a scenic mountain railroad to the crest of the San Gabriel Mountains.

The Railway opened on 4 July 1893, and consisted of nearly seven miles (11.2 km) of track starting in Altadena, California at a station called Mountain Junction. Atop Echo stood the magnificent 70-room Victorian hotel, the Echo Mountain House. Only a few hundred feet away stood the 40-room Echo Chalet which was ready for opening day. The complement of buildings on Echo included an astronomical observatory, car barns, dormitories and repair facilities, a casino and dance hall, and a menagerie of local fauna.


For the seven years during which Lowe owned and operated the railway, it constantly ran into hard times, eventually being sold off. A series of natural disasters ate away at the facilities, the first of which was a kitchen fire that destroyed the Echo Mountain House in 1900. Further fires and floods eventually destroyed any remaining facilities, and the railway was officially abandoned in 1938 after a flood washed most everything off the mountain sides. Today, the ruins of Mount Lowe Railway remain as a monument to a once-ever experienced enterprise. It was placed on the National Register of Historical Places on January 6, 1993, a listing that was enlarged in January 2015.

HAZ_Hikebot

    One-Way Notice
    This hike is listed as One-Way.

    When hiking several trails on a single "hike", log it with a generic name that describes the hike. Then link the trails traveled, check out the example.
    WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

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    page created by HAZ_Hikebot on Mar 10 2010 12:13 am
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