This hike is brought to you by my friend Sara, her two amazing dogs, and a pretty good sized group of excellent humans. 😉 I am so glad I was invited! This was a challenging hike for me and I believe the steepest I have done so far, but it felt good to push myself to get to the top even if it was a slow journey.
This is a heavily trafficked trail so I recommend getting there as early as possible so that you do not need to hike to the trail head as well. 😉 Also hit up a bathroom before you start as there isn’t one at the trail head or the top.
A little history…
In 1892, Thaddeus Sobieski Coulincourt Lowe founded the Mount Lowe Railway project and began the construction of what is known as the Great Incline. This railway was constructed on a 62% grade climbing 2,200 feet from the base of Rubio Canyon to Echo Mountain. The rail system construction was completed in 1893. Spring of 1894 the construction of the Echo Mountain House begins. The Echo Mountain House officially opened in November 1894. Echo Mountain was known as the “White City” and contained a Chalet Hotel, Echo Mountain House Hotel, incline control house, powerhouse, observatory, residences, car barn, gardens, gas tank, zoo, and water system.
The Echo Mountain House burned to the ground on February 5, 1900. A windstorm destroyed the observatory in 1928. The observatory telescope was saved and sold to the University of Santa Clara.
In November of 1937 a petition was won to abandon the railway line. The following month was the last official run of the Mount Lowe Railway.
In March of 1938 torrential rains tore through Southern California destroying sections of the railway. This is the same downpour that rendered the Bridge to Nowhere a bridge to nowhere.
When you reach the top of this trail there are ruins from the old Echo Mountain House. I found it a little sad to see what remains of such a neat place.
Until next time…happy trails!