Pets allowed
Allowed with Restrictions
Elevation Gain
4,999.00 ft (1,523.70 m)
Trail type
17.30 mi (27.84 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

The Cobb Estate Historic Foothills Loop is a 17.3-mile loop that takes you on a historic and scenic hike from the Cobb Estate / Lower Sam Marrill Trailhead to Echo Mountain, extending through the Mount Lowe Railway Trail, and exploring deeper into the San Gabriel Mountains via Mount Lowe Motorway to Millard Camp, Tom Sloan Saddle, and returning via Castle Canyon Trail. This route offers a blend of history, panoramic views, and natural beauty, making it a must-try for avid hikers.

Begin your journey at the historic Cobb Estate gate, where the Lower Sam Merrill Trail starts. This initial segment takes you to Echo Mountain, offering early views of Pasadena and the Los Angeles Basin. The ruins of the Echo Mountain House and the Echo Mountain Observatory at the summit provide a glimpse into the area's early 20th-century history.

Continuing on the Mount Lowe Railway Trail, you'll follow the path of the old scenic railway, with interpretive signs detailing its history. As you transition onto the Mount Lowe Motorway, the trail offers expansive views of the San Gabriel Valley and the rugged peaks of the San Gabriel Mountains.

The route then descends to Millard Camp, a serene spot next to Millard Creek, perfect for a rest. From there, the trail climbs to Tom Sloan Saddle, a junction known for its scenic beauty and as a gateway to further adventures in the backcountry.

Taking the trail towards Mount Lowe Trail Camp, you're treated to more stunning vistas and the chance to explore more historical remnants of the Mount Lowe Railway. Inspiration Point, accessible via a well-marked side trail, offers telescopes and panoramic views of the surrounding area, including the Pacific Ocean on clear days.

The return journey through Castle Canyon via the Castle Canyon Trail presents a different landscape, with dense chaparral, oak woodlands, and potentially seasonal streams adding variety to the hike's final leg. This path leads back to the Lower Sam Merrill Trail, concluding your loop at the Cobb Estate.


Fall to spring, to avoid the high heat of summer


  • The trail involves significant elevation gain and challenging terrain, suitable for experienced hikers.

  • Carry sufficient water, especially in warmer months, as there are limited sources along the route.

  • Be mindful of weather conditions, particularly during winter when snow and ice may be present on higher sections of the trail.


  • Stay on marked trails to minimize impact and ensure safety.

  • Leave no trace: Pack out all trash and respect the natural and historical features of the area.

  • Be prepared for sudden weather changes and check forecasts before your hike.


For more information about the San Gabriel Mountains visit

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass


Open Year-round



History. Scenic vistas. Nature viewing.


Parts are unshaded and can get hot. Crowded on weekends.

Trailhead Elevation

1,817.00 ft (553.82 m)

Highest point

4,534.00 ft (1,381.96 m)


Backcountry camping
Big vistas
Bird watching

Typically multi-day


Permit required



Nearby Lodging + Camping


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