Pets allowed
Allowed with Restrictions
Elevation Gain
3,801.00 ft (1,158.54 m)
Trail type
12.50 mi (20.12 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.

This loop, beginning at the Cobb Estate in Altadena, connects Inspiration Point to Dawn Mine. At 12.5 miles, it is made even more challenging by the significant elevation gain and loss, typical of the San Gabriel frontcountry routes. 

The route connects Lower Sam Merrill, Castle Canyon, Mt. Lowe Road, Tom Sloan and the Dawn Mine Trail. Though it can be traversed in either direction, it will be described here in a counterclockwise manner. 

From Cobb Estate, take the Lower Sam Merrill Trail to Echo Mountain. Note that this section can become quite crowded on the weekends, but also know that there are usually few people after Echo Mountain. Multiple trails connect to Echo Mountain here, so check trail signs to follow Castle Canyon Trail. This singletrack continues uphill to the scenic overlook at Inspiration Point (a great spot for a break!). From here, take the Mt. Lowe Road for a brief jaunt to Mt. Lowe Trail Camp (former location of Ye Alpine Tavern, now a primitive backcountry camp). From the camp, head up a faint trail through the forest to reconnect with Mt. Lowe Road, and soonafter take Tom Sloan Trail to the left. This section along Tom Sloan is a short gem of a trail, and arguably the highlight of the route. At the Tom Sloan Saddle, take the steep descent that is the Dawn Mine Trail. A respite of trees and often-flowing water in Millard Creek makes for another great break spot near the mine here. Further along, climb the trail to the left to reconnect to Mt. Lowe Road (following signs to Echo Mountain), and (around 9.3 total miles) turn off the road onto the connector trail back to Echo Mountain. From here, Sam Merrill will take you back to the start at Cobb Estate. 

Parking is free along the streets of Loma Alta and Lake Avenue. Much of this route is exposed, so be prepared with plenty of water and protection from weather.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass


Open Year-round



Scenic vistas. Wildlife. Solitude.



Trailhead Elevation

1,819.00 ft (554.43 m)

Highest point

4,655.00 ft (1,418.84 m)


Backcountry camping
Bird watching

Typically multi-day


Permit required



Nearby Lodging + Camping


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