Pets allowed
Allowed with Restrictions
Elevation Gain
5,132.00 ft (1,564.23 m)
Trail type
17.10 mi (27.52 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.

Lake Ave to Idle Hour Camp is a 17-mile out-and-back route in Angeles National Forest, located east of Altadena, California. This route features challenging climbs and scenic ridgelines. It starts from the Cobb Estate Trailhead and ascends to Inspiration Point, passing Echo Mountain along the way. It is challenging and scenic, offering a diverse experience through the San Gabriel Mountains with breathtaking views, historic sites, and rugged terrain.

Route Description
The journey begins at the Cobb Estate Trailhead, nestled in the foothills above Altadena. It follows the popular Sam Merrill Trail to Inspiration Point, ascending for about 5 miles. There is little to no shade on the Sam Merrill Trail, so it is advised to get an early start to avoid the heat and strong sun.

Inspiration Point is a historic vista offering panoramic views through viewing tubes that point to various landmarks. This spot provides a perfect opportunity for a restful break and photo opportunities.

The descent begins by joining the Idle Hour Trail, a less-traveled path that meanders through secluded canyons and past the remnants of the historic Idle Hour resort. The Idle Hour Trail is much more lush and shaded than Sam Merrill, with seasonal water flowing.

Flora and Fauna
Hikers can expect to see a wide range of plant life, from chaparral and oak woodlands to pine forests at higher elevations. Wildlife is abundant, with the possibility of spotting deer, coyotes, and various bird species, including hawks and woodpeckers.

Camping and Permits
No permits are required for day hiking this loop, but adherence to trail rules and regulations is mandatory. Campsites at Idle Hour camp are first come-first served. For more information please visit:

Safety and Considerations
The route includes steep and rugged sections; good physical condition, proper footwear, and ample water are essential. Be mindful of weather conditions, especially in transitional seasons when the weather can change rapidly. Always inform someone of your hiking plan and expected return time.

There may be some seasonal water along this loop, but it is best to bring all that you need. If you do collect water from rivers or streams, be sure to treat it before consumption.

Street parking is available off of Lake Avenue.

Additional Information
Angeles National Forest:

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass


Open Year-round



Backcountry Campsite. Scenic Vistas.


Some sections are exposed with no shade.

Trailhead Elevation

1,830.00 ft (557.78 m)

Highest point

4,539.00 ft (1,383.49 m)


Backcountry camping
Historically significant
Big vistas
Bird watching

Typically multi-day


Permit required



Nearby Lodging + Camping


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