Quantcast
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

The whole of the L.A. Basin lies at your feet when you're atop Mount Lowe.

Mount Lowe is only one of many named summits in the so-called Front Range of the San Gabriel Mountains overlooking Pasadena and the rest of the vast Los Angeles metropolitan region. Its strategic location, affording a panoramic view as well as easy access by way of a short trail, makes it a preferred destination for anyone seeking a quick summer escape from the smoggy basin below. Arrive at the trailhead -- barely a half-hour drive from such communities as Pasadena and Glendale -- by 6:30 p.m. in July, and you'll have plenty of time to hike to the summit and enjoy a sunset spectacle. Don't forget a flashlight for the hike back!

To reach the starting point from San Diego, drive north on Interstate 5, passing downtown Los Angeles. After a few miles, head north on the Glendale Freeway (Highway 2) and continue through Glendale. When you reach Interstate 210, choose the eastbound direction. Exit one mile later at Angeles Crest Highway (the continuation of Highway 2). Proceed up Angeles Crest Highway for 14 miles to Red Box Divide and turn right on Mount Wilson Road. Drive another 2.4 miles to a large roadside turnout/parking area at unmarked Eaton Saddle. You will need to post a National Forest Adventure Pass (the same one that is valid for national forest lands in San Diego County) on your car for the privilege of parking.

Walk past the gate on the west-side turnout and proceed up the dirt road (the Mount Lowe Fire Road) that soon starts carving its way under the precipitous south face of San Gabriel Peak.

As you approach a short tunnel (0.3 mile) dating from 1942, look for the remnants of a former cliff-hanging trail to the left of the tunnel's east entrance. At Markham Saddle (0.5 mile) the fire road starts to descend slightly. Don't continue on the road. Instead, find the unmarked Mount Lowe Trail on the left (south). On it, you contour southwest above the fire road for about 0.6 mile, and then start climbing across the east flank of Mount Lowe without much change of direction. At 1.3 miles, make a sharp right turn. Proceed 0.2 mile uphill, then go left on a short spur trail to Mount Lowe's barren summit.

If you care to extend your hike, try the Mount Lowe "east" and "west" trails, which completely encircle the upper slopes of the mountain. Mount Lowe was the proposed upper terminus for the Mount Lowe scenic railway, which operated around the turn of the 20th Century. Funding ran out and tracks were never laid higher than a resort called Ye Alpine Tavern (today's Mount Lowe Trail Camp), 1200 feet below. During the railway's heyday, thousands of people disembarked at the tavern and tramped Mount Lowe's east- and west-side trails for world-class views of the basin and the surrounding mountains. Some reminders of that era remain on the summit of Mount Lowe and along some of the trails. Volunteers have repainted, relettered, and returned to their proper places some of the many sighting tubes that helped the early tourists familiarize themselves with the surrounding geography.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

Imagine a pedestrian-friendly Kearny Mesa

Hard to consider history in 30-year plan
Next Article

The glamour and crime of Tijuana

Club Campestre abduction, cross-border prostitution, Russian-owned gym, TJ's new night scene

Mount Lowe is only one of many named summits in the so-called Front Range of the San Gabriel Mountains overlooking Pasadena and the rest of the vast Los Angeles metropolitan region. Its strategic location, affording a panoramic view as well as easy access by way of a short trail, makes it a preferred destination for anyone seeking a quick summer escape from the smoggy basin below. Arrive at the trailhead -- barely a half-hour drive from such communities as Pasadena and Glendale -- by 6:30 p.m. in July, and you'll have plenty of time to hike to the summit and enjoy a sunset spectacle. Don't forget a flashlight for the hike back!

To reach the starting point from San Diego, drive north on Interstate 5, passing downtown Los Angeles. After a few miles, head north on the Glendale Freeway (Highway 2) and continue through Glendale. When you reach Interstate 210, choose the eastbound direction. Exit one mile later at Angeles Crest Highway (the continuation of Highway 2). Proceed up Angeles Crest Highway for 14 miles to Red Box Divide and turn right on Mount Wilson Road. Drive another 2.4 miles to a large roadside turnout/parking area at unmarked Eaton Saddle. You will need to post a National Forest Adventure Pass (the same one that is valid for national forest lands in San Diego County) on your car for the privilege of parking.

Walk past the gate on the west-side turnout and proceed up the dirt road (the Mount Lowe Fire Road) that soon starts carving its way under the precipitous south face of San Gabriel Peak.

As you approach a short tunnel (0.3 mile) dating from 1942, look for the remnants of a former cliff-hanging trail to the left of the tunnel's east entrance. At Markham Saddle (0.5 mile) the fire road starts to descend slightly. Don't continue on the road. Instead, find the unmarked Mount Lowe Trail on the left (south). On it, you contour southwest above the fire road for about 0.6 mile, and then start climbing across the east flank of Mount Lowe without much change of direction. At 1.3 miles, make a sharp right turn. Proceed 0.2 mile uphill, then go left on a short spur trail to Mount Lowe's barren summit.

If you care to extend your hike, try the Mount Lowe "east" and "west" trails, which completely encircle the upper slopes of the mountain. Mount Lowe was the proposed upper terminus for the Mount Lowe scenic railway, which operated around the turn of the 20th Century. Funding ran out and tracks were never laid higher than a resort called Ye Alpine Tavern (today's Mount Lowe Trail Camp), 1200 feet below. During the railway's heyday, thousands of people disembarked at the tavern and tramped Mount Lowe's east- and west-side trails for world-class views of the basin and the surrounding mountains. Some reminders of that era remain on the summit of Mount Lowe and along some of the trails. Volunteers have repainted, relettered, and returned to their proper places some of the many sighting tubes that helped the early tourists familiarize themselves with the surrounding geography.

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Imagine a pedestrian-friendly Kearny Mesa

Hard to consider history in 30-year plan
Next Article

Thai Joints rule in the Heights

Pick up or delivery, Thai fans have it good on Adams Avenue
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer News — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Set 'em Up Joe — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close