Even people who have lived in Southern California most of their lives don’t quite grasp the full extent and complexity of Thaddeus Lowe’s mountain railway. The cars from the city came into Rubio Canyon, as in the lower right of this image, where passengers changed to the incline cars to reach the peak of Echo Mountain, and then transferred to a third car to complete the Alpine Division, which terminated at Alpine Tavern. Note the listing of the trail trips available to hikers. Michael Patris Collection, C. T. American Art Company of Chicago, Illinois produced this unused, divided-back card in 1913.
Mount Lowe Trail Trips of Fascinating Beauty
Mount Lowe Daily News, October 13, 1929
No visit to the mountain is complete without a trail trip of some kind, long or short, afoot or horseback, as time and inclination may dictate.
The trips available from Mt. Lowe Tavern, over excellent private and government trails, are many and varies, and of great interest and beauty, but tourists are sometimes deterred from making them through lack of information. Travelers with limited time, as well as those stopping over at the Tavern and desiring to explore the mountains, will find this little guide of great assistance in planning their visit to the best advantage.
All the trails are distinctly marked, and, there is little danger of becoming confused. Many of the trails are quite level, making enjoyable walks for old and young.
A pony train in charge of a competent guide makes regular trips from Mount Lowe Tavern to the summit of Mount Lowe, for which tickets may be obtained at the hotel office, price one dollar. Animals for other trips, with guide, will be furnished when circumstances permit.
LIST OF PRINCIPAL TRIPS
(All distances are from Mount Lowe)
LOOKOUT ARBOR – 1/8 Mile
A small arbor for three or four picnickers, just off Inspiration Point road, overlooking Grand Canyon. A splendid view of the sunset.
UPPER EATON CANYON – 1 ¾ Mile
A charming place to picnic, along a stream of sparkling cold water. Trail branches from Inspiration Point trail at Proposal Arbor. Thirty minutes to walk down and about one hour to return. Not a through trail.
SUMMIT OF MOUNT LOWE – 2 ½ Miles
The trail goes up one side of the mountain and comes down the other. A good climb for those desiring a somewhat strenuous trip. The round trip can be made on horseback in two hours or on foot in from two to three hours. The view from the Summit is magnificent beyond description.
ECHO MOUNTAIN – (Sunset Point Trail) – 3 1/3 Miles
Trail branches from Inspiration Point trail at Proposal Arbor. A level shady walk as far as Sunset Point (1 mile), and then descending quite rapidly, with fine views. Passengers returning to Los Angeles frequently follow this trail as far as Echo Mountain and take car from there, while guests to the Tavern find it pleasant to walk down to Echo and ride back. Allow one to one and one-half hours, Alpine to Echo Mountain.
ECHO MOUNTAIN (Castle Canyon Trail) – 3 ¾ Miles
A somewhat steep trail starting from Inspiration Point and zigzagging down Castle Canyon, with magnificent views of rugged grandeur. A fine tramp from Alpine Tavern is to go down this trail and return via Sunset Trail, or vice versa. Round trip seven miles.
SAN GABRIEL PEAK (Government Trail) – 3 Miles
Trail branches from east Summit Trail a short distance below the Summit of Mount Lowe. A somewhat rugged climb. Beautiful Sunrises may be seen from this peak.
RUBIO CANYON (Lone Tree Trail) – 6 Miles
Trail starts from Inspiration Point. Fine tramp and beautiful views. Comes out in Rubio Canyon about one-half mile below foot of incline. A rather hard trip.
ARROYO SECO (Government Trail) 6 miles
Trail branches east from Summit Trail a short distance below the Summit, winds up San Gabriel Peak and thence down to Government Fire Box, at head of Arroyo Seco. A rather strenuous trip.
WEST FORK (Opid’s Camp) – 4 ½ Miles
Same as Mount Wilson Trail until crossing Eaton’s Canyon, then turn to left. Good trout fishing and hunting in season. Comfortable accommodations.
MOUNT WILSON (Government Trail) – 6 Miles
Location of Carnegie Solar Observatory and Mount Wilson Hotel and Cottages. Two to three hours’ walk from Mount Lowe Tavern over good trail. Some of the finest scenery in the world. Take east Summit Trail to Government Trail Junction; thence ½ mile over San Gabriel Peak Trail to where trail starts to climb San Gabriel; then turn to right into head of Eaton Canyon and follow trail to Mount Wilson. Signs at all junctions. Twenty-five cents toll to enter grounds of Mount Wilson Hotel Company; refund to over-night patrons of the Mount Wilson Hotel.
INSPIRATION POINT – ½ Mile
This is an easy walk of 10 to 15 minutes over an oiled road with no heavy grades. The view from this point is unexcelled and there are many charming picnic places along the way. No one should fail to make this trip. Anyone who can walk at all can take it with east. Just beyond Inspiration Point is “Easter Rock,” where Easter sunrise services are held annually.
SUNSET POINT – 1 Mile
A shady, level stroll of surpassing beauty, and at the point a superb view. Trail branches from Inspiration Point Trail at Proposal Arbor. This trail goes on to Echo Mountain (see “Echo Mountain”).
PROPOSAL ARBOR – ¼ Mile
On the way to Inspiration Point. A shady nook for picnic parties and a directory of the United States. Be sure to leave your card.
BARLEY FLATS (Government Trail) – 10 Miles
Same trail as Arroyo Seco or West Fork to Government Fire Box, then follow Barley Flats Trail. A plateau of 400 acres at elevation of 5,500 feet, covered with pine trees and wild barley. Good spring on slope at far end. Deer hunting in season. Large pine cones may be procured here. Good trail all the way. Hard trip for one day.
SWITZER’S CAMP (Government Trail) – 6 Miles
A good camp located in Arroyo Seco. Trail follows north wall of Grand Canyon to Bear Canyon. Down Bear Canyon to the junction of the Arroyo, thence up the streams. A beautiful and easy one-day hike.