Echo Mountain hike offers views of Pasadena

Arturo Gomez Molina
Arts Editor

With summer just around the corner, many are changing their eating habits and workout regimens to achieve their ideal summer body goals. Some go to the gym, but others look to local mountains for their workout.

High up at the north end of Lake Avenue in Altadena is the entrance to the Echo Mountain hiking trail. The five-mile loop climbs 1,500 feet, which makes the hike seem shorter and steeper than it actually is.

It may be a little confusing to find the start of the trail, but once headed up the mountain, the switchbacks make it easier to stay on track to reach the top.

“I’ve been coming here for years and it never fails to get me winded,” East Los Angeles resident Alberto Ocegueda said. “But you can’t find views like these everywhere in L.A., so it is definitely worth the trip up the mountain.”

Ocegueda was joined by his older sister, Adriana, and long-time childhood friend Ernesto Rodriguez.

Alberto said it is always fun to come up with them because the friendly competition really pushes him to get to the top faster.

Benches that overlook Pasadena and nearby neighborhoods are propped along the trail for winded hikers and sightseers alike.

However, hikers have to trek a quarter-mile before they can take their first bench break.

No matter the difficulty of the hike, people of all ages challenge themselves to the climb.

“This isn’t the easiest hike in the world but it is worth the views on the way up,” El Sereno resident Maria Molina said. “I am getting older so this is a great way to get my exercise in and stay healthy.”

Molina said she tries to do the hike at least once a week.

Echo Mountain hikers can find the ruins of the Echo Mountain House and Mt. Lowe Railroad once they reach the top.

According to, the house and railroad opened in 1893 and served more than 3 million visitors.

Time took its toll on both structures as all that is left are ruins for nature walkers to explore.

From the top of the ruins is a bird’s-eye view of Pasadena, the San Gabriel Valley and downtown Los Angeles in the distance.

On a clear day, the Pacific Ocean can be seen on the horizon.

This hike is perfect for anyone looking to challenge themselves and take on something out of the ordinary from the other hikes near Pasadena.

Before heading back down the trail, hikers can head to the back of the ruins to scream their lungs out in the mountain’s “echo phone.”

The full-metal megaphone faces directly into the valley and allows screamers to hear their yells resonate within the mountain.

Hikers finishing up the trail can stop by Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles for replenishment.

Arturo Gomez Molina can be reached at

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