Let’s face it, life in LA can get you down. Long days of lazy computering, awkward water cooler posturing, hearing your coworkers’ incessant play-by-play of the latest “American Idol”: it can make you a little antsy. Before you know it, you’re humming Bieber to yourself in the shower and telling your boyfriend, “Man, that Bruno Mars song about the grenades is actually not that bad.”
Get your old self back with a hike up to Echo Mountain (formerly “The White City” Resort) via the Sam Merrill Trail in Altadena. This five-mile roundtrip, 3-4 hour hike will kick your butt, allow for fresh air and scenic vistas, and awaken the history buff in you before you know it.
From 1896 to 1936, the now-defunct Mount Lowe Railway, whose giant gears and abandoned rails still scatter the mountainside, ascended a cable incline to the steep peak of Echo Mountain in order to bring old-timey tourists to The White City, a collection of expansive white buildings that comprised the resort. It featured two hotels—Echo Mountain House and The Chalet—a reservoir, Mt. Lowe Observatory, and even a small zoo.
After a series of fires and windstorms, The White City was destroyed, piece-by-piece. What’s left are the stone foundations of the ruined buildings, which are perfect for picnics or a good dance-a-thon. Some well thought out historical plaques give a stark contrast between then and now (with pictures!), and you’ll be privy to the vastest, bluest expanse of this smoggy city you’ll have seen in a long while. The incline doesn’t feel so bad once you’re at the top—a mere 1400 foot elevation gain—but what your lungs lose in air and your ribs lose in feeling, your body will gain in pure buttkickery.
- WHAT: A butt-shaping hike to some Altadena ruins
- WHERE: At the intersection of Lake Ave. and Loma Alta Dr. in Altadena
- WHEN: Anytime (except during a hot summer day)
- $$$: FREE!!