Friday Photo – July 7, 2017

I’m a dreamer. I have to dream and reach for the stars, and if I miss a star then I grab a handful of clouds.
~Mike Tyson

Today’s Friday Photo comes from a place with a name that takes you back to the teen romance of the late 1950s: Inspiration Point. There are many places in the world with this name (there are five in the Los Angeles area alone), but the Inspiration Point that I like to visit, soars high above the suburbs of Altadena, California.

Getting to Inspiration Point requires a bit of work, but the views from up there make it all worth it. This whole area was once a prestigious getaway spot in the early 1900s, and it was only accessible via the historic Mount Lowe Railway, aka “The Railway in the Clouds”. Inspiration Point was the last stop on this railway, the grand finale if you will. The huge Ramada (rebuilt to exact detail today) provided a shady rest area where the passengers could take in views just like the one in this photo. There were also “locating tubes” (some are the original, and missing ones were replaced) which were like primitive telescopes with fixed positions that pointed to various points of interest in the LA basin.

In the present day, hiking trails now lead you to this same location where the history is still very evident. The hike to Inspiration Point is actually done in two segments. The first segment is a 2.75 mile hike to Echo Mountain with about 1,425 feet of elevation gain. The second segment takes you to Inspiration Point, and there are three different trails that you can take to get there. The longest is a 3.75 mile hike that follows much of the route of the Mount Lowe Railway. The second route, the Upper Sam Merril Trail, is a 2.5 mile hike that takes you past the ruins of the old Mount Lowe Observatory, and also Sunset Point, before reaching Inspiration Point. The last is the Castle Canyon Trail. This is the shortest and steepest route to Inspiration Point at 2.0 miles with about 1,325 feet of elevation gain. It’s also the most scenic and shadiest route.

Many people hike to Echo Mountain every day, and it can get busy on the weekends. The hike from Echo Mountain to Inspiration Point is much more intimate, with expanding views of the canyons and LA basin the higher you go. Plan on a minimum of six hours to do the whole trip. Eight hours is more realistic, especially if you take the longer Mount Lowe Railway route. These trails also have a lot of exposure to the sun so be sure to wear adequate protection from the sun’s rays, and bring at least 2 liters of water with you. Inspiration Point has an elevation of about 4,500 feet, and the temperatures can change dramatically on cooler days once you leave Echo Mountain. Prepare yourself for this, and take a jacket with you. With all these preparations in place, you’ll be sure to have a great hike to Inspiration Point.

~ Photo taken March 25, 2017 10:17 am

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