Echo Mountain has a great deal to offer, from the switchback trail, which will give you a great workout on your way up the mountain (start early to avoid the blistering afternoon sun), to the views—on a clear day you can look out over Pasadena, Los Angeles, Santa Monica, and all the way to the Pacific.
Next, there's the history. Take time to explore the ruins of the old resort and railway—small plaques post intriguing details and old photographs of what life was like for visitors on Echo Mountain (before it was destroyed by fires and mudslides). Trail access begins at the north end of Lake Avenue at the Cobb Estate Gate. Take lots of water, a picnic, and do be sure to give a good holler through the "Echo Phone" while you're there.
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History & A Hike at Echo Mountain
The strenuous three-mile hike up switchbacks to Echo Mountain is a wormhole to another time. At the top, the rusted remains of the “Stairway to the Sky” Railroad line the trail and are scattered with pinecones the size of your head. Wooden sign posts mark where a dance hall and tennis court once stood and placards give a history lesson about the once vibrant “White City” Victorian hotel that housed 70 rooms, a bowling alley, a billiard room, dining room and barber shop before burning down in 1900. Walk across the foundation and imagine the fabulous life once lived by those vacationing here. A mounted metal megaphone stands on the other side that was once used to communicate to others on the mountain. Give it a shout to hear your voice echo across the canyon and you might just get a reply.