Sam Merrill Trail

#18 of 194 trails in Angeles National Forest

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Sam Merrill Trail is a 5 mile out and back trail located near Altadena, California that features a river and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for camping, hiking & mountain biking and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

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Natalie Dixon (36)

1 Completed1 Reviews

Really enjoyed this hike today. Ran into just enough people on the trail so I felt safe. Everyone was super nice. It's a great workout for just being 5 miles.

teri c. (453)

Kevin Varner (61)

1 Completed1 Reviews

I have really enjoyed hiking this trail over the years. I have since moved from the Pasadena area, but had hiked this trail regularly (4-5 times a week for 5 years). It's a great source of exercise of steady elevation climb for a little over 2.5 miles each way. The major criticism that I've seen in these reviews is that the trail is crowded. These observations are true for weekends. Weekends are extremely crowded with many people from Pasadena and the LA area (not always the best crowd that you want to encounter while enjoying nature). However, this trail is quite serene on weekdays with very few hikers except a few regulars. Beside the fantastic workout, this trail offers a great finale at the end. There are ruins of an old hotel which burned down at the beginning of the 20th century and a cool megaphone at Echo Mountain. If anyone is looking for a longer journey or a change of scenery, there are three trail heads that connect to the end of this one. One of which is the Castle Rock Trail, which leads another 2 miles up to Inspiration Point. Each of these connecting trails (particularly Castle Rock) are more remote, challenging, and for the more adventurous hiker. There ate NO crowds, more vegetation and shade, and GREAT views of Southern California (especially on clear days after rain). You know that you reached the top of the Sam Merrill Trail when it finally diverges into two trails. This will occur after a switchback in which you walk Eastbound in the direction toward Sierra Madre/Arcadia. The trailhead for the Castle Rock Trail is last trail on your left before you approach the rest area with the hotel ruins. You can track you progress to some degree along the Sam Merrill Trail by observing the Mile Markers along the side, which are wooden posts that signify each mile from the bottom. Again, if you want enjoy the trail without the crowds... just don't go on weekends. Take care & happy trails!

Lynda Chekay (3319)

97 Completed141 Reviews

I have hiked the Sam Merrill trail numerous times and I was very surprised today to discover the ruins of an observatory that was on ECHO Mtn. I love this trail. It guides you through a beautiful forest. There is always something new to see. It is always fun to take people who have never been there and watch them enjoy reaching Inspiration Point. A great reward!!

Jessica B (86)

2 Completed1 Reviews

Blaahhh, didn't like it at all. Boring switch back trail that is good for running I guess. There really wasn't much change in the scenery. Very crowded with several groups carrying portable music players that echoed up and down the mountain. Don't really want to hear electronic/techno, Ozzy Osborne or Michael Jackson when I am out on the trail.

Lynda Chekay (3319)

97 Completed141 Reviews

This is the solstice in the loop trip up Echo Mtn trail to Castle Canyon. It was quiet today on the whole trail really and I only met 3 people on this trail. Merry Christmas. What a wonderful way to spend the day. Being grateful for all the beauty of nature that the Lord created. This trail has a little of everything but the best part is the canopy of trees and peaceful forest.

Jason Day (485)

21 Completed15 Reviews

Good trail, deducted one star for the volume of traffic. As soon as you turn off onto one of the trails that branch from Echo Mountain, you lose a lot of people and start seeing quiet stretches.

Lynda Chekay (3319)

97 Completed141 Reviews

Wonderful hike with moderate temperatures today. Forest was very quiet and serene. Great views. Skies clear.

Gail Kawaguchi (162)

5 Completed4 Reviews

A blast from the past - I have vague memories of hiking up to the foundation of the resort as a teenager... I went with a large group and saw many other groups and people out getting fit. Great views past downtown to the Pacific. Was a bit windy at Inspiration Point recommend having another layer to pull on if planning to sit up there for longer than five minutes. (9/22/13)

Lynda Chekay (3319)

97 Completed141 Reviews

I often do the Sam Merrill trail as the return part of my loop trail.It is forested and a single dirt track. In winter it has snow and the climate can be much different from the Castle Canyon trail or even Echo mtn trail. I start up the Echo Mtn trail and continue up Castle Canyon for a very nice loop

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