Posted on 23 Apr
Surrounded by the San Gabriel Mountains, Pasadena is the perfect jumping off point for incredible hikes, complete with magical swimming holes, historic ruins and stunning lookout points. With the spring season upon us, here are some of The Agency’s favorite trails around Pasadena.
EATON CANYON FALLS - Just 15 minutes outside the city, this relatively easy, 3.5-mile round trip hike in the San Gabriel Mountains culminates in an epic, 40-foot waterfall that fills an amphitheater at the top of the trail—perfect for dipping your toes in after a climb (or going for a full-on swim!) In the spring, vibrant wildflowers color the trails, complementing ever-present views of the San Gabriel Mountains in the distance.
ECHO MOUNTAIN - The Sam Merrill Trail to Echo Mountain is steeped in history. Back in the 1890s, it was home to an elaborate resort known as the White City, built by American inventor and aeronaut Thaddeus Lowe. The resort was destroyed by wildfires long ago, leaving unique ruins for modern-day explorers to enjoy. As you wind up the side of Las Flores Canyon, you’ll pass the historic Mount Lowe Railway, now listed in the National Register of Historic Places, and glimpse stunning views over Pasadena. Don’t forget to send a booming message to hikers on the other side of the mountain with an Echo Phone—a series of strange metal megaphones scattered throughout the site (the resort’s archaic stand-ins for the iPhone).
CASTLE CANYON TRAIL TO INSPIRATION POINT - Care to journey beyond the rubble? Once the railway line that carried guests to the White City, this single dirt track connects the ruins at Echo Mountain to Inspiration Point, a historic vista point that still showcases sweeping views of the surrounding landscape.
SANTA ANITA CANYON & STURTEVANT FALLS - With a 1,660-foot elevation gain, this is certainly one of the more challenging of SoCal’s many trails. But with effort comes reward, as the canyon is among the most beautiful in the region, complete with varied landscapes and a 50-foot waterfall. The trails runs past 80 charming, turn-of-the-century Forest Service cabins built along a storybook-like creek before finally making its way to the waterfall, surrounded by boulders and towering sycamores. The water is infamously cold, but there always seems to be someone brave enough to go for a swim. Be sure to arrive early to avoid the crowds and snag a spot in the parking lot!
BRIDGE TO NOWHERE - This 10-mile round-trip trek offers a varied landscape of river crossings, historic tunnels and scenic passes, but it’s the picturesque Bridge to Nowhere—a 120-foot high concrete bridge situated in the middle of the canyon—that makes this trail a hit. Soaring above a first-rate swimming hole, the collasual bridge is a popular bungee jumping spot, proving some added entertainment once you reach the top of your climb.