On a clear day from Echo Mountain….

Echo pano

…you can see the smog to the west. I hiked the Sam Merrill Trail to the top of Echo Mountain near Pasadena yesterday, when it was in the 80s and there was a mild onshore breeze. Meaning all the San Gabriel Valley smog got pushed toward the ocean. Here’s a panoramic shot of the “White City” site at the top of the mountain, looking out toward the Pacific. It’s not every day you see the ocean from this spot.

The White City was the site of a resort in the late 1800s. The Mount Lowe Railway traveled to the top of Echo Mountain, where there was dance hall and hotel. Remnants of the railroad are still there, and nothing but a foundation of the old hotel. There’s a very cool old map and photos on the Mount Lowe Preservation Society Web site.

Here’s another shot that shows the winding Sam Merrill Trail in the foreground. That’s downtown L.A. in the smoggy distance, and the glowing area is late-afternoon sun on the ocean. That hilly area to the left is the Palos Verdes Peninsula. Beyond that is Catalina Island…that’s something I’ve never seen from the top of Echo. The hike is about 2.5 miles and 1,400 feet of gain to the top (so 5 miles round-trip). It’s normally not the most scenic location, but makes for a great fitness hike.

Top of Echo

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