Let’s enjoy again one of my favorites trail!!
Elevation Gain: 4000
Trail: Mostly trail, with some fire road.
NOT FOR BEGINNERS AND NO SWEEPER
Intermediate and advanced hikers only
We did this route for the frst time in early 2012 and it’s very worthy of spot in the permanent VHC rotation. I thought we can avoid the heat or warm weather if starting from Echo. The area near Idlehour reminds me of Big Santa Anita Canyon and we won’t have to worry about parking. So, we’ll leave cars at Pinecrest Drive and crescent Dr (park anywhere permitted here) and drive over to the Echo Mountain Trail Head on Lake Street and start our adventure. Up to Echo, then the Castle Cyn trail to Inspiration Point. From here we’ll pick up the Idlehour Trail which will eventually get us over to Henninger Flats. Bring Lunch!!
We start the day at the Cobb Estate which belonged to a wealthy lumber magnate, and had several gold mines and water wells on its property before the buildings were completely razed in 1959. One year later, the Marx Brothers bought the land and wanted to turn the area into a cemetery. Luckily, students from the aptly named John Muir High School bought the land and donated it to the Forest Service. Now the land houses several miles of equestrian trails, a small botanical garden, and the entrance to the Echo Mountain Trail.
The entire history of Echo Mountain is much to lengthy to publish here. Pictured above is the Echo Mountain House when finished in November of 1894. This grand Victorian 70-room hotel, perched 3,000 feet above the valley equaled the Hotel Del Coronado in San Diego. It featured three wings, a north and an east which were the main quartering wings, and a center wing, the dining room, which reached back towards Castle Canyon and Echo Canyon, for which the mountain takes its name. Its stairway lead directly up from the Incline landing. As many of us know who have been to Echo and those who will make this trek for their first time will find out the foundation of this building is still in place as well as portions of the stairway seen above. Inspiration Point (4714′) is one of five officially-named Inspiration Points in Los Angeles County alone! Interestingly, this is one of those cases where the place in common usage differs from the place officially named by the U.S. Board on Geographic Names. Most people think of Inspiration Point as the ~4540′ saddle just east of the official Inspiration Point. The official Board, for good reasons, probably couldn’t bring themselves to name a saddle (http://tchester.org/sgm/site/definitions.html) as a point. Inspiration Point and the area have a rich history. The storied Pacific Electric Railway built an open-air shelter there in 1924-1925, with locating tubes showing the location of points of interest ranging from nearby sites to Catalina Island. The locating tubes are pieces of pipe that are oriented so that the view through the pipe is centered on the point of interest.
Lofty ridges, dramatic canyons and a trail camp cradled in the peaceful woods are a few of the many attractions visited by Idlehour Trail, which offers the hiker a grand tour of the Front Range of the San Gabriel Mountains. Naturalist John Muir called this country “rigidly inaccessible” after an 1877 exploration of Eaton Canyon. To get through the thorny chaparral, Muir was compelled to creep for miles on all fours. Later a trail was built, but it was no walk in the park. Early hikers stepped gingerly up and down Eaton Canyon via a narrow trail across the wall of the gorge high above the canyon bottom. These days, the well-engineered Mt. Wilson Toll Road offers hikers a safe way around the precipitous lower canyon, while the fine Idlehour Trail traverses the canyon’s more mellow upper reaches. Camp Idle Hour, a resort from 1915 to 1929, was a favorite of hikers who loved its location in the shade of oak, bay and spruce. These days Idlehour Trail Camp, about midpoint of this ramble, invites hikers to idle away an hour or so in the same tranquil setting that pleased an earlier generation.
The Henninger Flats area was originally purchased by Mr. Peter Stiel through the Federal Homestead Act. Mr. Stiel kept the ownership until he sold it to his friend William K. Henninger in August of 1893. Henninger had been squatting on the area since 1884. Upon his death in March of 1894, the property was willed to his daughters, Louisa Francisco and Susan Griljava. The property was then sold in February 1895, by auction, to Harry C. and Harriet M. Allen of Pasadena. Selling price was $2,600. In October 1895, the Allens sold the property for $5,000 to four men (W. Morgan, J. Vandevort, J. Holmes and W. Staats). These four men then sold the property in December 1895 to the Mt. Wilson Toll Road Company for $76,600. Although various people used or leased the area, the Mt. Wilson Toll Road Company stayed with the owners until it was purchased by Los Angeles County in 1928. In 1945, additional acreage was acquired from the Federal government by a land swap deal. This last deal brought the total acreage to approximately 232 acres as compared to the original 120 acres.
Directions: This is a car shuttle so we will meet at Pinecrest Drive and Crescent in Altadena, consolidate cars and then drive to where we will start the hike. We then hike back to the cars we left at Pinecrest Drive.
Take the 210 fwy towards Altadena/Pasadena area. Exit on North Altadena Drive and go north for about three miles and turn right on Crescent Drive until the street intersects with Pinecrest Drive. Park here. Please pay attention to the posted signs.
The Farzan Rule: Posted hike times are the time the hike starts or we leave from a posted shuttle location.
PLEASE – Know your limits and abilities. Bring snacks and drink plenty of liquids when hiking. Check weather conditions and dress accordingly and be aware of your surroundings at all times. Watching out for poison oak, snakes, ticks, uneven footing, spectacular views, beautiful fauna all while interacting with awesome (usually) fellow hikers can be extremely hazardous, rewarding and fun.
VHC HIKE RATING SCALE
Rating a hike is subjective, meaning the difficulty of a hike will be in direct relation to how often you hike and the type of hike you prefer. Keep in mind that any hike can have the following: un-even hiking surfaces, various obstructions, water and/or water crossings or bouldering and/or rock hopping. A great hike will have all of these!
1 – A long walk
2 – 4 mile hike w/little elevation gain
3 – 5 mile hike w/up to1000 ft. elevation gain
4 – 5+ mile hike w/up to1500 ft. elevation gain (heart rate increases at times)
5 – 7+ mile hike w/over 1500 ft. elevation gain (heart rate increasing even more at times)
6 – 7+ mile hike w/over 2000 ft. elevation gain (at times you might be trying to remember how to perform CPR)
7 – 5+ mile hike w/over 2000 ft. elevation gain (at times you might be muttering expletives to yourself)
8 – 10+ mile hike w/over 3500 ft. elevation gain (at times you might be angry with the hike leader)
9 – 10+ mile hike w/over 5000 ft. elevation gain (at times you might be thinking of reporting the hike leader to the authorities)
10 – Use your imagination
Class 3 Scrambling: Scrambling or un-roped climbing. You must use your hands at times to hold the terrain or find your route. This may be caused by a combination of boulders, steepness and extreme terrain. Some Class 3 routes have ropes in place for assistance.
DISCLAIMER / RELEASE OF LIABILITYIMPORTANT, PLEASE READ BELOW IN ITS ENTIRETY:
I am a volunteer (i.e. not liable for the group). Safety is a priority for everyone in the group. Think of this as hiking with a group of friends.
Outdoor sports and other events we plan can be inherently dangerous and accidents may happen. By participating in any posted event, you’re taking responsibility for your own safety and well-being. The Valencia Hiking Crew Meetup Group and its organizers are not trained leaders and we do not confirm the qualifications of any of its members to lead or participate in trips. All participants take full responsibility for their own actions. If you choose to sign up for any Valencia Hiking Crew Meetup events, you are releasing the Valencia Hiking Crew Meetup Group and it’s organizers from all liability in case of possible injuries as stated in paragraph 6.2 of the Meetup “Terms of Service” located on the bottom of the Meetup website. Your personal safety depends on your own judgment and experience.