Muir Peak Hike, September 23, 2017.

Having hiked the Sam Merrill trail on several occasions over the past 15 years, I had never heard of the nearby Muir Peak.  Knowing I had to be back home in time to go to a birthday party later, I got up early to drive to the trail head at the far end of Lake Avenue in Altadena.  Even though I got there a little after 6:00AM, there were a lot of cars parked along the street and people were headed up the trail already.  The lower Sam Merrill trail steadily climbs for about 2.5 miles to Echo Mountain, where over 100 years ago you could take the Mt. lowe Railway to the resort on the mountain.  Unfortunately all this had been destroyed due to fires and floods and finally abandoned in 1938.

From Echo mountain, I took the scenic and quite steep trail, climbing 900 feet on the final 3/4 mile to Inspiration Point.  They built a nice structure here with picnic tables and view ports to point to various LA landmarks. Note the one for Inspiration Point!!

From there I took a right turn, following the dirt road for about 3/4 mile to the Muir Peak trail.  After climbing for about 1/4 mile on this trail I reached the summit, which had great views all around. 

I stayed on the summit for about 20 minutes,  after which I took the same trail back to Inspiration Point.  From there, I decided to stay on the dirt road to the turn-off for the Upper Sam Merrill  trail.  The upper half of this trail meanders through a nice forested area.  At about the half way mark, the trail drops down steeply, with great views of the city below, back to Echo Mountain.  At one point, I heard a noise behind me and quickly jumped to the side of the trail avoiding getting overrun by a mountain biker coming down the trail!

Once Back at Echo Mountain, I continued down the main Sam Merrill trail, back to the trail head.  While I went down the trail, I had to stop many times to allow the hordes of people coming up to pass me by.  This is the downside of hiking this beautiful area:  many runners catching up with you constantly asking to pass; mountain bikers racing downhill; families with children and their dogs on the trail to Echo Mountain. 

Even with all this, it is still a great hike, especially once you get above Echo Mountain, when you pretty much have the trails to yourself.