- Friday, March 05, 2021
Southern California Trails
Lower Sam Merril Trail - #LowerSamMerrilTrail
Socal - Los Angeles County - Altadena NickNames: #LowerSamMerrilTrail lower merril
Off the 210 in Pasadena, take the Lake Avenue exit
north (towards the mountains) and drive all the way up
to the top until the road takes an abrupt 90 degree left
turn. Stop your car and you are at the trailhead. Go
through the gate and follow the paved road about 200
feet until it veers off to the left. Here there will be a dirt
road that keeps going straight. Take the dirt road and
you will find yourself at the trailhead sign in. From the
trailhead, looking east, you will see the switchbacks
that you will be going up.
- 17 Updates
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- Last update
- Trail UpdateSam Merrill-The Lower Sam Merrill is definitely open (between the ruins and the top of Lake Blvd.)
Per my conversation with the Forest Service, Middle Sam Merril - because a small portion of the upper part is in the burn area - it is technically closed, but because they realize it is accessible from more than one open trail, they are not enforcing it which may be why there are no "trail closed" signs on it. Thanks to the trail work CORBA did on it last spring, it is in good shape right now.
Nearby Sunset Trail is marked as closed.
Banner Moffat a 54 year old Cross-Country Rider riding a Superfly 100 from La Crescenta
- Trail UpdateOnly Lower Sam Merril.-It looks like only Lower Sam Merril trail is open. Middle Sam Merril is partially in the burn area which makes it closed. Forestry service states that not all closed trails are marked. Take a look at the satellite image of the burn/closure area (zoom in). You maybe surprise how much of the trail system falls underneath the closure area. I would hate to get a $5000 ticket.
- Trail UpdateSAM MERRILL IS NOT CLOSED!!-I just did it again yesterday, but this time went ALL the way to Mt. Lowe! The Saddle is closed with a sign stating why (RockSlide 150ft section) but everything else is OPEN! The Upper SM is one hell of a ride, had to hike quite a bit, i just started up again and don't think i will try that section again (to rocky/risky). Half the area is burnt too. Middle Sm was fun as always, did a lil maintenance since i had some time. I wanna try sunset, but im not sure if its a left or a right from the Mt.Lowe railway connector coming from Echo Mnt. Ive read 2 different directions. I know Chaney is closed, (coming up from the signal) but ild take that chance if i just could find the trailhead.. Help?
dannyboy a 23 year old Cross-Country Rider riding a Diamond Bike Responce Sport! from LA
- Trail UpdateOpen-I've ridden to Inspiration point via top of lake to the railway many times since the forest has been closed. There are NO signs saying anything is closed until quite a bit further up the fireroad past Sam Merill and inspiration point. If you are looking for some good single track to ride still, I suggest you go here, it's about the only fun trail left open for now in the Pasadena area...just be careful, the upper part of Sam Merrill, below Inspiration point, has seen some burning, it's a little sketchy through an area which was burned. The hills are steep and littered with rocks which are just waiting to fall down...don't do it when a Air Force plane is flying over the Rose Bowl, after that however, the trail is 100 percent as it was and still ripping.
- Trail UpdateRide At Your Own Risk.!-Actually the paved Mt. Lowe trail up to inspiration point and all areas east of it which includes Sunest is closed. I'm going to wait until the closures are lifted. Not too cool if I got a $5000 ticket from the Forestry rangers. Ride at your own risk!!! Best way to do it is to ride up to Inspiration point via Middle Sam Merril and back down if you got the skills to go up.
- Trail UpdateI didn't know Lower Sam Merril was open! How about Sunset Trail down to Millard Campground? Is the Forrest Service enforcing the closure?Thanks for any new infomation.
Hawkeye a 54 year old Weekend Warrior riding a Stump from La Crescenta
- Trail UpdateDid this ride 2 times in the past week, very nice, kinda hard uphill, had to get off a couple times, very steep in some sections, i was poppin wheelies in my lowest gear? Just go on the weekday and watch the blind corners for hikers. Ild make the 2.5 mile trip up to middle Merril, just take the Mt. Lowe Railway, make a right up the paved road, then go to Inspiration Point and u will see the trail on the right. AWESOME and TECHNICAL!
- Trail UpdateI saw CORBA doing trail work recently on the Middle Merrill. The sanitizing as you describe is usually done by hikers who are doing trail maintenance. I know for sure that CORBA's trail crew would never sanitize a single track.
a 38 year old Weekend Warrior riding a Intense 6.6 from Sunland, CA
- Trail UpdateTrail Work-Road Sunset to Echo Mountain. Noticed trail work had been done from above Millard Campground continuing across to Echo Mountain on the Sunset trail. Does anyone know if this trail work will continue up Upper Sam Merril? And while a lot of the erosion had been fixed, most of the rocks had been removed and some technical rock gardens had been completed dozed over. I was able to ride UP the trail without breaking much of a sweat and could have ridden down on a tricyle if I had one. I appreciate the trail work, but I think this latest round negatively affected the character of the trail for years to come. Some wooden water bars were also removed, so there aren't any drops left on the trail except the short stair section which thankfully was left untouched.
donopro a Racer
- Trail Updateeasy
- Trail UpdateTrail has had additional Sutter walls installed. Unfortunatly, someone decided grafitti was needed. Trail has some rain damage. As soon as I get ok to go back to maintain trail I'll be cleaning it up as well as removing the slides that are there. Care to help?
Goat a 50 year old Cross-Country Rider riding a Trek STP300 from Pasadena
- Trail UpdateLower Sam Merril-This trail is now under repair by a contractor. They are installing more sutter walls to help put this trail back in shape. I've been working this trail since '99. The rains from '05 caused alot of damage. The contractor will be working Mon.-Fri. days. Weekends are open but a lot of hikers are present, watch out. Interested in trail maintenance e-mail me at email@example.com
Goat a 50 year old Cross-Country Rider riding a Trek Stp300 from Pas. Cal.
- Trail UpdateNot To Bad-Looks like the Merrils did fairly well through all the rain.But there are a lot of lose spots on the way up.I ended up hiking half of these as it just wasn't worth the effort to try and keep traction.Even with a good tire I think it would be really difficult.A hiker I met at the old hotel told me there was a feature in the LA Times outdoor section that told about this trail this past week and that attracted scores more of people along with the warmer weather,it was a regular freeway there.We continued on to Inspiration Point and then took the singletrack back down.This area has only improved.Really,really, nice.Lots of rocks,obstacles and drops to keep your attention keen.A couple new slides and collapses,but nothing serious.We followed up by continuing down Sunset which is about the best I've ever seen it.LOTS of lose rocks and a few new drops along with now harder to make switchbacks.Trail is top notch right now and the pedestrian traffic was non exsistant here today.We got some good speed through this section and then had to cut it short and skip El Prieto as we were running out of time.Sure is nice to see the trail like this.Chances are though the rangers might consider it a little to technical and might grade some of it.I hope not,but there are a few collapses that need repair.Bugs were becoming a nuisance.
- Trail UpdateLower Merrill Rain Condition-Rode Lower Merrill from the bottom of Lake to the old Tavern this weekend...about 2.5 miles from Lake. The trail is in good shape thanks to trail workers getting it back in shape. Overall most of the trail is still rideable with a few spots you need to walk over. The trail that cuts over to Mt. Lowe railway is also in good shape.
Ride rating: Advanced
a Weekend Warrior
- Trail UpdateThe Lower Sam Merrill Trail at the end of Lake suffered a major landslide in the recent storms. It's around the half-mile mark. Passage is possible but dicey.
Chaney Trail Rd. is closed.
There appears to be no easy access to the Mt Lowe Railway from Altadena at the moment.
- Trail UpdateAlternate Lower Merril-Lower Sam Merril Trail is a lot of fun, but it's better going down than up. What I like to do is park at the blinking light and ride the Chaney Trail road up to the parking area, then the fire road up past Cape of Good Hope or whatever it is and getting the SM trail east from there. There's a side trail that cuts off to the left of the fire road a few hundred yards above where the Sunset Trail (?) starts. It's almost level end-to-end, and watch out for the poison oak at where the trail splits by the stream. Taking this trail up to the road is more difficult but shorter, and it's like 100 yds or less to the start of the trail over to Echo Mtn. The first section to the ruins is a little tricky, but the first half of the second section (to the bottom) is great. The trail type percentages below are based on taking the trail up instead of the paved road. The rating "advanced" relates to the leg muscles it takes to ride from the light to the parking area.
Ride rating: Advanced
Singletrack=80% Paved Path=20%
Big Ben a 35 year old Weekend Warrior riding a Raleigh MT20 and a Honda XR250R from Hollywood
- Trail UpdateLower Merril To Echo Mountain-This was my first time taking my bike up this trail and it
was great! The first 1 1/2 miles is a really smooth
singltrack that clings to the edge of a cliff. Towards the
beginning there's a set of stairs you have to hike your
bike up (some advanced riders may be able to clear
this section without portage). In any case, the first 1 1/2
miles are very smooth and in good condition. After this,
however, the trail gets rocky and, in some places, pretty
washed out. This lasts for about a 1/2 mile, then the
trail gets back to being smoother, with some scattered
rocks until you eventually arrive at Echo Mountian (Old
Mt. Lowe Railway Ruins).
Most of this ride is intermediate level, with the exception
of some technical, rocky sections above the 1 1/2 mile
mark that could be considered advanced. There's
some tight switchbacks with some rocky steps that are
pretty difficult. If you're not really good with heights, I
WOULD NOT recommend this ride. Practically the
entire trail is about 2 1/2 feet wide and exposed. Some
parts of the trail are washed out and the the trail can
shrink to about 6 inches in a couple of places.
On the way down you can catch some speed,
especially after you clear the rocky section. I would
recommend going on this trail at odd times of the day,
as it is pretty highly travelled. Be careful how fast you
go, because it's easy to come wrapping around a
corner and find yourself smack into a hiker.
Ride rating: Advanced
Ride distance: 2.5miles Elevation change: 1500?
Singletrack=99% Paved Path=1%
Crazyhorse a 24 year old Die-hard Enthusiast riding a Trek 4300 from Pasadena, CA