Best Hikeable Ruins, August 2014
The more than five-mile (round-trip) Sam Merrill Trail in Las Flores Canyon north of Altadena is steep yet stable, challenging novice hikers while not boring the more advanced. Switchbacks lead visitors up Echo Mountain to the remnants of the white city, a popular 1890s resort that included a hotel, an observatory, and a Mount Lowe Railway cable car—all of which were painted white. Despite devastation by fires and windstorms, parts of the old railbed and the foundation of the hotel remain visible. The latter is an ideal picnic spot, offering spectacular views of the San Gabriel Valley.