PROFESSOR THADDEUS LOWE

NEWSPAPER ARTICLE

 

Paper: Daily News of Los Angeles (CA)

Title: WEEKEND DIVERSIONS - HIGH ROAD TO MOUNT LOWE OFFERS A SPECTACULAR VIEW

Date: January 31, 1992

Towering above the San Fernando Valley, Mount Lowe once attracted tourists from around the world who came to experience its spectacular views, tony resorts and stunning railway.

Today, all that's left is the view, which is no less spectacular and still beckons visitors willing to take the short, secluded hike to its summit, five miles northeast of La Canada Flintridge.

"What always amazes me about this place is that you are basically looking out at the home of 15 million people in the L.A. basin, and nobody's knows where you're at," said Burbank writer Dennis Gagnon, author of the two-volume series "Hike Los Angeles."

"It's like you're on a different planet."

The shortest hike to the top, rated by the U.S. Forest Service as easy to moderate, is the 3-1/4-mile round trip from the Eaton Saddle turnout on Mount Wilson-Red Box Road.

Nestled in the high chaparral, the route ascends from the 5,150-foot-high trailhead through oak, sycamore and manzanita to the 5,593-foot summit. Hikers tread the ridge of San Gabriel Peak, which overlooks picturesque Bear and Eaton canyons and has views of nearby Inspiration Point and Mount Wilson.

The area is home to deer, black bear, Steller's jays, owls, red-tailed hawks and a rare pair of golden eagles.

"They're a neat pair. They give everybody who has a chance to see them a real thrill," said U.S. Forest Service ranger Don Gilliland, trail coordinator for the Arroyo Seco District, home of Mount Lowe. "If you just see one, the other's probably sitting somewhere else watching you."

The ranger said the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow is the panoramic vista from the summit, which earned the San Gabriel Mountains its turn-of-the-century title, Alps of America.

Those were the days when the Mount Lowe Railway, the world's first electrically operated mountain railroad, lured more than 100,000 passengers a year to the summit.

Along the route was a cluster of resort hotels - the Alpine Tavern, Hotel Rubio, Echo Mountain House and the Chalet - as well as an observatory and a small zoo.

The railway, which ran from July 4, 1893, to Dec. 5, 1937, was financed by T.S.C. Lowe, a professor, meteorologist and inventor who introduced the use of hot-air balloons for observation purposes during the Civil War. Oak Mountain was renamed Mount Lowe in his honor.

After the railway closed, fires, windstorms and torrential rains ravaged and forced the closures of the hotels and wiped out the observatory and much of the rail line's roadbed. The rest of the railway was dynamited in 1962.

All that remains of Mount Lowe's heyday are stray railway spikes, indentations where the tracks were and the view.

THE FACTS

What: Mount Lowe summit hike.

Where: Angeles National Forest, northeast of La Canada Flintridge.

How to get there: From the Foothill Freeway (210), take the Angeles Crest Highway (2) north. Turn right at Mount Wilson-Red Box Road. Drive for 2-1/2 miles, and park at the Eaton Saddle turnout.

On the trail: From the turnout, follow the Mount Lowe fire road past the locked gate and through its tunnel for -1/3 mile to Markham Saddle. Bear left, leave the fire road, and hike along the Mount Lowe East Trail. After walking for -1/2 mile along a slight incline, bear left again at the next saddle. After reaching the saddle's crest, descend down the trail for about 200 yards, and watch for an unmarked but obvious side trail that climbs upward. Turn right and follow the trail to the Mount Lowe summit. Return the same way you came.

Telephone: (818) 790-1151, U.S. Forest Service.

Copyright (c) 1992 Daily News of Los Angeles

Author: Brett Pauly Daily News Staff Writer

Section: L.A. LIFE

Page: L9


INDEX PAGE

BEFORE THE WAR

CIVIL WAR YEARS

INVENTIONS AND INDUSTRY

NORRISTOWN PENNSYLVANIA YEARS

PASADENA CALIFORNIA YEARS

MOUNT LOWE RAILWAY

AFTER THE RAILWAY

LOWE FAMILY

BOOKS ABOUT LOWE

NEWSPAPER ARTICLES

EVENTS AND REUNIONS

ARTIFACTS AND HISTORY

ENCYCLOPEDIA BIOGRAPHY

ACCLAMATIONS AND AWARDS

LINKS TO OTHER THADDEUS LOWE WEBSITES