FATMAP by Strava

Mount Lowe -> Lower Sam Merrill

Angeles National Forest

A Mount Lowe descent variant finishing on the tight and twisty Lower Sam Merrill trail.

Mountain Biking Severe

12 km
140 m
1.1 km
0-1 hrs
Low Point
554 m
High Point
1.6 km
Mount Lowe -> Lower Sam Merrill Map

Mount Lowe is hands-down the Los Angeles-area's premiere legal shuttle run. Along with nearby Mount Wilson, a plethora of singletrack trails and dirt roads descend from the crest of the mountain range all the way down to the outskirts of the megalopolis far, far below. To get to the top, either cajole a friend or family member into driving you up, or book a commercial shuttle from one of several local shuttle companies.


Mount Lowe, in particular, offers a variety of descent options. Want to enjoy an easy, scenic cruise from mountaintop to city limits on an abandoned railroad grade? You can do just that, as the now-defunct railway (complete with a tunnel through the mountainside) is the anchor of all the routes in this region.

Want to drop down narrow, technical singletrack with breathtaking views and death-defying exposure? Mount Lowe offers that type of mountain bike ride as well.

The route mapped here follows the classic Mount Lowe descent, but follows all the sections of the Sam Merrill trail down the mountain to the outskirts of the city. While the classic descent does follow the Middle Sam Merrill Trail, this route option continues onto the Lower Sam Merrill Trail before ending at the edge of the city.

Lower Sam Merrill is a switchbacked descent with constant tight turns and exposed ledges. This trail is one of the most popular hiking trails in the region, so if you choose to descend this option, be sure to ride aware of trail traffic and yield the trail to hikers.

Sources: https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/california/echo-mountain-via-sam-merrill-trail--4



Widely variable, narrow trail tread with steeper grades and unavoidable obstacles of 15in/38cm tall or less. Obstacles may include unavoidable bridges 24in/61cm wide or less, large rocks, gravel, difficult root sections, and more. Ideal for advanced-level riders.

High Exposure

3 out of 4

Some trail sections have exposed ledges or steep ascents/descents where falling could cause serious injury.


2 out of 4

Away from help but easily accessed.

Best time to visit

between March and December


  • Flow
  • Technical
  • Picturesque
  • Shuttle-run
  • Singletrack
  • Rock Gardens

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area