Mount Lowe Excursion

Meet at the corner of Lake and Loma Alta on Saturday, December 2nd, 2017.

Visit our FaceBook page to learn how to RSVP:




Would you like to attend our next annual Mount Lowe Excursion?

Once a year the Mount Lowe Volunteers, sponsored by the Angeles National Forest, is allowed to open the fire road for vehicles to drive up to Inspiration Point. This is a guided tour and a once in a year opportunity to get a chance to travel on the same road that was once occupied by the Mount Lowe Railway more than 120 years ago. 

This journey will take us along the old railroad route beginning at the gate at the top of Lake Avenue, through the Forest Road on Chaney Trail, up to 'The Cape of Good Hope", "The Dawn Station", "Horseshoe Curve", "Circular Bridge", "Granite Gate" and will end at the Alpine Tavern (known as the Mount Lowe Campground). At the Alpine Tavern there will be picture and video displays, artifacts and guides to explain the history of the tavern.

After lunch we will take a short hike up to Inspiration Point where we will discuss the history of Inspiration Point, the One Man and a Mule, Easter Rock and LT Gotchi's old cabin. This is an excellent opportunity to take pictures and record video as the scenery is quite splendid.

Excursion Information:

The event is typically held on the first Saturday of December.
Please check the top of this Event page in November to confirm the date.

We meet at the corner of Lake Ave and E. Loma Alta Drive in Altadena at 7:30AM. All guests must sign-in and purchase their tickets before we depart, departure is at 8:00AM. Then we'll drive 30 minutes up the fire road and park at the Alpine Tavern (aka Mount Lowe Campground). Visitors may walk around the campground, read the displays, look at historical artifacts and watch videos of the history of Mount Lowe. Feel free to take pictures and record anything you like. After lunch we'll hike 15 minutes up to Inspiration Point. You may explore the grounds and we'll provide a review of its rich history. Then we'll hike back to the Alpine Tavern where the volunteers will provide a history review of Mount Lowe and answer any questions you may have. We'll start driving back down at 12:30PM.

This is our annual fundraiser event.
Each ticket is sold at $3.00*
No invitation is required.
Anyone may attend this event, please note, the forest service only allows us to take up to 75 people, so tickets are limited.

If you would like to reserve your ticket, please send an email to:

Include the following information:

  1. How many tickets you would like to purchase
  2. Your full name
  3. Your telephone number
  4. If you need transportation or if you are bringing your own vehicle

Please note: if you are bringing your own vehicle, it must have good road clearance. This means it cannot be a car. It must be a truck, jeep, SUV or van. Keep in mind, we will be driving over a few small boulders along the way and if your vehicle is too low to the ground you will not be able to clear them and may cause damage to your vehicle. Also, we will be behind a locked gate on a restricted road. Those entering must stay with the group throughout the duration of the event.

Lunch: the volunteers will be grilling up hot dogs ($1.00 each) and will have hot chocolate ($1.00 each) ready to serve. You may also bring your own lunch if you like and sit on any of the various picnic tables throughout. Restrooms are located at the Alpine Tavern. 

Brief History of the Alpine Tavern:

The formal opening of the Alpine Division of the Mount Lowe Railway and Ye Alpine Tavern was held on December 14, 1895. It was built of pine with open timber construction and a granite foundation. The Alpine Tavern was in harmony with its name and surroundings - simple and unobtrusive, following the contour of the countryside and yielding to save the oak trees. 

Passengers on the Mount Lowe Railway were delighted to find the Alpine Tavern awaiting them at the end of their long journey. During cold weather, the great fireplace would be burning, inviting them in to warm themselves. Professor Lowe wanted the Tavern built with as little damage to the surrounding trees as possible. The stone and wood building held the dining room, lobby, and rooms for guests to stay.

The greatest changes were made to Ye Alpine Tavern in 1924-25. The main tavern was enlarged to accommodate more patrons and the name was changed to The Mount Lowe Tavern. Additional cabins were built and a large cottage, known as the Bungalow was constructed. The addition of tennis courts, shuffle board and ping-pong tables added to the fun for visitors to the Mount Lowe Tavern.

Following the loss of the buildings on Echo Mountain in 1905, the Tavern and the surrounding area became the main attraction to visitors to this mountain wonderland. The round trip excursion from Los Angeles cost $2.00; from Pasadena, $1.75. For those wanting to stay at the beautiful tavern, rooms were $5.50 to $7.00 per day; with bath, $7.00 to $7.50 per day. A two room cottage for two persons could be had for $3.00 to $4.00 per day; $15.00 to $20.00 per week. To complete the stay, breakfast was 75 cents; luncheon or dinner $1.25 weekdays, $1.50 Sundays and holidays.

Although the Alpine Tavern was over a mile high, it still retained all the comforts of city living. Rooms in the hotel were simple, clean, and comfortable. Amusements included a billiard table, card room, and a circulating library of current fiction. The Music Room had an excellent dance floor, and during the summer an orchestra was in residence. At other times the entertainment was provided by a phonograph, or later, a radio.

In the evening it was customary for guests to gather in front of the great fireplace. There was a large dining room, and postcards and other Mount Lowe souvenirs could be bought in the lobby. It was a place for one to linger, and many did for weeks, to drink in the pure mountain air and restfulness of these calm heights. Then in 1936 the Tavern disappeared into history, yet our volunteer group is dedicated to preserving its memory for eternity.

*All proceeds for this event go towards the maintenance and preservation of Mount Lowe, including its structures, trails and roads.



December 5, 2015 | Mount Lowe Excursion

We had an incredible event for this years Mount Lowe Excursion.

Special guest appearance by the blue grass band "Vin Fiz Flyer" who performed their original songs of Mount Lowe.
Click here to view those performances.
Click here to visit their FaceBook page.

The volunteers brought a lot of memorabilia they have collected throughout the years and brought displays with photos, brochures and other artifacts. We hiked up to Inspiration Point where the group was able to walk the hillside up to Easter Rock.


View the video below for a virtual tour of this years Excursion:


December 6, 2014 | Mount Lowe Excursion

We enjoyed a beautiful event this year. The sky was clear and the temperature was just right. Thank you for all those that came to our Mount Lowe Excursion today.


December 14, 2013 | Mount Lowe Excursion

We had a big turnout for this years Mount Lowe Excursion and a special guest, Lance Ferm. Lance is the great-great grandson via Louise Lowe-Gleim (the eldest daughter of Thaddeus and Leontine Lowe). Lance presented Brian and Dee Marcroft with a gift, a reprint of the family photo of the Lowe family.


View the video below for a virtual tour of this years Excursion:


December 12, 2012 | Mount Lowe Excursion

This was a particularly cold and windy day, not to mention the fog that rolled in as soon as we arrived to Inspiration Point. We had a big group show up, we almost met our 75 maximum capacity limit.

December 3, 2011 | Mount Lowe Excursion

Pasadena and Altadena had been hit with gale force winds all week. 100 year old trees were uprooted and the damage was incredible, yet we still have many attend our yearly event in spite of the destruction. During the event we enjoyed a clear blue sky and no heavy winds. It was chilly but we had a warm cups of cocoa and it kept us from freezing. This event was truly special. The volunteers organized a car group and stopped at the location of the Circular Bridge and discussed its design. Without a cloud in the sky the scenery from Inspiration Point was incredible. 


December 6, 2008 | Mount Lowe Excursion

Today was a great event. We have a special guest join us, Silky Griffith and Smokey Bear. Silky (94 years old) is one of the last persons we know who rode up the Incline Car to the Tavern when he was a boy. He described his experience on the Mount Lowe Railway and the excitement he felt riding the Great Incline from Rubio Canyon to Echo Mountain. 

Smokey Bear is an American advertising mascot created to educate the public about the dangers of forest fires. He was on hand to educate our guests and take pictures.

Thank you to all those who joined us today.


December 1, 2007 | Mount Lowe Excursion

We had a special guest visitor today, Smokey the Bear. He took pictures with guests and talked to us about the dangers of forest fires and how to prevent them. We had a big group of guests today, we thank everyone for their continued support. May we have more successful events like this for years to come.


December 2, 2006 | Mount Lowe Excursion

The Mount Lowe Excursion departed at 8:00AM from the corner of Lake and Loma Alta. Our drive took us up to Alpine Tavern and it was a short hike to Inspiration Point. After the ceremony the volunteers discussed the history of Mount Lowe answered questions from the visitors. They related their experiences to the attendees before making our way back down the mountain.


December 3, 2005 | Mount Lowe Excursion

We had a big turn out for our annual Mount Lowe Excursion. Dee Marcroft and Mike Quintana were wonderful cooks and grilled up our hot dogs on a grill we pulled out of the creek about 150 yards away. This grill was originally used in the Alpine Tavern kitchen.

We made a little extra money today to help fund future projects, thank you for all those who donated something extra to the cause. The menu consisted of hot dogs, pastry, almond roca, hot chocolate, coffee and soft drinks.

Many enjoyed hiking the 1/2 mile to Inspiration Point to see the view and see the structure that the Mount Lowe Volunteers rebuilt in 1996.

Afterwards the volunteers would give a brief overview of the history of Mount Lowe.


December 6, 2003 | Mount Lowe Excursion

Here are a few pictures from our annual Mount Lowe Excursion. Edna Smith, from the Altadena Historical Society, is presented a rare photograph of the Great Incline by Ron Jasinski. On stage is Brian Marcrot, Ron Jasinski, Edna Smith and John Harrigan.


December 7, 2002 | Mount Lowe Excursion

 A work party was gathered together 3 weeks prior to this event to remove obstructions from the fire road. Our biggest task was moving a huge boulder away from the road which took an incredible amount of strength and patience. This is a typical occurrence on the road going to the Alpine Tavern site so we make frequent trips to ensure these blockades are removed.

It was a perfectly clear day today, beautiful blue skies all around. Once our visitors arrived at the Alpine Tavern they had a moment to read through the displays which contain rare photos, brochures and other memorabilia. Ted Behr, Virginia Bagnard & Silky Griffith had the opportunity to ride the Mount Lowe Railway and discussed their experiences.

Thank you for all who came.