Be careful to observe the parking restrictions along Chaney Trail
. Road is driven by trail crews and other administrative users any time of the week. The section near the top at Eaton Saddle and passing through the Mueller Tunnel is sometimes closed due to slides.
The Mt. Lowe Fire Road, while not a destination in and of itself, is a good option to connect to other great trails in that area, and to make a variety of loop runs.
The road starts at the locked gate at the high point of Chaney Trail
(road) where there is a limited number of parking spaces. The lower part of the road is paved. At 0.3 miles there is a junction with the Sunset Ridge Trail 12W18
. At 1.5 miles there is a spur to Sierra Saddle which has shade and picnic tables. The Sunset Ridge Trail 12W18
rejoins the road at 2.4 miles just before the junction with the Echo Mountain Trail 12W14.A
at the Cape of Good Hope. From this point on to the Mt. Lowe Trail Camp, the road follows the historic route of the Mt. Lowe Railway and there are signs along the way with information. The road turns to dirt and there is a junction with the Dawn Mine Trail 12W13
at 2.7 miles. It makes a long switchback and finally gains some shade from oaks and bigcone spruce reaching the campground near the top of the canyon at 5.2 miles.
From the camp, the road makes a sharp bend south and climbs to a saddle at 5.4 miles with the Muir Peak Road #2N50.A
going right, the Idlehour Trail 12W16
going east and the Middle Sam Merrill Trail 12W14.2
going west. The road goes north and there is a junction with the Mt. Lowe East Trail 12W14.3A
and shortly after the Upper Sam Merrill Trail 12W14.3
. The road climbs around the western side of Mt. Lowe reaching a saddle at 6.9 miles with a spur road going left. It leads to the top of the Bear Canyon Trail 12W08
. The road continues to Markham Saddle at 8.3 miles and a junction with the San Gabriel Peak Trail #12W24
going north and the Upper Sam Merrill Trail 12W14.3
heading south to Mt. Lowe. The last half mile is usually not passable to vehicles and goes through the Mueller Tunnel ending at Eaton Saddle.
Oaks and bigcone spruce provide shade in a few areas. Mostly chaparral of scrub oak, chamise, laurel sumac, ceanothus and lots of non-native Spanish broom. Watch for poison oak in shady areas.