The Best Hiking Trails Around Pasadena
Looking for an invigorating walk with inspiring scenery? You needn’t venture far from your Pasadena condo or townhouse at Terraces at The Ambassador Gardens to find one. Jaw-dropping mountain views, picture-perfect waterfalls, and cinematic vistas of Pasadena await those willing to get their hiking boots on. Lace up, and let’s be on our way.
There are some seriously stunning waterfall trails around Pasadena—not least the Switzer Falls Trail. Make the 4.5-mile-out-and-back trek along the Gabrielino Trail, admiring a cinematic backdrop of the Gabriel Mountains. In the summer months, hikers enjoy plucking and scoffing wild blackberries along the way. Your ultimate reward, though, is the 50-foot Switzer Falls, sparkling in the sunlight. Elsewhere, the three-mile Sturtevant Falls Trail welcomes hikers, joggers, and horse riders—you can even take your dog along if you keep them on a leash. Pause to admire views of Mount Zion and Clamshell Peak before arriving at the falls. At this time of year, the fine spray makes for a refreshing cooldown.
The Sam Merrill Trail to Echo Mountain, according to Hiking Guy, promises you bang for the buck. Along this characterful route, peppered with fascinating local history, you’ll discover remnants of the former Mount Lowe Railway, as well as the ruins of the ill-fated Echo Mountain House hotel—built in the 1880s and long since burned down. Social Hiker recommends you time the trail for sunset—in order to marvel at Altadena, Pasadena, and Los Angeles as their lights flicker on. It’s pretty magical stuff: no wonder USA Today named it one of the “10 Great North American Hikes.” For more adventurous hikers, there’s an optional extension along the Castle Canyon Trail. Pick your way up the steep, shrubby path and emerge at Inspiration Point with its breathtaking views. You can capture individual sights from afar, thanks to its antique “viewing tubes.”
For those lazy days when you want to stay closer to home, the Ambassador Gardens lie just beyond the front door of your Terraces condo or townhouse. The century-old green space boasts Japanese-style bridges spanning scenic ponds, as well as immaculate lawns fringed with palms and ferns. You can also admire a historic Australian fig tree—planted in the 19th century, it cuts a majestic figure today. Enjoy the Ambassador Gardens’ lushly landscaped walking paths during a morning jog, midday pick-me-up, or romantic twilight stroll. Those mountainous trails will still be there for you to conquer tomorrow.