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This trailhead is tucked away on a ridge whose paved fire road opens up the front range of the San Gabriel Mountains. The Sunset Ridge – Mt. Lowe Fire Road begins at this trailhead and winds its way up approximately 9 miles to Eaton Saddle between San Gabriel Peak and Occidental Peak. The fire road is a favorite with mountain bikers. Along the way, numerous trails spin off this fire road which trails take you to a myriad of wonderful destinations in the front range.
From the trailhead fire road gate, you begin hiking up the Sunset Ridge-Mt. Lowe Fire Road. Within 100 yards you will come to the point where the Altadena Crest Trail crosses the fire road. A marked sign to your left points to the ½ mile descent on the Altadena Crest Trail into Millard Campground.
If you go right on the Altadena Crest Trail, it will take you down into Altadena.
This trail contours the ridge above Millard Canyon and then ascends along the right side of the canyon to connect with the fire road again in 2.5 miles.
Further up the fire road is the Echo Mountain Trail.
It comes off the fire road on your right and its ½ mile stretch takes you to Echo Mountain (3,207’). Echo Mountain was the site of an upscale resort in the first third of the 1900’s.
After passing the Sloan Trail junction, in 2 more miles, the fire road passes underneath Mt. Lowe.
As you continue, Mt. Disappointment comes into view on your left.
The fire road then runs through Markham Saddle, right between San Gabriel Peak and Mt. Markham, and ends at Eaton Saddle, about 9 miles from its beginning.
From the 210 Freeway exit at Fair Oaks Ave. and take Fair Oaks north toward the mountains. At Loma Alta Drive, turn left and proceed about ½ mile to Chaney Trail Drive. The intersection is marked by a flashing yellow traffic signal. Turn right onto Chaney Trail Drive and ascend to Sunset ridge where you will come to a junction. Going to the left takes you down to Millard Canyon Campground. Instead, look immediately to your right and you will see a white fire road gate and some very limited parking spaces along the road in front of the gate. This is the trailhead. If there is no parking here, start back down Chaney Trail Drive and you will find lots of parking along the road.
Walk to and past the fire road gate and you are on the Sunset Ridge – Mt. Lowe Fire Road.
You will need an Adventure Pass to park your vehicle at this trailhead. There have only been rare occasions when Adventure Passes ($5 per day or $30 for a yearly pass) were sold at this trailhead. It is best to purchase one beforehand. They are sold at most sporting goods stores.
No permits are required to hike any of the trails accessible from this trailhead.
The Sunset Ridge trailhead is accessible year round. Because of its low elevation, the trailhead normally does not get snow, even in winter. However, be advised that access by vehicle to Chaney Trail Drive leading to the trailhead is only allowed, according to a warning sign, between the hours of 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. daily.
USGS Topos Pasadena 7.5