Via Toll Road

Page Type
California, United States, North America
Route Type:
Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
Time Required:
Half a day
Class I - 4,500' Elevation Gain

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Created On: Aug 30, 2006
Last Edited On: Aug 26, 2008


Initially, a four foot wide trail built in 1891, the toll road was expanded 1907 to ten feet in order to transport the 60 inch telescope to the top of Mount Wilson. Later in 1912 the road was again widened to 12 feet to fit the 100 inch telescope.

In the 20s, the toll road was home of the Altadena-Mount Wilson automobile race. The road was open to the public until the construction of the Angeles Crest Highway in 1936. The road was then turned over to the Forest Service as a fire road.

Getting There

To get to the start of the toll road, drive to the east loop of Pinecrest Drive in Altadena. Get past the fence down towards the toll road.

Route Description

Total elevation gain: 4,500 feet.
Distance: 9 Miles each way.

Take the dirt road down to the mouth of Eaten Canyon towards Henninger Flats. Pass these green flats and stay on the road until you reach the observatory's parking lot.

Essential Gear

Comfortable shoes and plenty of water.

In winter, it is not uncommon to find snow on the trail above 4,500 feet or lower right after a storm. Weather can change very quickly up there. Be prepared and do not fall into the "Day Hike" mentality death trap.