Echo Mountain to Castle Canyon Trail, Inspiration Point to Sam Merrill Trail. 11 miles RT, 2,867 +/-, December 15, 2017

Another hike through the past up to Echo Mountain and Inspiration Point.  Echo Mountain was once home to the Echo Mountain House, a grand resort in its day.  Sadly it was burned to the ground along with many of the other structures constructed by Thaddeus Lowe, but you can still hike to the top and see the ruins including parts of the funicular that once brought guests up from Rubio Canyon to the resort.  There are interpretive signs that will help you imagine how magnificent this place once was.  From Echo Mountain we hiked up the Castle Canyon trail to Inspiration Point.  There are viewing tubes here that are strategically placed to view local points of interest looking down on the sprawling city below.  From there we also visited the site of Ye Alpine Tavern, another endeavor of Mr. Lowe which is also long gone, but not forgotten.  The sites are loving taken care of by volunteers.  It was a fun day exploring the mountainside and learning more about its extravagant history.  You can learn more about the history here:  http://www.mtlowe.net/ 

 Making our way up the trail to Echo Mountain as the sun was coming up.

Making our way up the trail to Echo Mountain as the sun was coming up.

 Most of the trail looks like this.  There's not much shade so it's definitely one you need to start early.

Most of the trail looks like this.  There's not much shade so it's definitely one you need to start early.

 One of the few areas that had some oaks along the trail.

One of the few areas that had some oaks along the trail.

 Arriving at Echo Mountain.  First views.

Arriving at Echo Mountain.  First views.

 Remains of the funicular that would bring guests up from Rubio Canyon to the Echo Mountain House.

Remains of the funicular that would bring guests up from Rubio Canyon to the Echo Mountain House.

 There are interpretive signs to help you imagine what a grand resort this once was.

There are interpretive signs to help you imagine what a grand resort this once was.

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 You can find this historical marker by the big bull wheel.

You can find this historical marker by the big bull wheel.

 This is where the funicular would end and the guests would disembark.  

This is where the funicular would end and the guests would disembark.  

 No rail operating today!

No rail operating today!

 The echo phone.

The echo phone.

 This was a loveseat located by the ruins of the Chalet.  It's so sad to see it tagged by people who don't respect history.

This was a loveseat located by the ruins of the Chalet.  It's so sad to see it tagged by people who don't respect history.

 Looking back at the ruins of the Echo Mountain House.

Looking back at the ruins of the Echo Mountain House.

 This is the view the guests would see overlooking the city.

This is the view the guests would see overlooking the city.

 The layout of the Echo Mountain House.

The layout of the Echo Mountain House.

 This is the bull wheel that would pull the funicular up the mountain.

This is the bull wheel that would pull the funicular up the mountain.

 Heading up the Castle Canyon Trail to Inspiration Point.

Heading up the Castle Canyon Trail to Inspiration Point.

 There was some shade along this trail.

There was some shade along this trail.

 This rock formation kind of looks like a castle.  I wonder if that's why it's called "Castle Canyon".

This rock formation kind of looks like a castle.  I wonder if that's why it's called "Castle Canyon".

 After a good climb, we started to get some nice views of Inspiration Point.

After a good climb, we started to get some nice views of Inspiration Point.

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 We reached the top!

We reached the top!

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 The famous viewing tubes are strategically placed so you can locate points of interest.

The famous viewing tubes are strategically placed so you can locate points of interest.

 A mule named Herbert used to push people up to Inspiration Point from Ye Alpine Tavern to enjoy the views.  There is a plaque here with his photo.

A mule named Herbert used to push people up to Inspiration Point from Ye Alpine Tavern to enjoy the views.  There is a plaque here with his photo.

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 Next we stopped by the ruins of Ye Alpine Tavern.  It was leveled years ago, so most of it is under the ground.

Next we stopped by the ruins of Ye Alpine Tavern.  It was leveled years ago, so most of it is under the ground.

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 There are signs here as well so you can take in the history of the land on which you are standing.

There are signs here as well so you can take in the history of the land on which you are standing.

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 Heading back down now on the Sam Merrill Trail.  This trail had a lovely stretch of oak forest.  

Heading back down now on the Sam Merrill Trail.  This trail had a lovely stretch of oak forest.  

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 Looking down at the Echo Mountain House ruins from the Sam Merrill Trail.

Looking down at the Echo Mountain House ruins from the Sam Merrill Trail.

 Almost back to the Echo Mountain Trail.  From here on out it was exposed and quite hot.

Almost back to the Echo Mountain Trail.  From here on out it was exposed and quite hot.