Mount Wilson Trail

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The Mount Wilson Trail is a trail located in California. It is also known as the Mount Wilson Toll Road.

In 1891 Prof. Thaddeus S. C. Lowe incorporated the Pasadena & Mount Wilson Railroad with the plan of building a scenic mountain railroad to the summit of Mt. Wilson. At the same time land and easement disputes between camp owners Steils and Strain were going on over the public and private use of the Mount Wilson Trail. The courts ruled that the trail was a public thoroughfare and that any blockading would be illegal. At the foot of the mountain, a local contractor Thomas Banbury built a 10-mile (15 km) roadway to be named “The New Mount Wilson Trail,” aka “The Mount Wilson Toll Road.” Passage fare was 25¢ round trip for hikers and 50¢ for horseback.

The Mount Wilson Toll Road (1891–1936) is a historic roadway which ascended Mount Wilson via a vehicular passable road from the base of the foothills in Altadena. It was accessible fromPasadena via Santa Anita Avenue (nowadays the north-south portion of Altadena Drive) which drove right to the front porch of the toll house. The road is still accessible to non-motorized traffic (hikers, bicyclists, and horses) by way of Eaton Canyon (either from the Nature Center entrance, or an access gate on Pinecrest Drive, just off Altadena Drive in Altadena). Segments of it have been closed at various times due to landslides. A 2005 landslide destroyed 50 yards of the road, but it has since been rebuilt and reopened.

Mount Wilson had always been active with human passage starting from the days of the local Native Americans. It was Benjamin Davis Wilson who established a proper trail to the summit of Mt. Wilson from Sierra Madre through the Little Santa Anita Canyon.


  • Trail Measurement: 13.6 Miles
  • Compass Latitude: 341154N
  • Compass Longitude: 1180315W
  • Numeric Latitude: 34.1983381
  • Numeric Longitude: -118.0542346
  • Elevation in Meters: 900
  • Elevation in Feet: 2953

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References and More Info

  • Trail Location
  • Trail Measurement
    13.6 Miles
  • Compass Latitude
  • Compass Longitude
  • Numeric Latitude
  • Numeric Longitude
  • Elevation in Feet
  • Elevation in Meters
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