Welcome to Mr. Cobb's Haunted Forest

Hiking the Cobb Estate's Haunted Forest

Hiking Cobb Estate Haunted Forest

“A quiet refuge for the people and wild life forever.” Sounds like an innocent enough welcome to the Cobb Estate in Altadena—until you consider the rumor that the forest here has some “forever” residents that tend to make their presence known.

The ominous-innocent greeting is inscribed on a plaque at the entrance to the estate, whose ruins can be explored on an easy 1.5-mile (round-trip) loop trail. Hike it close to dusk for maximum creepiness (just make sure you're out by dusk, when the park closes). The 107-acre plot in what is now part of the Angeles National Forest was purchased by Charles and Carrie Cobb in 1915 to be their summer home but ended up becoming their permanent residence after Charles retired.

The Spanish-style estate (also known as Las Flores Ranch) is situated at the mouth of Las Flores Canyon in an area now known as the Haunted Forest. It’s easy to see why. After you enter the gate and head toward the forest, the sky immediately becomes dark. You’ve left streetlights behind, and the tree cover obscures most of the ambient light. (Headlamps are good gear to bring.) Follow the road until you reach the split with the Sam Merrill Trail. Keep left at the fork, continuing along the broken asphalt road. As you near the estate, exotic plants such as cactus and palms start popping up among the native oaks and eucalyptus. When the path splits again, you’ve reached the estate.

Hiking Cobb Estate Haunted Forest

Fork right to find the old steps leading up to the mansion. This is where most of the spooky occurrences happen. It is said Mr. Cobb doesn’t like people standing on his steps. Visitors claim to have heard screams in the forest and have had the sensation of being followed when no one else is around.

Continue following the path around the old foundation and head left into the hills. Trees with eyes, a rock-covered water fountain, and more broken pieces of the former estate line the trail that ends at a covered reservoir. Turn around here and head back the way you came toward the base of the ruins, admiring the city views below.

Keep going straight past the ruins and take the narrow path into the woods. The path dead-ends at the Sam Merrill Trail; turn right and take it back to the entrance gate. Just remember: You’re probably being watched.

TRICKLESS TREAT: For a post-hike tasty feast, check out Pitfire Artisan Pizza in Pasadena, just 15 minutes from the Cobb Estate trailhead! Seasonal specialties include a wood-roasted pumpkin pizza with goat cheese, greens, and pepitas; wood-roasted acorn squash; shaved brussels sprout salad; and roasted beets with Greek yogurt and mint. Sounds a bit healthier than a bagful of candy, right? Yum!

Pitfire Artisan Pizza

The trailhead for the Cobb Estate is located at the end of Lake Ave. in Altadena. Take the Lake Ave. exit from the CA-210 and follow until it ends. Open sunrise to sunset; street parking available until 8 p.m. Dog-friendly!

Trending Stories NorCal

View all Stories
  1. From Town to Falls

    Mount Tam’s Cascade Falls is a bit under the radar, tucked back off a residential area in Mill Valley. Some people drive up to the tiny parking lot nearest to the falls. Do an easy 3-mile (round-trip) hike right from downtown Mill Valley, weaving through quiet streets and secret trails.

  2. The Carson Show

    Carson Falls is ready for primetime. This three-tiered, 100-foot stunner is hidden back in a canyon outside of Fairfax and reached on a 3.25-mile (round-trip) hike.

  3. Sugarloaf Ridge State Park waterfall hike in Sonoma Valley

    Sweet as Sugarloaf

    Right in the heart of wine country there’s plenty more than wine flowing right now, with an oft unheralded waterfall that surges to an exuberant spectacle from all the recent rain.

  4. Sponsored

    Sonoma Valley's 100 Days of Winter Wellness Guide

    This winter wellness plan goes to 100! Nurture yourself in 2024 with Sonoma Valley’s 100 Days of Winter Wellness guide. It’s a perfectly curated array of inspiration and ideas.


Trending Stories SoCal

View all Stories
  1. A woman stands at Dante's View in Death Valley, looking out to Telescope Peak and Manly Lake, Badwater Basin below.

    Sunset Hike (and Manly Lake Vista!) at Dante's View

    It’s one of the world’s best places to watch a sunset. Dante’s View is a 5,476-foot vantage of the whole southern basin of Death Valley from the top of the Black Mountains. On clear days you get views of both the highest and lowest points in the contiguous U.S. 

  2. Skull On!

    Temescal Canyon not only has epic views, it's got a waterfall right now, one that only shows after big rains. Head out on this 4.6-mile loop.

  3. Woman hiking on the trail at Trebek Open Space in Los Angeles County

    Trebek Open Space

    While most hikers head over to adjacent Runyon Canyon, instead do the 2-mile hike at Trebek Open Space and pay your respects to the legendary Jeopardy host and philanthropist, Alex Trebek.

  4. Woman on Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes at Death Valley National Park

    Starry Night & Dark Sky Adventures

    You don’t have to stay out all that late to experience eminent stargazing at Death Valley National Park. The park's been given the highest ranking of darkness by the International Dark-Sky Association. Here are a trio of amazing ways to witness the mesmerizing night sky at Death Valley: