Trail and Lunch stand Mt. Wilson Trail  -1800's.  The City of Sierra Madre has a charming village atmosphere and sits at the base of Mt. Wilson in the foothills northeast of Los Angeles, California. The city of 10,800 is set on gentle foothill slopes and the canyon area of steep hillsides and valleys. The Mt. Wilson Trail has been noted since 1840 as a packing and hiking trail which rises from Sierra Madre to the summit of Mt. Wilson eight miles away.  The Mt. Wilson Trail Race is coordinated by volunteers and is traditionally held on the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend. Challenged by 8.6 miles of rugged terrain, runners from across the nation are attracted to this unique historical


Goals and Objectives

Facilitated by the Recreation Department, the Mt. Wilson Trail Race Volunteer Committee has established the following goals and objectives in the planning and supervision of the annual Mt. Wilson Trail Race: 1) To preserve the Mt. Wilson Trail Race, retaining its historic and cultural significance to the Sierra Madre community; 2) To best utilize and coordinate the services of over 100 volunteers representing eleven agencies, including civic organizations, local students, and support groups; 3) To preserve a safe and well-maintained hiking trail and running course throughout the year; 3) To offer runners and hikers an opportunity to participate in a competitive foot race set in the natural area's mountain terrain at challenging elevations; 4) To attract runners and spectators to witness Sierra Madre in its finest display of community spirit.


The Mt. Wilson Trail Race is sanctioned by the Athletic Congress and is considered to be one of the toughest of the "uphill" runs in the circuit. Due to the steep, narrow features of the trail, the race is limited to a maximum of 300 runners. The limit is established by the volunteer Sierra Madre Search and Rescue Team which regularly monitors the trail and provides emergency support on race day. Unique features of the Mt. Wilson Trail Race include its historical value to the community and a competitive course layout for runners. Innovative features involve the use of volunteers and support groups, specifically in the preservation of the Mt. Wilson Trail.1)Courtesy of the Sierra Madre Historical Archives. 1999.134.2

Mount Wilson Trail Race runners, 1908.

1)Courtesy of the Sierra Madre Historical Archives. 1999.134.2

Mount Wilson Trail Race runners, 1908.


The Mount Wilson Trail Race is run by a committee of approximately 16 community volunteers who are either established members in the Sierra Madre community or avid runners. Several committee members have served multiple years on the committee. Supporting the committee is City staff, Community Services Commissioners, and City Council Members. In addition to this committee, local organizations volunteer their services for a variety of race events: goodie bag stuffing, racer check-in, and serving the Pasta Feed Dinner are just a few. 2010 received the support from 16 local community organizations. Like the MWTR committee members these organizations return year after year to provide their support for the Mount Wilson Trail Race.

1Courtesy of the Sierra Madre Historical Archives. 1999.133.1 Footrace starting line.

Courtesy of the Sierra Madre Historical Archives, 1999.459.1.

Mt. Wilson Pack Train, 1905.


Eugene M. Estoppey:  Image courtesy of Dr. William White and the Sierra Madre Historical