Echo Summit

Join the Eldorado National Forest for a special event celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the National Trails and the U.S. Olympic Training Center at Echo Summit.


  • Guest speakers
  • Information displays/booths
  • Guided hiking opportunities.


  • Saturday, August 25, 9:30 am to 3:00 pm. 


Tell Me More...

Three national trails pass through Echo Summit – the Pony Express Trail, the California Trail, and the Pacific Crest Trail.

California National Historic Trail Photo of forested area with road in foreground.

Heading for the gold fields and other opportunities, thousands of emigrants traveled west from the Missouri River to California and established many routes across the Sierra Nevada.  Three routes cross Echo Summit – Johnsons’ Cutoff, the Georgetown Pack Trail, and Hawley Grade. The more heavily used Carson River Route to the south crossed the mountains at Carson Pass. Photo: Grizzly Flat Cutoff, one of the historic California Trail routes in the forest.


Pony Express National Historic Trail Photo of Pony Express riders and horses in parade. 

To meet the needs of a growing nation, mail was carried on horseback over 1,800 miles between Missouri and California from 1860-61 in the unprecedented time of only 10 days. This relay system along the Pony Express National Historic Trail in eight states was the most direct and practical means of east-west communications before the telegraph.  Every year in June, an annual Re-Ride takes place. Photo: Pony Express Riders celebrating the 4th of July in Pollock Pines.

Pacific Crest National Scenic TrailPhoto of forested hillside with a trail meandering through rocks.

The Pacific Crest Trail runs from Mexico to Canada along the crest of the Sierra Nevada and Cascade Mountains.   It began as an idea when Clinton C. Clark founded the Pacific Crest Trail System Conference to plan and advocate for the trail.  Clark was joined by the Boy Scouts, the YMCA, Ansel Adams and others. From 1935 through 1938, YMCA groups explored the 2000 miles of potential trail and planned a route, which has been closely followed by the modern PCT route. Photo: Entrance to PCT at Echo Summit near Highway 50.

Echo Summit – U.S. Olympic Training Center Old photo of the olympic track carved into the forest.

The 1968, U.S. men’s track and field team won 12 gold medals and set six world records at the Mexico City Games, one of the most dominant performances in Olympic history. Less well known is the role that a 400-meter track at Echo Summit carved out of the Eldorado National Forest played in that success.  The U.S. Olympic Committee held a high elevation training camp for two months at Echo Summit to prepare U.S. athletes for the 7,300 foot elevation in Mexico City.  This site was designated as a California Historical Landmark in 2013. 

  • Return to Echo Summit (4:05 min. video) - 
    On June 27, 2014 eleven members of the legendary 1968 Track and Field Olympic Team reunited at Echo Summit to help dedicate the site as a California Historical Landmark. At this high altitude training facility located on the Eldorado National Forest, these men forged strong bonds that helped them navigate the turbulent times of the civil rights movement.