Posted by: GeekHiker | August 19, 2007

HIKE: Mt. Hillyer

With an elevation just about 6,000 feet, Mt. Hillyer is a trail that I often hit early in the hiking season, while areas in the high country are still covered in snow or just too cold and windy and irritating to make a fun hike.  With its mostly southern exposure, the trail is usually warm, but can be hiked pretty much all year.

Mt. Hillyer’ rambling, flattish summit is more like a pine strewn meadow than a “peak” per se, so peak-baggers will be disappointed.  But as a fall or spring hike Mt. Hillyer is a wonderful diversion.  It’s generally a quiet, lightly visited place, making it all the more enjoyable.

Starting from the trailhead just past the visitor center, the trail follows the Silver Moccasin trail as it switchbacks up a chaparral covered slope.  This part of the trail can be hot and exposed, best to hit it early in the morning.

After 1.1 miles the trail levels out a bit, heading into Horse Flats campground and veering away from the Silver Moccasin Trail, heading west.

The trail begins to climb through a mixture of chaparral, oak and pine forest, meandering its way around large granite boulders.  Much of the rock here is more intact than granite at other places in the Angeles N.F., where it’s been ground down to small pebbles by all the tectonic movement along the rift zone.

Mt. Hillyer 1

Along the trail near Mt. Hillyer

Arriving at the summit, such as it is, stand atop the granite outcrop and take in the view looking east down-canyon.  It’s an excellent spot to stop and have a bite, or lay out in the sun on the granite, dozing with the wind whispering through the pines.

Mt. Hillyer Pano

Panorama From Mt. Hillyer looking east 

Starting off again, the trail heads roughly north, descending steeply from the pine summit down to a grove of oaks.  The trail is sandy in this part, and the tracks of mountain bikers, who love this route, are clearly visible.

Eventually, the trail ends at the gravel Santa Clara Divide Road.  Turn right and head a half mile down the lightly-traveled road to the entrance to Horse Flats Campground.  Head into the campground and proceed south to the other end, where you’ll hook up again with the Silver Moccasin Trail.  Follow this back to the trailhead to complete the loop.

Total Distance: 5.8 miles

Elevation Gain/Loss: 1,100’/1,100′


Directions: From Interstate 210, exit Highway 2 North in La Canada Flintridge.  Follow the highway to the Chilao Picnic Area and Visitor Center at mile post 50.60.  Drive past the picnic area approximately .7 miles to the signed trailhead on the right, just on the otherside of a concrete ford (parking available for about 3 cars)  National Forest Pass required.



  1. […] on summitpost.orgMount Hillyer Trail on nobodyhikesinla.comMount Hillyer Trail on everytrail.comMount Hillyer Trail on (single)geekhiker.wordpress.comMount Hillyer Trail on Dan’s Hiking Pages/a>Mount Hillyer Trail on localhikes.comThe official […]

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