Chilao to Mt. Hillyer via Horse Flats Trail is a 7.1 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Mt Wilson, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, and camping and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.
dogs on leash
Directions from La Canada, CA: From the Angeles Crest Highway, take the upper Chilao Campground Road for about a quarter mile (you will pass the Visitor Center). Park in the paved parking spaces, take the trail to your right, which is the Horse Flats Trail (this is part of the Silver Moccasin Trail). After a mile of climbing, you will come to a dirt road at the edge of Horse Flats. Go a short distance to a sign which is on the left to Mt. Hillyer, 2 miles by trail. You can eliminate a couple of miles hiking on the round trip (although you'll miss some interesting trail) by driving directly to Horse Flats and hiking up from the dirt road just described, at the edge of the campground.
Did this hike with our Boy Scout troop as a family hike. The boys loved climbing on the rock formations along the trail. It was a bit cold, but overall a great day for a hike.
Planned to do a hike from Islip Saddle today, but the road was closed earlier than the highway hotline said... So I came back the way I came and did this hike from Chilao Flats. It's a fun one that will take a few hours. I wouldn't say it's the most breathtaking peak in the area, but it's a really pleasant hike, and not too challenging.
Absolutely beautiful trail. It was a little steeper than I expected but well worth it. My only advice is to start early and bring bug spray to deter gnats and flies.
This was a great, close in hike for me and my dogs on a Sunday afternoon. Access to the Silver Moccasin trailhead is easy from the Angeles Crest Hwy, parking for 3-4 cars. The trail starts on sandy soil, then climbs for a mile on gentle switchbacks in thick scrub. This area was spared a burn in the Station Fire, so there is plenty of growth to enjoy. After a mile, you leave the SMT, to the left, and skirt the Horse Flats Campground. Just a short distance and you reach the trailhead for the Mt. Hillyer trail. For the next couple of miles you climb through pines, and fun boulder piles to ramble on, until the top of Mt. Hillyer. The top is really just a rounded bump, but plenty of places to enjoy a picnic in sun or shade, and great views of the surrounding mountains. Incl: Waterman and Twin Peaks, Strawberry and Josephine, Wilson and San Gabriel, and Condor and Fox.
From the top you can reverse your route. I chose to head north off the mountain, through more Jeffrey Pine groves, for a loop route. This joins the Santa Clara road, which I used to walk back to Horse Flats, and rejoin the SMT to my car.
I would classify this hike as moderate to easy, and it took me 3 hours including my lunch stop. 8 miles total, and 1145 in elevation gain.
I found it very uncrowded: I passed 1 other hiker, 2 mountain bikers, 2 guys practicing bouldering, and a group of target shooters (ugh, illegal where they were doing it....). There was no one but me and my boys at the top.
A really lovely afternoon!