Mt. Hillyer Trail from Horse Flats Campground is a 3.3 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Mt Wilson, CA that features beautiful wild flowers and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.
dogs on leash
quick, easy and beautiful hike, boulders and pine trees, very picturesque This is a very easy hike, and a summit that small children can attain. It is a strolling trail through some chaparral near the trailhead, but that changes quickly. It becomes a boulder strewn forest in no time. A forest, I might add which is strikingly beautiful and unique to this part of the Angeles. This is prime mountain biking country, and the trail is a bit worn and wide in places. So if you do bring small children on a busy day, watch out for bikers. This is also bear country, with lots of current ursine activity, so be wary of them as well. I always try to make noise to avoid unexpected encounters. If you blink, you might miss the top, but once you are near you will have great views of Big Tujunga Canyon to the West, Twin Peaks and Mt. Waterman to the East, Pacifico staring you into the face to the north. I took this as a sunset hike, which was beautiful. The boulders off to the left of the summit were a nice place to enjoy the twilight.
It was a perfect day for this hike! Hot Hot Hot day down below, so to come up here was a great way to escape. Nice cool breeze, the sun was out. We could tell that it had rained a bit that morning. I've been here before mountain biking but brought my wife and a couple of buds for a hike. They all loved it! We will be coming back soon as my wife is barely getting into hiking. baby steps!
I got started a little late in the morning on this hike, about 9:40a, on a hot day and since the trail is exposed for a lot of the time it was a little tough. Also, most of the elevation is gained in the first 3/4 of a mile. Once the trail leveled out a bit it was a really enjoyable hike. The views are great. It was difficult to know when I had actually reached the top of Mt. Hillyer so if you start down a big hill, know that you've passed it. There are a couple of other starting points for Mt. Hillyer. Starting at the Chilao Visitor's Center will add a couple of extra miles; starting at the Rosenita will decreases the milage to a bit over a mile RT. I started at Horse Flats Campground and had lunch at one of the campsite's picnic tables afterwards. The campgrounds have bathrooms but they're not for the faint of heart. There's no water at this campground.
The Station Fire has given Poodle Dog Bush a great opportunity to thrive on this trail and in many other areas of the Angeles National Forest. The consequences of touching this plant are similar to poison oak so if you don't know what it looks like do a quick internet search before heading out on your next hike. I'm not kidding when I say it is prolific right now. My rough description of Poodle Dog Bush is that it looks similar to a marijuana plant with pretty little purple flowers and has a stinky scent. I posted a photo of it to this hike.
We took this trail from near the Chilao Visitor's center (which is closed indefinitely) up the Silver Moccasin trail, heading to the left at Horse Flats campground where there is a great sign indicating Mt. Hillyer. We hiked up past the many interesting boulders. This part of the trail shows no damage at all from the Station Fire. The views up are pretty nice. It's hard to know when you're at the summit and we stopped at a large boulder group to the left of the trail for lunch where you can really get a look at the fire damage, which comes clear up to the top. We kept going past the summit to make a loop down, which was a great thing to do. It was a little longer (maybe an extra mile) but saved us from scrambling down the rocks we scrambled up on the way up. We went left at Santa Clara Divide Road, then right back to the other side of the Horse Flats Campground and back to catch up with the Silver Moccasin trail. We were glad we did the loop. How I love a loop! We started this around 9 AM and it was pretty hot on the way back down, but it was worth it for the cool boulders and to get a look at the burn areas. The trail has had recent maintenance with yellow ribbon trail markers and logs and pine cones arranged to show you the way. Glad the 2 is back in business!