Chilao to Mt. Hillyer via Horse Flats Trail

MODERATE 26 reviews
#74 of 201 trails in

Chilao to Mt. Hillyer via Horse Flats Trail is a 6.8 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.

6.8 miles
1,194 feet

dogs on leash





wild flowers


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.

1 month ago

For a virtual hike, check out my vlog episode for this trail!

The magnificent boulders and panoramic views of much of the Angeles National forest is what awaits you on this trail. This time of year I recommend getting out there really early, although I imagine this area gets amazing in the winter with some light snowfall.

The trail starts near the day use area of the chilao campground. There is a bit of an incline at first, then it flattens out around horse flats, and continues up the mountain to the top of Hillyer.

Bring plenty of water because water is out right now at Chilao and Horse Flats. Be advised!

Here's a spotify playlist to download for the trail!

3 months ago

Nice hike & beautiful views but beware mountain bikers descending quickly on the first part

3 months ago

Great place to hike

11 months ago

We had a lovely hike here on Labor Day. Not too strenuous, but pleasant and nice views on the 1 mile or so trail up to Horse Flats. From there, it was a quick scramble up to delightful boulder formations. Lots of nooks and crannies to explore. The top of Mt. Hillyer is a kind of open chaparral, dotted with pines. Good views from several spots and cool and breezy even when it was oppressively hot down below. Our one complaint - lots of flies, gnats swarming around our faces, especially in the first/last mile of the trail. Besides just keeping your mouth shut so bugs don't fly in (I speak from experience), wrap a bandana around your face like a bandido. This worked great for me.

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

The Chilao area of the Angeles National Forest (where this trail is located) is different from other parts as it's relatively flat and has a lot of rock formations. This alone makes it worth exploring. The summit of Mt. Hillyer is big and flat, but there are still some good views on parts of it.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Good hike

Sunday, May 15, 2016

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.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

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.

Sunday, June 07, 2015

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.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

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!

2 months ago

6 months ago

recorded chilao to Hillyer

7 months ago

9 months ago

recorded Mount Hillyer

Sunday, June 04, 2017

Sunday, October 09, 2016