We are in southern California, in the town of Acton, next to the Angeles National Forest. We’re staying here for at least the next 2 weeks to have several repairs done. So it’s a great opportunity to explore the area for hiking. The Angeles National Forest is located in the San Gabriel Mountains and Sierra Pelona Mountains. Although it’s just north of the densely-populated Greater Los Angeles, the Angeles National Forest felt like a remote wilderness.
The trailhead to Mt Hillyer is near Chilao Visitor Center off the Angeles Creat Highway. Take the Angeles Crest Highway to the trailhead. Google Map suggested an alternate route through the Forest Service Road 3N14. Do not talk this route as it is a narrow one lane road and has access gates which may be closed.
The first part of the trail to Mt Hillyer is a section of the Silver Moccasin Trail. The trail goes through a pine forest with manzanita and yucca plants mixing in. The climb started almost immediately. The San Gabriel Mountains could be seen in the background shortly after we gained some elevation. There were a lot of big pine cones on the ground.
About one mile in, we were at the Horse Flats Campground. Trail to Mt. Hillyer continued from the campground for another 1.75 miles. This section of the trail goes through interesting boulder field with better views of surrounding mountains. Soon we were at the summit of Mt Hillyer. We didn’t see any signage to indicate where the summit was.
A big boulder pile at the summit was a good spot for lunch with unobstructed view. After lunch we headed back down to our truck. During the entire hike we didn’t run into any other hikers until getting back to the truck where we met two hikers who came back from the Horse Flats Campground. It’s amazing how much solitude could be had this close to Los Angeles.
On the drive back we were treated with a fiery sunset to conclude our day.
- Date hiked: October 26, 2016
- Hiking time: 3h 15m
- Distance: 5.5 mi round-trip (out and back)
- Elevation change: Approx. 1100 ft
- National Forest Pass is required to park at the trailhead