Mount Hillyer, 6,215', 6 miles RT (1,129 +/-), January 21, 2018

The trek to Mount Hillyer in the central San Gabriels is a meandering hike through impressive boulder formations and flat sections of beautiful pine meadows.  This land was once used by horse thieves, the most notorious was Tiburcio Vasquez.  This area was the perfect hideout for bandits to escape from the law and pasture stolen horses.  The trail starts off at Chilao just past the visitors’ center on the Silver Moccasin Trail.  The first section is a series of switchbacks through rocky terrain.  After about a mile, it smooths out and you’ll reach Horse Flats Campground.  It’s a beautiful camp equipt with corrals and hitching posts for equestions who ride in and want to stay the night with their horses.  From here you pick up the Mount HIllyer trial and this is where you’ll start a steady ascent through the ginormous boulders.  We took our time on this hike and had a lot of fun climbing around the various rock formations.  As for the summit, there are actually two.  The unofficial summit stands at 6,215’ and the second official summit is 6,162’.  You’ll come upon the unofficial first.  Once you’re done enjoying the views from there, you can hike just a little further up the trail and find a short use trail off to your right that goes to the official summit.  We stopped there and had some breakfast.  There was absolutely no one on the trail today.  After we were done enjoying the peace and quiet of the forest, we headed back down towards Santa Clara Divide Road.  We followed the road back to Horse Flats and then back to the Silver Moccasin Trail and Chilao.  Loved this hike today.  Short on the mileage, but very big on the scenery!

 The Silver Moccasin trailhead at Chilao.

The Silver Moccasin trailhead at Chilao.

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 Horse Flats Campground.  It's very pretty here with hitching posts and corrals for your horse if you ride in.  The surrounding area is beautiful with a meadow of pines.

Horse Flats Campground.  It's very pretty here with hitching posts and corrals for your horse if you ride in.  The surrounding area is beautiful with a meadow of pines.

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 Trail to Mount HIllyer.

Trail to Mount HIllyer.

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 Going up the trail, we stated to see the great boulders.

Going up the trail, we stated to see the great boulders.

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 I would have to say the rock formations are the highlight of this trail.  There are plenty of them to make it interesting.

I would have to say the rock formations are the highlight of this trail.  There are plenty of them to make it interesting.

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 I was hoping to see a little bit of snow today, but this frost on a log was about all I could find.

I was hoping to see a little bit of snow today, but this frost on a log was about all I could find.

 Approaching the first "unofficial' summit.

Approaching the first "unofficial' summit.

 Views fro the "unofficial" summit at 6,215'.

Views fro the "unofficial" summit at 6,215'.

 The pinecones were almost as big as my head!

The pinecones were almost as big as my head!

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 Heading along the trail and then on to the official summit which is actually lower at 6,162'

Heading along the trail and then on to the official summit which is actually lower at 6,162'

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 The official summit.

The official summit.

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 Now heading back down to Santa Clara Divide Road, back to Horse Flats and Silver Moccasin Trail to Chilao.

Now heading back down to Santa Clara Divide Road, back to Horse Flats and Silver Moccasin Trail to Chilao.

 Santa Clara Divide Road.  It's very pretty.  I usually don't like walking on roads, but this is a nice trek.

Santa Clara Divide Road.  It's very pretty.  I usually don't like walking on roads, but this is a nice trek.

 View returning down the Silver Moccasin Trail.

View returning down the Silver Moccasin Trail.