Past Meetup

Mt. Hillyer

This Meetup is past

20 people went

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THE LONG AND WINDING ROAD. It became the Beatles’ last #1 hit on Billboard 45 years ago Saturday. And we’ll take it (aka Angeles Crest Highway) up to the Chilao Visitor Center for this week’s hike.

Mt. Hillyer (~6,162 ft.) may be one of the most reasonable-to-reach peaks of the Sierra Club’s Hundred Peaks Section ( The route’s enormous boulders proved to be perfect hiding spaces in the mid-1800s for horses stolen in the nearby San Fernando and San Gabriel Valleys by bandit Tiburcio Vasquez and his crew.

More history: the cabin built by Ranger Louie Newcomb – the first Forest Service station in the San Gabriels – has been moved from its original location at Shortcut Canyon/West Fork and restored. It sits on the grounds of the very contemporary Nature Center at Chilao, ( which features great exhibits, expert/scary taxidermy, and a solid selection of brand new WPA-style postcards of various Angeles National Forest attractions.

Finally, there’s still a surprising amount of wildflower action up here, with lush penstemons, lupine and fremontias all still in bloom.

For anyone who wants to get a little extra mileage in, consider visiting the Vetter Mountain Lookout on your way home, off Charlton Flats. The historic lookout was destroyed in the 2009 Station Fire, but is being rebuilt by volunteers (including SMH member Bob M.). There’s a 3.8 mi. RT hike (525-ft. gain) on mostly paved road to a temporary fire lookout with gorgeous views of Mt. Wilson and across to Big Tujunga Road. After being closed to vehicular traffic for so long, the route up is eerie in spots, with poodle-dog bush nearly enveloping the picnic tables and park benches along the sides of the road, and even breaking up the paved road in spots. Here’s a writeup ( ask Shawn for directions after our hike). ( Nat’l. Forest Adventure Pass required to park.


Level: Advanced Beginner-Low Moderate (note trailhead is at about 5,200 ft. elevation)

Gain: ~1,000 ft.

Distance: ~ 7.25

Time: 3-1/2 hours

Type: Lollipop, single track and paved road, completely exposed

Dogs: Permitted on leash

Water: Not available at the trailhead, but there’s a spigot at the Chilao campground if you need to refill before heading home

Restrooms: Vault toilets available at the Red Box Picnic area (approx. 14 miles from the 210 on Angeles Crest Highway at the intersection of Mt. Wilson-Red Box Road). There’s also a pit toilet at the Chilao Picnic area between our parking spot and the trailhead.

Parking: After turning left into the Chilao Visitor Center entrance off Angeles Crest, there’s a large, paved lot on the left that we have permission to park in. This is NOT the Visitor Center Parking lot, which is a little further in and to your right. NO National Forest Adventure Pass required today.

Bring: At least two liters of water, sunscreen, hat, snacks to share (Fritos? (, poles may be helpful for the initial steep-ish ascent and final descent. Cash or a credit card if you want to stop for a snack or get a cold drink (or just ogle all the horsepower) at the historic Newcombs Ranch ( just north of the Visitors Center, celebrating its 75th year in business.


From the 210 Freeway in La Canada, head northeast on Angeles Crest Highway (CA 2) for 26.2 miles (mile marker 50.60). Like the song title, the road is long and winding; allow 45 minutes from the 210 to Chilao. A mile after the turnoff for Chilao Campground, and a quarter mile before Newcomb Ranch, turn left at the Chilao Visitor Center sign. Turn left into the paved area on your left, where we’ll meet and walk together to the trailhead, about a half-mile away.

If you’d like to carpool, park and meet near the intersection of Flanders and Milmada (,+La+Ca%C3%B1ada+Flintridge,+CA+91011/@34.1984881,-118.1919802,11z/data=!4m2!3m1!1s0x80c2e9fbd7506d5f:0xc17c9767c73500b7?hl=en) (approx. 941 N. Milmada, La Canada Flintridge) at 7 am. Email Shawn if you’re planning to carpool so we’ll know to look for you. I have one extra Adventure Pass to loan anyone else driving to the Visitors Center.

Here’s a map. (

Shawn’s mobile: 213/[masked]

Mobile service is limited at the trailhead, so if you have any questions about directions, call me before Saturday.


The Organizer, Assistant Organizers and event hosts in this group are not professional guides. The function of the organizer is only to organize the trip. Each person who signs up for a trip/meetup/ or outing is responsible for his or her own safety and the safety of his or her guests. By signing up for a hike, or any other event organized by this group, you are acknowledging that you are aware and have made your guests aware of the risks, dangers and hazards associated with any outdoor activity and freely accept and fully assume all such risks, dangers and hazards, and further agree to release and discharge the Organizer, Assistant Organizers and event hosts of this Meetup Group from and against any and all liability arising from your and your guest's participation in the group activities.