One of my first SoCal summits this year was Mt. Hillyer via the Silver Moccasin Trail in the San Gabriel Mountains. The trail starts out rather sandy but changes as you gain elevation and get closer to the boulders. The trail meanders though oak and pine forests before you reach the maze of boulders. The girls and I summited around noon and enjoyed lunch among the pines. I have to say the “summit” left quite a bit to be desired. It felt more like a slight rise in the trail than a summit. There were a couple of mountain bikers out and on the way back down we passed a slew of little Boy Scouts but other than that the hike was pretty quiet.
The hike is about six miles long and can be hiked year round. Since the first mile or so is though chaparral it can get pretty hot even in the spring. Early mornings in the summer or anytime during other seasons would probably be the best time to head out.
How to get there: From the 210, exit Hwy 2 N. Follow the highway to the Chilao Picnic Area and Visitor Center at mile post 50. Drive past the picnic area approximately .7 miles to the signed trailhead on the right. National Forest Pass required.