Remarkably less popular than neighboring Chilao and Buckhorn campgrounds (and also notably less maintained), Horse Flats Campground offers plentiful shade options and spacious sights. It is also privy to excellent and accessible hiking opportunities, some relatively unknown and excellent areas for Los Angeles rock climbers, and, as the name implies, equestrian resources that include with two corrals and several more hitching posts.
Due to its impressive elevation, which is over a mile higher in altitude than Los Angeles, the site is closed intermittently throughout the winter months. Be sure to call 818.899.1900, extension 221, for up-to-date information.
In the midst of the tumultuous and violent tectonic activity that occurred 5 to 7 million years ago, many towering pristine granite boulders were overturned, making Horse Flats a haven for boulderers and trad climbers, especially those looking to escape the summer heat and smog of the city. From the parking lot, follow obvious climber trails from campsites one and five to access several crags to the south and west of the parking lot. Most of the boulder problems are rated between V1 and V5, making for some excellent scenarios for new-to-the-game climbers to test themselves outside. Likewise, the established trad routes don’t tread far past 5.11.
This crag’s specialty is arête climbing, though there are plenty of crack and face problems as well. Landings are typically flat, but many of the highballs require diligent spotting. Keep in mind that a hospital is over an hour away.
The scent of the Jeffrey pines mingles with sagebrush in the crisp mountain air and provides a welcome reprieve from the bustle of the city. With a number of animals ranging from predatory hawks to coyotes afoot and Mount Hillyer’s silhouette making for a stark backdrop and an excellent day hike, it’s a bit surreal to note that downtown Los Angeles is just 18 miles away as the crow flies.