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Mount Islip Loop Trail

Crystal Lake Recreation Area

San Gabriel + San Bernardino Mountains, California

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Mount Islip Loop Trail

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  • Windy Gap Trailhead parking lot.- Mount Islip Loop Trail
  • Windy Gap Trailhead.- Mount Islip Loop Trail
  • Windy Gap Trailhead vault toilet.- Mount Islip Loop Trail
  • Looking into Crystal Lake Basin from the Windy Gap Trail.- Mount Islip Loop Trail
  • Windy Gap Trail.- Mount Islip Loop Trail
  • Windy Gap.- Mount Islip Loop Trail
  • View of Highway 2 from Islip Ridge Trail.- Mount Islip Loop Trail
  • View of Windy Gap from Islip Ridge Trail.- Mount Islip Loop Trail
  • Looking north to the Mojave Desert from Islip Ridge Trail.- Mount Islip Loop Trail
  • View of Crystal Lake Basin from Islip Ridge Trail.- Mount Islip Loop Trail
  • View of Highway 2 from Islip Ridge Trail.- Mount Islip Loop Trail
  • View of the distant San Gabriel and Azusa Canyons from Mount Islip's summit.- Mount Islip Loop Trail
  • An old fire lookout cabin on Mount Islip's summit.- Mount Islip Loop Trail
  • View of Windy Gap from the Islip Ridge Trail.- Mount Islip Loop Trail
  • Backcountry camp.- Mount Islip Loop Trail
  • Islip Ridge Trail.- Mount Islip Loop Trail
  • Looking down Islip Ridge Trail toward Crystal Basin.- Mount Islip Loop Trail
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Great views. Solitude. Wildflowers. Groomed trails.
Cons: 
Wildfire burn zones. Little to no shade.
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Region:
San Gabriel + San Bernardino Mountains, CA
Congestion: 
Low
Pets allowed: 
Yes
Net Elevation Gain: 
2,516.00 ft (766.88 m)
Parking Pass: 
Southern California USFS Adventure Pass
Preferable Season(s):
Spring, Summer, Fall
Total Distance: 
7.35 mi (11.83 km)
Trail type: 
Loop
Trailhead Elevation: 
5,827.00 ft (1,776.07 m)
Current Local Weather:
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Hike Description

Hike Description

Contributor

The Mount Islip Loop Trail makes for a perfect day hike in solitude close to Los Angeles. The trail starts and finishes in the Crystal Lake Recreation Area of the Angeles National Forest. The loop trail is a combination of three trails, the Windy Gap Trail, the Islip Ridge Trail, and the Big Cienega Trail. It starts and ends at the Windy Gap Trailhead. The Windy Gap Trail takes you up 1,740 feet over 2.5 miles to Windy Gap, a pass along the San Gabriel crest. During the ascent through the Crystal Lake Basin you will see remnants of the 2002 Curve Fire that devastated the area. The Forest Service has since built nice new facilities, campgrounds, and restrooms. Though volunteers keep the trails maintained and well groomed, this part of the Angeles National Forest still remains heavily scarred.

At the gap you'll find a junction with the Pacific Crest Trail that runs from Mexico to Canada. From here you ascend the Islip Ridge Trail west to the summit of Mount Islip. On the summit there are ruins of an old stone cabin that was built to house the fire lookout that was stationed on the summit in the past. From the summit there are panoramic views of Azusa Canyon to the south and the distant Mojave Desert to the north. After descending down the Islip Ridge Trail you will join up with the Big Cienega Trail, which will lead you back to the Windy Gap Trail for your exit. Here you will again notice the scars left from the 2002 Curve Fire, a reminder that this landscape is ever-changing.

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Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(24 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(47 within a 30 mile radius)

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