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Pets allowed
Yes
Elevation Gain
?
Trail type
There-and-back
Distance
4.00 mi (6.44 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

Just 2 miles in from the trailhead, Island Lake is a perfect location to set up base camp for day activities around Fall Creek Mountain like fishing, swimming, cliff jumping, or even dispersed camping for those opting to stay longer than the daylight has to offer. Island Lake is a great spot to bring your family and those looking for a light approach because the journey there is short and sweet with minimal effort needed. Adventures don't end at Island Lake, as the trail continues onto Penner Lake along with other small lakes and ponds surrounded by granite peaks for those wishing to see more of what the trail system has to offer.

Island Lake may be reached via the end of the Round Lake Trail from the trailhead before merging into Crooked Lakes Trail. Round Lake Trail will offer Carr Lake and Feeley Lake, with views of Fall Creek Mountain on your left, as you meander your way through a moss covered forest set upon sloping granite. From the trailhead, Carr Lake and it's campground will be located almost immediately on your right. After a quick 0.2 miles in you will reach the base and dam for Feeley Lake.

Smaller ponds and lakes are frequent along the trail system, many without names. Round Lake Trail will transition into Crooked Lakes Trail just as you reach the southwestern tip of Island Lake. Be prepared to stop, as the beginning of Crooked Lakes will greet you with a beautiful 360-degree view with Fall Creek Mountain, Feeley Lake, Island Lake, and even the Grouse Ridge Fire Lookout all in line of sight. You will have the option to circle Island Lake from this location: Heading left north will bring you to the peninsula of Island Lake, whereas some opt to camp on the south side looking across Island Lake at Fall Creek Mountain with the option to jump off of higher lakeside rocks. North Side has a medium-sized granite peninsula with great lake and island access for swimming. Stay left (north side) for easier access to Crooked Lakes, Penner Lake and beyond.

During summer you will encounter a moderate amount of trail friends and campers, but the area is large enough to find seclusion during weekends with little effort. Expect to have lakeside visitors if you are out on the peninsula; it is easier to swim to the islands due to the shorter distance, and the trail is the most traveled. Many visitors enjoy bringing inflatable rafts and tubes for lake activities. Expect to see people fishing around the area.

Your feet will thank you, as you will find no scree fields here. The trails are well maintained and relatively flat with only 200 feet in drop and rise. The trail itself is mostly dirt and forest-floor mulch and pine needles with the occasional downed tree or boulder to hop over. 

Dogs are welcomed on this trail system. Bringing dog booties may be recommended for water-friendly dogs with softer paws, as the lakeside at Island Lake is completely covered in (generally smooth) stone that can be slippery and abrasive if the pup has not built up a tolerance layer of callouses. 

Note that the dirt road on the last leg of the drive to the trailhead is very dusty with rocks that could be harmful to sedans and tires. SUV's are better suited. Four-wheel drive is not necessary, but high-clearance vehicles are useful.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Summer
Fall

Congestion

Moderate

Parking Pass

Carr Campground/ Dispersed Overnight Fee

Pros

Multiple lakes. Swimming. Views. Cliff jumping.

Cons

Summer crowds.

Trailhead Elevation

6,800.00 ft (2,072.64 m)

Net Elevation Gain

200.00 ft (60.96 m)

Address

Forest Rte 17
Nevada City, CA 95959
United States

Features

Backcountry camping
Big vistas
Fishing

Location

Field Guide

Nearby Adventures

Lake Tahoe + Northern Sierra, California
Lake Tahoe + Northern Sierra, California

Nearby Lodging + Camping

North Fork of the American River
Lake Tahoe + Northern Sierra, California
Lake Tahoe + Northern Sierra, California

Comments

Bear canisters not required but a good idea in this region.
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