California State Route 39 no longer connects with Highway 2, as 39 has not been maintained for several years after numerous landslides. Winter conditions can cause road closures on 39, so be sure to check before traveling to the Crystal Lake Recreation Area.
Features: Birding — Fall Colors — Views — Wildflowers — Wildlife
There are some sections of loose rock, but overall the trail is in very good condition.
To access the Mount Islip Trail you first need to ascend the Windy Gap Trail
up 1,740 feet over 2.5 miles to Windy Gap, a pass along the Islip Ridge. When you reach Windy Gap there is a junction with the Pacific Crest Trail that runs from Mexico to Canada. You'll want to continue straight along the Windy Gap Trail
to the junction with Mount Islip Trail.
From this junction, you want to ascend west (left) on the Islip Ridge Trail
to the summit of Mount Islip. After reaching the summit, you'll find ruins of an old stone cabin that was built to house the fire lookout that was once stationed on the summit. From Mount Islip summit, there are panoramic views of San Gabriel Canyon to the south and the Mojave Desert to the north.
After enjoying the summit and catching your breath, first begin your descent off the summit where you'll either continue on the Islip Ridge Trail
or descend back the way you came.
The Crystal Lake Basin provides beautiful 360-degree scenery of alpine flowers and various types of coniferous trees. Though here wildfire scars can be seen across the basin left over from the 2002 Curve Fire, a reminder that the San Gabriel Mountains landscape is ever-changing.