“Popular trail to the summit of Mt. Islip from Little Jimmy Campground.
— Taylor Reilly
California State Route 39 no longer connects with Highway 2. Winter conditions can cause road closures on 39, so be sure to check before traveling to the Crystal Lake Recreation Area.
Birding — Fall Colors — Views — Wildflowers — Wildlife
Adventure Pass required to park at the Windy Gap Trailhead and the Islip Saddle Trailhead.
There are some sections of loose rock, but overall the trail is in very good condition.
The Mt. Islip Trail starts at the west end of Little Jimmy Campground and climbs past a group site then makes a bend heading east to a junction with a spur trail down to Windy Gap. The trail continues up to the ridge then heads west to a junction with the Islip Ridge Trail #9W08
From this junction, stay right and continue to the summit of Mt. 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 Mt. 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, descend the way you came or you can make a loop run with the Islip Ridge Trail #9W08
, Big Cienega Trail #9W07
and Windy Gap Trail #9W06
The Crystal Lake Basin provides beautiful 360-degree scenery of alpine flowers while Jeffrey, sugar pines, white fir provide shade along the route. 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.