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Big Cienega Trail

 2 votes

1.7 Miles 2.8 Kilometers

 

75% 

Runnable

Singletrack

0' 0 m

Ascent

-970' -296 m

Descent

7,558' 2,304 m

High

6,588' 2,008 m

Low

11%

Avg Grade (6°)

24%

Max Grade (13°)

All Clear

39 days agoUpdate

A nice descent (or ascent) through the burn scars below Mt. Islip.

Taylor Reilly

Overview

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
Dogs: Leashed

Runner Notes

There are some sections of loose rock, but overall the trail is in very good condition. This is a fun descent and a good trail to pick up some speed as the trail widens and the terrain is flatter.

Description

You can reach the Big Cienega Trail two different ways. The first is to run the Windy Gap Trail 1.1 miles to the junction of Forest Road 3N07 where the Big Cienega Trail also joins. If you want to head uphill on the Big Cienega Trail from here, turn left. Though, if you want to run the Mount Islip Loop, and the Big Cienega Trail from the other direction, continue straight on the Windy Gap Trail.

When you reach Windy Gap, you need to continue northwest on the Windy Gap Trail until you reach the junction with the Mount Islip Trail. From this junction, you'll ascend west (left) on the Islip Ridge Trail to the summit of Mount Islip. After enjoying the summit and catching your breath, first begin your short descent south where you'll join up with the Islip Ridge Trail. From here, head west (right) down the Islip Ridge Trail.

After descending down the Islip Ridge Trail, you'll finally join up with the Big Cienega Trail, which will lead you back to the Windy Gap Trail. Along the way, you'll have a clear view back east across the Crystal Lake Basin to Windy Gap along the Islip Ridge. This section of trail has very evident fire scars from the 2002 Curve Fire making the trail hard to follow, as the terrain is heavily eroded and bare of vegetation. When you reach the junction with Forest Road 3N07, turn west (right) on the Windy Gap Trail, and continue on the homestretch downhill to the trailhead.

Flora & Fauna

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.

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  4.5 from 2 votes

#3732

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  4.5 from 2 votes
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Rankings

#411

in California

#3,732

Overall
15 Views Last Month
139 Since Jul 22, 2015
Easy/Intermediate Easy/Intermediate

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Conditions


All Clear 39 days ago

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