Hike Mt. Islip

8.5 Miles Round Trip - 2450 ft gain - Loop Trail

Crystal Lake Campground - Search Nearby - Added by Julie & Brian

​We love this trail for it’s quiet seclusion and rugged landscape. In addition, you are rewarded with the opportunity to explore the ruins of an old stone cabin that was used by the fire lookout at the summit.

There are several route options for summiting Mt. Islip, but we enjoy doing it as a loop from Crystal Lake.

To begin your hike, park at the visitor's center, and walk north along the Windy Ridge trail through the campground for about a half mile until you reach the intersection with the Mt. Hawkins Truck Trail. Just after the junction the trail will split, and here you will want to take a left and head up the Big Cienega Trail for about 1.8 miles. At this point you will come across the Islip Ridge Trail, and make a right. This section of trail is quite beautiful as you make your way across a craggy ridge toward the peak. Keep your eyes peeled through this section of trail, as both of the times we did  this hike we encountered a heard of bighorn sheep in this area! After about a mile, head left at the junction that is marked for Mt. Islip. This will take you up a few switchbacks, and finally to the summit!

We always enjoy a great view after working hard to bag a peak, and Mt. Islip does not disappoint. To the north, you can see the Devil's Punchbowl, and out into the high desert, while looking south you can see Saddleback Mountain and the coast on a clear day. Plus you can explore the ruins of an old stone cabin and fire lookout that was used up until the 1930s.

When you are ready to head back, retrace your steps to the Islip Ridge Trail, however, this time take a left toward Windy Gap. At the Windy Gap Junction, head right down the Windy Gap Trail for about 1.4 miles until you reach the Big Cienega Trail. This will complete your loop, and from here you can retrace your steps back to your car by taking a right and heading down the last mile of the trail.

The Crystal Lake Cafe across from the visitor's center is a great place to refuel with a burger and beer after your trek.  


Dog Friendly
Easy Parking


8.5 Miles
2450 ft elevation gain
Loop Trail

Stay Nearby

Azusa, California

Jackson Flats

Valyermo, California

Mountain Oak

Valyermo, California

Lake Campground

Pearblossom, California

Bandido Group Campground

Nearby Adventures

Hiking to Lewis Falls

1 Miles Round Trip - 250 ft gain

Hike Mt Williamson from Islip Saddle

4.1 Miles Round Trip - 1500 ft gain

Backpack Mt. Williamson from Shepherd Pass

20 Miles Round Trip - 8000 ft gain

More Nearby Adventures


Leave a Review

Overall rating:  Rate this Adventure

Have you done this adventure? Be the first to leave a review!