Crystal Lake, Mount Islip, and Windy Gap Loop Hike

Difficulty
This reflects the 10Adventures difficulty rating for each route. We aim to keep ratings consistent across regions.
Hard
Duration
This reflects the estimated time the majority of users will take on this trail. If you are slower, add time to the top-end figure. If you are fast, then you may complete this route faster than this time range.
5.5-7.5h
Distance
This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
16.3 km
Elevation
This reflects the total elevation gained throughout this route as measured by the GPS file. This includes all ascents and descents, and is higher than what is quoted in most route guides, which simply measure the distance between the starting-point and high-point of the route.
862 m
User Ratings
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Directions to Trailhead

The Crystal Lake, Mount Islip, and Windy Gap Loop Hike is a challenging adventure in the Angeles National Forest that leads through some rugged terrain to reach a scenic summit. While out on the trail, you will round the shores of Crystal Lake and push up a steep ridge, before arriving at the top of Mount Islip for some incredible SoCal views. This hike is best done in the window between March and October; however, if you do plan on tackling Mount Islip in the winter, be sure to bring microspikes/crampons and hiking poles for stability.

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Route Description for Crystal Lake, Mount Islip, and Windy Gap Loop Hike

For intrepid adventurers who want to push through a tough climb for some amazingly scenic Southern California views, the Crystal Lake, Mount Islip, and Windy Gap Loop Hike is a great option to explore. Be sure to display your adventure pass prior to starting your hike.

Setting out from the trailhead, you will first skirt around the shores of Crystal Lake to the southwest, before turning to the north on a climb up a ridge with sweeping views of the surrounding area.

After trudging your way uphill, you will arrive at the summit of Mount Islip, where you will be able to take in the natural beauty of the surrounding mountains and hills. From here, you will continue to the east, before carefully descending the mountainside and looping around to the southwest on the return to Crystal Lake.

If you are after a slightly easier adventure in the same area, why not check out the Windy Gap, Mount Islip, and Big Cienega Trail close by.

Getting to the Crystal Lake, Mount Islip, and Windy Gap Loop Hike Trailhead

The trailhead for the Crystal Lake, Mount Islip, and Windy Gap Loop Hike can be found at the Islip Wawona Trailhead, just off Crystal Lake Road.

Route Information

  • Backcountry Campground

    Deer Spring, Crystal Lake

  • When to do

    March-October

  • Pets allowed

    Yes - On Leash

  • Family friendly

    No

  • Route Signage

    Average

  • Crowd Levels

    Moderate

  • Route Type

    Circuit

Crystal Lake, Mount Islip, and Windy Gap Loop Hike Elevation Graph

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Crystal Lake, Mount Islip, and Windy Gap Loop Hike Reviews

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