Windy Gap, Mount Islip, and Big Cienega Trail

Difficulty
This reflects the 10Adventures difficulty rating for each route. We aim to keep ratings consistent across regions.
Moderate
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.
4-5.5h
Distance
This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
10.5 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.
693 m
User Ratings
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Directions to Trailhead

The Windy Gap, Mount Islip, and Big Cienega Trail is a rough and rocky trail in Angeles National Forest that traverses a rugged summit for amazing views. While out on the trail, you will climb uphill to the Windy Gap and track west to reach the stunning viewpoint atop Mount Islip, before a downhill return along the Big Cienega Trail. Microspikes/crampons and hiking poles will be needed if you plan on completing this trail during the colder months when ice and snow will be present along the trail.

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Route Description for Windy Gap, Mount Islip, and Big Cienega Trail

For those who want to take in the rugged and mountainous beauty of Southern California, the Windy Gap, Mount Islip, and Big Cienega Trail will make for a fun day on the trails. Make sure to display your adventure pass in your car prior to beginning your hike. For a longer and more challenging adventure in the same area, be sure to check out the Crystal Lake, Mount Islip, and Windy Gap Loop Hike.

Setting out from the trailhead at the Crystal Lake Campground, you will head north through some scattered tree cover, before pushing uphill to reach the Windy Gap. Here, the trail will turn to the west and take you slightly further uphill to the summit of Mount Islip, where you can stare out at the sprawling landscape before you.

Descending to the southwest, you will eventually meet up with the Big Cienega Trail and follow it to the left in order to begin a descent just below the ridge. From here, you will meet up with your original path and continue downhill to return to your starting point.

Getting to the Windy Gap, Mount Islip, and Big Cienega Trail Trailhead

The trailhead for the Windy Gap, Mount Islip, and Big Cienega Trail can be found at the Crystal Lake Campground at the end of Crystal Lake Road.

Route Information

  • Backcountry Campground

    Crystal Lake Campground

  • When to do

    March-October

  • Pets allowed

    Yes - On Leash

  • Family friendly

    Older Children only

  • Route Signage

    Average

  • Crowd Levels

    Moderate

  • Route Type

    Lollipop

Windy Gap, Mount Islip, and Big Cienega Trail Elevation Graph

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Windy Gap, Mount Islip, and Big Cienega Trail Reviews

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