Island and Twin Lakes

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Desolation Wilderness

Island and Twin Lakes is a 7.1 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Pollock Pines, California that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, camping, nature trips, and backpacking and is best used from May until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

Distance: 7.1 miles Elevation Gain: 1,571 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dog friendly

backpacking

camping

hiking

nature trips

forest

lake

river

views

wild flowers

wildlife

bugs

rocky

scramble

snow

washed out

Possible winter road closures means you might have to park a bit further down the road to access trailhead. Extra parking is available along Wrights Lake and Wrights Lake Rd.

hiking
snow
7 days ago

Great trail with good views, the smell of fresh pine in the air, and a satisfying end destination. In Mid-May, the trail was covered with snow towards the end making it unable to really finish the trail but we definitely hope to be back in August.

hiking
rocky
6 months ago

Only went to the Twin Lakes. Late start and short days. Lakes are starting to freeze over. Still some snow in patches from recent light snow fall. Trail is pretty easy to follow as rock markers have been placed. Beautiful hike. Have layers as it getting chilly up there. First part of hike is on dirt but quickly changes to the usual Desolation rocks. Gentle elevation gain.

rocky
6 months ago

I enjoyed this trail very much. All of the lake along the way are super clear and some actually have small fish in them which appeared to be rainbow trout. It is very rocky about 60% of the hike, very easy to get off trail. I had to keep checking back on the map to find my way back to the trail. The best views were during the sunset which meant we had to hike back in the dark but it was very worth it.

hiking
rocky
scramble
6 months ago

hiking
rocky
6 months ago

Super fun trail that I found really easy to unintentionally veer off of. Sunscreen, hats or some sort of protection will be helpful, the trail is exposed most of the way.

hiking
rocky
7 months ago

Beautiful day hike with lots of changing scenery and lakes! We completed it in 3 hours and 45 minutes including about a 30 minute stop for lunch overlooking Twin Lakes. Absolutely breathtaking landscape, and really not a difficult hike at all. Highly recommend.

hiking
rocky
7 months ago

hiking
rocky
7 months ago

hiking
muddy
rocky
snow
8 months ago

8 months ago

Beautiful and no crowd. it was sunday did 2 nights backapcking.

hiking
rocky
8 months ago

hiking
8 months ago

Outstanding day hike or easy backpacking trip. 3.5 miles takes you over absolutely lovely terrain with lots of water and stepping stones and water falls, ending at a couple gorgeous lakes for swimming. The lakes are rimmed by interesting rocky peaks that you can scramble off trail. Not a hard hike but certainly a rewarding one.

hiking
9 months ago

This trail was rated "moderate" on this site a year ago, but I guess it's a "hard" now, but it's a moderate hike imo. The trail to Island Lake is easier to find late in the season compared to June and early July when there are still snow on the ground. Amazing trail, lots of water and still some wildflowers this late in the season, which is pretty awesome. Lots of campers this weekend at the lake, but I guess it's Labor Day weekend after all.

We went from Wright’s Lake to Enchanted Falls to Gertrude to Tyler Lake up over the ridge to Island Lake and over to Twin Lakes and back to Wright’s Lake. A lot of up & down. The scramble down to Island was scary for me but I made it wobble legs & all.

hiking
no shade
rocky
9 months ago

Over all it was an amazing hike and camping experience. My dogs loves it and had so much fun. There was a lot of people on the trail but all were very friendly. It may be a difficult backpacking trip for beginners. I’ll be differently be doing this hike again.

hiking
bugs
muddy
off trail
snow
9 months ago

hiking
9 months ago

The lakes are beautiful, and different in character from some of the other ones on the west side of the Crystal Range. Interesting (but relatively unobtrusive) gill netting project at Island Lake. They're trying to get rid of the introduced trout to help preserve the Sierra Nevada Yellow-legged Frog. See https://www.fs.usda.gov/nfs/11558/www/nepa/107278_FSPLT3_4053806.pdf

hiking
9 months ago

Great hike..amazing views..trail marked with rocks..pristine lakes at the top ..way down can be confusing but not a problem

hiking
10 months ago

This hike is phenomenal with lots of good views right from the start. It opens with a beautiful marshy meadow on either side of a crossing bridge. The trail has been marked by stones all the way to the end which are easier to follow coming back. Bring bug spray for the hoard of mosquitoes at Wright Lake. They go away during noon but become active at cooler times. This is definitely not a sunset hike as the return is west facing, so you'll have the sun in your face for at least half of the way back.

hiking
muddy
snow
10 months ago

Great day hike! Wrights lake campground/parking is still closed so we had to park down the road and walk in an extra ~mile. Not terrible but for the holiday weekend a little annoying. I’m not too sure why this hike is listed as “hard”. I’d say it’s moderate at best, and really only in a few sections. Hiked in on July 6 and there was still a decent amount of snow at the top, which made for a good amount of water on the hike up. The dog loved it!

hiking
Thu Nov 15 2018

The road to the trailhead for this hike is closed this time of year, so park when you get to the locked gate and then either walk on the road or take a loop trail around Wright’s Lake to find the start of the trail. It’s really beautiful this time of year, and not very busy. The trail is hard to follow at times, but you can keep your bearings by the prominent peaks and rock formations, plus the cairns, as you hike. Highly recommend!

hiking
Sun Nov 11 2018

What a hidden gem! This hike was a gorgeous trek through Desolation Wilderness across huge slabs of sparkling granite. At this time of year, the lakes were frozen, but so clear you could see through to the bottom. The views were spectacular even though it was a bit smoky due to a wildfire elsewhere in California. The trail can be difficult to keep track of, especially in the open granite areas. Keep an eye out for cairns to mark the way. While it wasn’t too strenuous, there was some loose talus and shale, making me wish I had my trekking poles on the way down. It is clear that this area is popular in the peak season, so we were happy to have the trail almost entirely to ourselves!

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