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Island and Twin Lakes

MODERATE 210 reviews
#5 of 55 trails in

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
rocky
1 day ago

hiking
muddy
rocky
snow
14 days ago

17 days ago

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

hiking
rocky
23 days ago

hiking
24 days 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
1 month 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
1 month 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
2 months ago

hiking
2 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
2 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
2 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
3 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
10 months ago

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
11 months ago

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!

backpacking
Saturday, September 08, 2018

This is a perfect weekender from the Bay Area. Parking lot is at the end of Wrights Lake Road. The lot has a bathroom and dumpsters, but no bear boxes. The lot is relatively small (~20 spots) and is popular for day hikers, so get there early to avoid a full lot! Strava clocked in at ~4mi each direction. Elevation gain on the hike in is ~1200 ft. There are a few great camp sites along the Twin Lakes and then one great one at the east end of Island Lake. We found it tough to find prime real estate anywhere along the water at Island Lake - most of the flatter areas are a ways back from the lake. Sunset through the canyon facing the Twin Lakes was spectacular. Trail can be hard to follow along the granite and also hard to follow between the Twin Lakes and Island Lake! We scrambled up Mt Price from our campsite at Island Lake (2.5 mi, 800 ft). If you plan to do this, look for the break in between peak of Price and the peak directly to the right. Aim for that break by picking a route along the climber’s right. Staying right is a much more accessible path (larger rocks to scramble up and takes you to the break in between peaks where you can see over the other side of the range and look down on Aloha). We went straight up the face which was a terrible route - a ton of small shifting rock which sends you sliding and some impassable areas.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Great hike. My 5 yr old was able to do it all by himself no problem.

hiking
Monday, July 30, 2018

Nice mix of terrain but not much shade and can get hot, lakes and creek are nice place to cool off. On my trip to Island Lake we didn't see a lot of places to easily relax by the lake but we didn't explore all around the lake either. As others have stated, picking up the trail on the granite sections may be more difficult for newer hikers.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Fantastic hike. I recommend for experienced hikers only.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

This was a really beautiful hike but I thought the trail could have been market better. We somehow veered left somewhere on the tail and ended up very lost and had to climb up a lot of rocks to get back to the trail. If you don’t get lost, this trail is great and the lake at the top is very refreshing on a warm day!

hiking
Thursday, July 19, 2018

I went back to hike this trail the second time this summer and there are more wildflowers past Twin Lakes due to snow melt. The small ponds/giant puddles are fully evaporated by now, making is easier to hike. The path up to Island Lakes is difficult to find, but once you see the trail, it's all good from there!

backpacking
Thursday, July 12, 2018

Backpacked to Island Lake July 6-8 and loved it. The area is super beautiful and is only a 3-4 mile hike from the trailhead. One day we did a day hike up to Mount Price and get a look at Lake Aloha. Overall a great place for a low mileage backpacking trip! Here is my full report with pics: https://backpackersreview.wordpress.com/trip-reports/desolation-wilderness-twin-lakes/

backpacking
Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Backpacked in on the 3rd and out on the 5th. Wrights Lake Road is now open again for access, so you don't need to go through Ice House Road. it's a much shorter drive to and from US50 from Wrights Lake Road to the trailhead. The trail is pretty clearly marked, and parts where it wasn't, we went ahead and rebuilt some of the cairns that had appeared to have fallen apart. When you get closer to the lake, there are 2 paths that will take you on either side of the lake. Do not attempt to go around the lake, since there are unstable boulders and no clearly defined path. Instead, go back to the area near the shallow water fall just below the lake, and go in either direction, you should be able to find the trails easily from this point. I brought my ultralight fishing gear and caught a lot of brook trout. Luckily the fishing was good because we had left a few packs of food at home so we were a bit short. There wasn't much in the way of wildlife up there, but we saw some marmots and chipmunks. The wind up there was pretty bad over the few days, but otherwise it was a beautiful, relaxing time at this less populated lake in Desolation Wilderness.

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