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Crystal Lake, Mount Islip, Windy Gap Loop

HARD 14 reviews
#112 of 213 trails in

Crystal Lake, Mount Islip, Windy Gap Loop is a 10.1 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Valyermo, California that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, nature trips, and bird watching and is best used from March until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

Distance: 10.1 miles Elevation Gain: 2,828 feet Route Type: Loop

dog friendly

hiking

nature trips

bird watching

forest

lake

views

snow

hiking
bugs
over grown
1 month ago

Completed this loop in reverse starting at Windy Gap. It took a little over hrs to get to the top of Mt Islip via Windy Gap, it's shorter and steeper than the ridge trail, and also more shaded. The second half of the loop felt much longer due to the gradual descent. With a short break at the top the whole trip took 5:15 hrs to complete. The trail is well maintained and well marked. there are some downed trees blocking the path and the bushes are overgrown in some sections. Don't forget to bring a hat and bug spray. It's a nice moderate hike that I would do again.

Overall the trail is in good condition. There are spots were the brush is over grown and there are several downed trees between the trailhead and the campground. I would suggest starting up Islip Ridge and coming back down from Windy Gap. There’s not a lot of shade between Windy Gap and the campground.

hiking
1 month ago

Nice trail. Mostly well maintained but there are several downed trees you have to traverse. Lots of bugs but not the worse I’ve seen. The views get much better the further you go. Saw a baby rattler and we both gave each other a nice scare. Also saw some people dump an entire trailer with a boat in the parking lot. Wish I had got the license plates.

hiking
over grown
snow
4 months ago

hiking
blowdown
snow
4 months ago

Hiked the Islip ridge trail to Mt. Islip today with the intention of coming down via Windy Gap. After a short break on the summit I headed down toward Windy Gap. As I dropped down the ridge the snow drifts got quite large and where the trail moves over onto the North side the trail could not be found and with a pitch of about 70 degrees I decided to turn back and go down via Big Cienaga. I did have micro spikes but you really need an ice axe and crampons to move through this area safely. If you want to hike up to Islip I recommend either going up the Islip ridge trail or Big Cienaga, both are virtually snow free till about 7,500 ft. and after that the snow patches you’ll cross are very manageable. With the amount of Snow on the summit I would imagine it will be there for at least another month or so.

Gorgeous hike that started at 7:30am from the large parking lot within the campground. We must have been the only hikers within weeks to reach the Mt. Islip peak. A lot of snow and ice made it challenging to climb and see the trail. We had to trail blaze in many instances, led by the app, but this made the hike a fun adventure. The ascent - a cloudless beginning afforded us expansive views of the LA basin. We saw snow immediately above the fire road crossing above the campground. The snow was crunchy and icy in many places and the trail disappeared the last few hundred yards from the Windy Gap saddle; we should have worn our crampons. No trail was visible from the saddle all the way to the peak. Snow drift had completely covered the top and north side of the mountain. Water proof boots were all we needed to traverse the mountain ridge all the way to Mt. Islip. The peak was covered in snow and completely buried the small building at the top. Descent - clouds or fog quickly rolled in as we descended along the ridge towards Clear Lake. With no trail in site because of snow cover we used the app to guide us down the ridge for a few miles until the ground became visible. The rest of the descent was a very nice narrow trail that has seen minimal foot traffic but is clearly visible. Clear Lake was very anticlimactic and the final 1/2 miles to the car are on a paved road through the campground. Overall, this is a beautiful hike for any time of year where you probably won’t see crowds and be rewarded with incredible views of the LA basin and Mojave desert atop Mt. Islip. There are a lot of fallen trees over the trail - most likely from the latest storms. There is also a cafe and plenty of restrooms available.

Friday, March 09, 2018

Hiked 3/5/18 After a fresh snowfall I decided to do this trail. However I did this as a loop. Ascending the Islip Ridge trail, and then descended via Windy Gap Trail (which I highly recommend). I can’t say for sure how strenuous this is without snow, but it was pretty intense as this was my first real snow hike. Poles and Crampons were a definite must as the last couple miles were completely covered. The views were amazing and the sky was so clear I could see all the way past Catalina to San Clemente!

hiking
8 months ago

hiking
Monday, August 13, 2018

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