Lake · Views · Wildlife
No campfires outside of campgrounds.
Need to Know
Adventure Pass required to park at the trailhead.
To reach the trailhead, take Hwy. 39 from Azusa 22 miles and turn right into the Crystal Lake Recreation Area. Proceed another mile and turn left onto the one-way road to the lake. After 0.1 miles, turn left into the Lower Crystal Lake Parking Lot.
The trail starts from the southwest corner of the lot. It drops slightly then begins a steady climb up around a rock field before reaching a saddle between Crystal Lake and the dry lake to the south. From there, it climbs to the south through shadeless chaparral of ceanothus and oaks then makes a large bend heading northwest to meet the main ridge. At 1.5 miles, the trail passes through some welcome shade from pine trees. The section of trail from the parking lot to the main ridge is sometimes referred to as the "Wawona Cutoff". The area was burned in the Curve Fire (2002) and the trail passes in and out of the fire footprint.
The trail continues to climb north up the ridge as the vegetation changes to an open forest of Jeffrey and sugar pines with manzanita carpeting the ground. At 3.9 miles, the junction with the Big Cienega Trail #9W07
is reached. Those not looking to reach the summit and wishing to do a loop could return back to Crystal Lake at this point by taking the Big Cienega Trail #9W07
, Windy Gap Trail #9W06
, South Hawkins Road #3N07
and Lost Ridge Trail #9W25
back to the lake.
The Islip Ridge Trail, however, continues up the ridge for another 0.8 miles ending at the junction with the Mt. Islip Trail #9W05
. The summit is reached by turning left going another 0.2 miles to the top.
Flora & Fauna
A good place to see Nelson bighorn sheep. Jeffrey, sugar, limber pines, and white fir offer shade at higher elevation. Bigcone spruce and oaks offer spotty shade on lower trail. Lots of ceanothus with some manzanita and chinquapin higher up.
Shared By: Alan Coles