Xena was a grump that morning. She is not a morning dog so when I rush to get ready super early in the morning when it’s still dark outside, she is usually grumpy. That grumpy face dissipated though when we arrived at the Islip Saddle parking lot little after 7 am. Then she was super happy when my sister arrived.
The Mt Islip trailhead is across from the parking lot on the south side of the Hwy 2.
The hike started on Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) on an uphill and it continued on for a while. The trail was mostly shaded as it faced north.
It quickly revealed the stunning views of surrounding San Gabriel Mountains. When you reach this sign, you’ve hiked a mile and gained 569 feet. Stay on PCT and go toward Little Jimmy Trail Camp from this junction.
Next mile was easier with only 236 feet elevation gain. At the 2.1-mile mark, you will reach the Little Jimmy Campground on your right. I goofed and kept going until we reached a fork. We turned around and came back to the campground to find the trail to the peak.
Take the trail that goes through the campground. Soon, there will be a small wooden sign for Islip Peak. The peak is 1.2 miles from the sign.
Up to this point, the trail was moderately shaded. However, once we left the campground and continued our ascent, it was mostly exposed. The sun didn’t bother us much though since it was middle of November and the beauty of Mt Islip was just about to reveal itself to us. Turn after turn, I was wowed. Then, this view! This hike became my new favorite instantly! I could sit there all day…really.
A stunning view was waiting for us at every turn.
When you come to this old stone cabin which used to be a fire lookout at some point, you made it to the peak. It’s literally just around the corner.
After I set up a place for a lunch break,
we signed our names (including Xena’s) in the log.
We had the peak to ourselves for about 30 minutes which was a real treat. At one point, I caught Xena taking a summit snooze.
Enjoy the unparalleled 360-degree view from the summit. We were there early enough to find some shade but if you go in the middle of a day, there will be no shade so be prepared. After the break, go back down the way you came up.
Good to Know:
- Hike date: 11.13.16
- Length: 7 miles
- Elevation gain: 1,561 ft
- Mt Islip summit: 8,250 ft
- Trailhead: 34.356975, -117.850516
- Difficulty rating: Moderate
- National Forest Adventure Pass required for parking
- Vault toilet available at the parking lot