Photos and words by Chhun Tang
Mt. Islip is a peak I've had my eye on since summer and I hadn't gone before because it takes a while to get to. It's in the San Gabriel range near Mt. Williamson, a little ways west of Wrightwood. I figured new year's day would be as good a day as any to hike it. Turns out I was right. Traffic was really light and there were hardly any people on the trails.
The route I chose, started out in a wooded area near a campground. It continues shaded by the trees for a mile or so before it rises more noticeably and the views open up. You get a great view of the surrounding area facing south south west. It basically takes you up along the side until you reach the connecting Windy Gap trail. And yes, it was windy. The back side that faced the north had a decent amount of snow but was clear when I reached the top. The peak was pretty windy and cold but the views make it totally worth it. I had an almost 270 degree view of the surrounding areas and was even able to see Catalina. It was pretty spectacular and it was a fantastic way to spend new year's day.
I went for the shortest route because I was on the late side and the days are shorter this time of year. The trail was an out and back with a total of 6.8 miles. Parked just a little past Crystal Lake Cafe in the Crystal Lake Recreation area. Great part about this is that you get to see some cool bikes that ride up the canyon to stop at the cafe. I even bumped into Shinya Kimura and Ayu on my way out.
The view from the top facing south south west.
You can get there a few different ways: Angeles Crest Highway (SR39) from Azusa, Angeles Crest Highway (SR2) from Wrightwood, and the San Gabriel Canyon Road (SR2) from La Canada.