Just an hour from downtown Los Angeles, this moderate route is a favorite with dayhikers and is used as a jumping-off point for a multi-day trip in the central San Gabriels. Start at a large parking area off the Angeles Crest Highway at the Islip Saddle (National Forest Adventure Pass required). Cross the road and begin climbing southeast on the well-graded trail. You’ll wind through fir and pine forests to a fire-road crossing and the well-established Little Jimmy Campground. A reliable, year-round spring just a few hundred yards from the campground makes it a popular spot for overnighters headed east toward Mount Baden-Powell.
From the campground, the trail loops north and west past a few more secluded campsites before dipping over a ridge for the first trailside views of the Yerba Santa Amphitheater, Pine Flats, and the Crystal Lake Recreation Area. The trail follows a ridge above the basin for about 0.5 mile before a sharp switchback that heads east for the final approach to the 8,250-foot summit of Mount Islip (pronounced eye-slip). You’ll pass an old outbuilding—living quarters for old-time fire lookouts—before landing atop the sharp peak, which offers panoramic views of the San Gabriels and, on clear days, the ocean. Follow the same route back to the trailhead.
-Mapped by Casey Schreiner