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Angeles National Forest: Hiking Trails

Islip Saddle to Little Jimmy and Mount Islip

Mt. Islip (pronounced eye-slip) affords spectacular views over the San Gabriel Valley to the south and clear to the ocean, if the air is clear. For a good view of the valley areas, a smog-free day is best. The reason for the good view in all directions is that the summit is not only high (8250 feet elevation), but is a fairly sharp peak. There used to be a Forest Service fire lookout tower on the top. Remains of a small cabin used by the lookout for living quarters may be seen just below the top. One of the earliest two-way radios used by the Forest Service was located at this lookout for fire reporting during the 1930's. Forty years ago, there were many more lookouts on various peaks of the Angeles National Forest, but the increase in smog decreased visibility so much that their effectiveness was greatly reduced, and they were closed.

The name Islip comes from George Islip who came from England to California during the latter part of the 1900's and settled in San Gabriel Canyon. Islip Canyon, a side canyon of San Gabriel along Highway 39 between Morris and San Gabriel Dams, was also named after him.

The name "Little Jimmy" derives from a newspaper cartoon strip character of national popularity many years ago. The artist and creator, James Swinnerton of New York, camped here for a couple of summers during the early years of this century to regain his health. It used to be known as Gooseberry Spring, because of the nearby gooseberry bushes.

To continue on to Mt. Islip, follow the trail at the southwest edge of the camp area another mile and a quarter through more forest, and with fine views of the Crystal Lake Area, to the summit.


Follow Angeles Crest Highway to Islip Saddle (about 1 mile east of the tunnels). Park there and follow the Pacific Crest Trail up an easy grade 2.1 miles to Little Jimmy Campground, a favorite overnight stop for backpackers. A National Forest Adventure Pass is required for your vehicle while parked in this area. Water is available at Little Jimmy Spring, one-fourth mile by trail southeast of the campsite. Water from this spring should be treated before using.

Distance: 6.1 miles round trip
Elevation gain: 1,250 feet
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Topo map: Crystal Lake

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These items are historical in scope and are intended for educational purposes only; they are not meant as an aid for travel planning.
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