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Current Weather: Fair, 60.0°F

Bison are wild animals.
Bison have a highly developed sense of smell, and good hearing. They will charge when cornered or if they sense danger to their calves. Bulls can run faster than you can - up to 30 mph! The best advice with dealing with the Island's roughly 200 bison is to stay away from them.

Poison oak is common in Catalina's canyons and creek-beds. If you brush against it stop immediately and wash your skin with soap. Don't scratch! That only spreads it to your hands and then other parts of your body. The rash is sometimes difficult to acquire the first time, but subsequent reactions require less contact and tend to be much more severe.

Rattlesnakes can be seen all year. However they are more commonly seen April through October. It's rare to see or hear a snake along trails and roads, but it's worth it to be careful. Snakes are cold-blooded, so in the heat of the day they're often in the shade of tall grass, and at night they will sometimes try to absorb the heat off the blacktop roads. And even the babies are poisonous.

If you, or someone in your group get bitten by a rattlesnake, quick medical attention is critical. Any bite from a rattlesnake should be regarded as a life-threatening medical emergency that requires immediate treatment from trained medical professionals.

For more information and in an emergency call the California Poison Control System at (800) 222-1222 or 911.

Heat. Make sure to carry plenty of water. Most of the Island's streams have dried up by May, and the daytime summer temperature can be over 90 degrees.

No smoking or open fires in the interior except at designated campgrounds per Los Angeles County Fire Department ordinances. This is important to stress due to the serious fire danger in Catalina's interior, and the potentially long response times by fire fighters to a remote scene. This applies to all Conservancy employees, island residents and visitors.

The designated areas in the interior where smoking is permitted include: Two Harbors, established campgrounds (with the exception of boat-in sites), leased coves, Haypress, Middle Ranch and Airport in the Sky. These are depicted in this printable map (PDF).

Southern Pacific rattlesnake (Crotalus viridis)

Emergency phones are located at Middle Ranch, Airport in the Sky, Little Harbor, and Two Harbors.

In just over one year Catalina experienced four wildland fires due to careless use of cigarettes and matches or illegal campfires. Fortunately each fire was reported and responded to quickly. Had one of these fires gotten out of hand, it could have been an ecological disaster.

We ask that all people hiking, driving, riding bikes or riding horses in the interior help us keep the chance of fire to a minimum. In addition to not smoking yourself, if you see someone doing so, politely tell them of the danger, ask that they extinguish their cigarette, cigar, pipe, etc., and let them know where acceptable smoking areas are.

The Conservancy will be working with Los Angeles County Fire Department personnel to draft a Fire Management Plan to address the concerns of wildland fires on the island and the potential impact of fire on our natural ecosystems and human dwellings.

Fire breaks such as the one seen to the right are located near Avalon and the Two Harbors area to prevent fires from spreading into occupied areas. These fire breaks are NOT hiking trails or roads. In fact, it is against Los Angeles County ordinances to hike or drive on them so please stay on the designated trails.

Camping reservations and permits are required. Click here for more information on how to book your camping trip to Catalina and obtain a camping permit.

Fire breaks are not for hiking or biking
Hiking permits are required. They are free of charge, and available the day of your hike.
  1. Hiking permits are issued for day hiking only and not for overnight camping or backpacking.
  2. Please use trash containers provided. When none is available, please carry refuse out with you. Section No. 374B of the California Penal Code covers the anti-littering act and its enforcement.
  3. Tree cutting or gathering of wood, plant collecting, or in any way removing or defacing any natural or man made feature, including archaeological sites, is prohibited.
  4. Do not disturb wildlife. All plants and animals are protected. Many are found only in Catalina and are rare and/or endangered species.
  5. No hiker shall carry firearms, traps or other hunting equipment while in the interior of Catalina.
  6. Hitchhiking is prohibited.
  7. Carry a signed permit while hiking.
  8. Dogs are welcome to hike with you into Catalina's wildlands. They must be on a leash at all times and pet waste must be collected and carried out. It is recommended that your pet be in good health and current on all vaccinations. Pets are allowed in these campgrounds only: Black Jack, Little Harbor and Parson’s Landing. Dogs are not allowed on any Catalina Island beaches, according to the Los Angeles County §17.12.290 & 17.12.300.
  9. Adhere to all regulations that govern your travel in the back country. As a visitor you have the responsibility to leave the natural environment free of any permanent imprints.
  10. Stay on roads and trails.
Click here for more information about hiking permits and trails.

Bike Passes into the Interior are a benefit of Conservancy Membership. Click here for more information about Conservancy Membership Benefits.

When you are ready to go cycling, bring your Mountain bike with big knobby, all-terrain tires (no hybrids) and hard-shelled bike helmets that meet safety standards with you to the Conservancy House in Avalon, the Airport in the Sky, or Two Harbors Visitors Center to pick up your Freewheeler Bike Pass for yourself or your family. Make sure to take plenty of drinking water on your ride into the interior.

Wildland Weeds Dispersal. Recreational use of the Island, even through activities as innocuous as hiking or biking, can contribute to the spread of wildland weeds on the Island.

The spread of existing weeds into new areas of the island increases the costs of our wildland weed control program by requiring Conservancy personnel to cover larger areas, involve greater numbers of volunteers, and use more herbicides to control the spread.

We ask that all persons using trails on the island carefully check their clothing for the seeds of non-native plants. The tread on the soles of hiking boots and bike tires should also be inspected as seeds often are carried there encrusted in mud or dirt. Remove the seeds and dispose of them properly (in your campfires, in trash cans or other secure areas) before moving on.

The introduction of new weed species to the island is an extremely significant issue of prevention. It is especially important that campers and hikers check their clothing, boots and camping gear prior to arriving on the island. During your last outing, seeds may have attached to your clothing or equipment, or be carried in your tent or packs. An inspection prior to departure from the mainland reduces the chance that such non-native plant ("wildland weed") seeds will be introduced from your previous hiking, biking or camping locations to Catalina. By preventing new weeds from arriving, we reduce the costs associated with future weed control and help "preserve native plants and animals" which is the Conservancy's primary mission.

Please help us by doing the following before you leave the mainland for Catalina, and when you travel from location to location on the island: Remove all plant seeds attached to clothing, especially socks and boots. Dispose of these seeds properly (in campfire, in trash can, etc.) Clean the tread on the bottom of your hiking boots or shoes, or bike tires, so no weed seeds are carried in the embedded mud or dirt.

Check your sleeping bag, packs, tent and other gear for plant seeds that may be in them. It is very common for weed seeds to be transported inside tents from one location to another.

Assumption of Risk and Waiver of Liability & Hiking Rules and Regulations

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