Please note that wildlife on Catalina Island, as in all wildlands,
can cause serious injury and even death. Please do not approach
or harass wildlife and always maintain a safe distance.
CAUTIONSBison are wild animals. Bison are large wild animals that can cause serious injury and even death. They can accelerate quickly to 35 mph and jump over 6 feet. Never approach, touch or attempt to feed bison. If you feel threatened, identify an escape route. Place a large object between you and the bison (tree, rock, vehicle), and give the bison a path to avoid you. Never box in a bison with people being both in front and behind it.
Poison oak is common in Catalina's canyons and creek-beds. Staying on established trails and wearing long pants and long-sleeve shirts are the best defenses. If you brush against poson oak, wash the affected area as soon as possible with a poison oak soap (e.g. Tecnu) or soap and water. Remove all affected clothing directly to a washing machine. It is easy to re-spread the oils after your hike. Not everyone is allergic or allergic after their first exposure to poison oak.
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 baby rattlesnakes 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. In arid environments, the rule of thumb is you will need one gallon of water for a full day of hiking. It is always better to carry more than you think you will need.
RULES & REGULATIONS
Hiking permits are required.
Bike Passes into the Interior are a benefit of Conservancy Membership.
Stay on the trails and roads that are open for public use.
Don't create shortcuts or create new trails or access areas not open to the public.
Pack out everything that you pack in.
Everything includes: all wrappers, bottles, cans, apple cores, rinds, left over camp food, TOILET PAPER, cups, plates, bags and anything else.
Be polite to others on the trail.
Hikers and bikers stop and yield to horses riders. Bikers pull over and yield to hikers.
Respect the wildlife.
Do not feed wildlife, especially Island foxes, squirrels, ravens, deer and bison. Maintain a safe distance especially from bison. Dogs must be leashed at all times; pack out all dog waste. See Cautions and Policies.
Human waste and the backcountry.
Catalina is an arid environment. Toilet paper and human waste can take many years to decompose. Wherever possible, use established restrooms or port-a-potties. Do not urinate or defecate within 200 feet of any stream, pond, wetland or the ocean. Bury all feces or cover with at least three inches of soil. Do not bury or leave TOILET PAPER anywhere on the Island. PACK IT OUT!
The Island has a wealth of biological and cultural resources. Collect only photos and memories. Leave Native American or historical artifacts and sites undisturbed. Do not move or dig up ANYTHING! Collecting of anything is NOT allowed without obtaining a permit from the Conservancy.
Leave an itinerary and get a hiking permit.
Let others know where you will be hiking and how long you will be gone, and file your required hiking permit with the Conservancy. Permits are available online or in person at the Conservancy House, Nature Center at Avalon Canyon, Wrigley Memorial & Botanic Garden, Airport in the Sky or Two Harbors Visitor Center.
Wear appropriate clothing and footwear.
Backcountry trails are steep and rocky and occasionally go through tough brush and cactus. Wear hiking boots or sturdy footwear; no sandals or open-toed shoes. Consider wearing long pants or convertible hiking pants when you are traveling on interior trails.
Expect changes in weather and temperature.
Hot conditions can quickly change to cloudy, cold or windy. Bringing a jacket or a fleece vest or top is a good precaution. Wear a hat and use sunscreen products.
Always carry enough water.
The Island is an arid, low-humidity environment. Dehydration and heat stroke or exhaustion are always risks. On a sunny, hot day, you can lose up to a liter of water an hour just standing still. Reliable, safe water can only be found at established campgrounds or facilities. The rule of thumb in arid environments is one gallon of water a day for a full day of hiking.
Limited cell phone access.
Cell service is not available over much of the Island's interior. In an emergency, cell signals can sometimes be found on high ridges or other isolated locations. Have a map and/or a GPS unit that is not dependent on cell service.
Pick the best trails for your skill and ability.
Know your own limits and respect the Island's landscape. Many trails and roads can have significant elevation gains and losses.
Assumption of Risk and Waiver of Liability & Hiking Rules and Regulations