HIKE THE TRANS-CATALINA TRAIL
 


The Trans-Catalina Trail is a rugged hike along the island’s interior with camping stops next to pristine beaches. Covering 38.5 miles in typically 4 days, you will traverse the Island starting at the Trailhead in Avalon and finishing at Two Harbors (after winding through the West End of the Island). Along the way you will have the opportunity to experience some of the Island's wildlife. Sightings of Bison, the Catalina Island Fox, and Bald Eagles are common. Camping is available at different campsites along the trail with Conservancy members receiving 50% off.

Start your hike at the Conservancy’s Trailhead visitor center in Avalon where hiking permits and trail maps are available. The second trailhead out of Avalon begins at the Hermit Gulch Campgrounds in Avalon Canyon. The Hermit Gulch Trail will take you up to Divide Road. Turn right and follow the TCT through Haypress picnic area, past Middle Ranch Road, past Cape Canyon to the Black Jack Campground. Camp for the night.

From Black Jack Campground, you'll cross the expansive Cottonwood Canyon. As you approach the Airport, you'll pass a 2,000-year-old soapstone quarry with bowls excavated by Catalina’s first residents, the Tongva, still visible. When you reach the Airport in the Sky, this is a good opportunity to sit back, relax and enjoy refreshments from the DC-3 Gifts and Grill.

Exit the airport and continue along the Airport Loop section of the TCT until you get to the Empire Landing Road, then turn left. In about two miles, you’ll turn onto the new Big Springs Ridge Trail portion of the TCT. Follow the trail to Little Harbor to set-up camp for the night. This is the easiest section of the trail and will give you time to enjoy the beach at Little Harbor.

At the northwest corner of the Little Harbor Campground, take the trail west to the top of the ridge. You'll then head north. Follow the trail markers to the Tower Peak Radio Site on the Banning House Road. You can purchase lunch in Two Harbors to reduce weight in your pack.

From the Two Harbors campsite, make your way south, across the Isthmus to the Silver Peak Trail portion of the TCT. This is a very challenging portion of the TCT, but one of the most rewarding.

The trail drops you into Parson's Landing Campground. This is a secluded beach camping site. Running water is not provided; you must pack in your supplies, or arrange to have your equipment delivered. If backpacking, camp for the night and do the final leg of the trail back to Two Harbors via West End Road. Book your return boat to San Pedro through the Catalina Express.



Get your free hiking permit online, click here.
*GPS function on trail depends on signal availability.

New Hiking Maps are Available with updates to the Trans-Catalina Trail.
The Island hiking map is available for download. The Conservancy also offers a hiking map for purchase at our Conservancy Explore store in Avalon.

Please note that wildlife on Catalina Island, as with all Wildlands, can cause serious injury and even death.  Please do not approach or harass wildlife and always maintain a safe distance.

Hiking is not permitted after dark.

Policies and Island Cautions



    




trans catalina trail and trails that make up node

For your safety, hiking permits are required by the Catalina Island Conservancy. They are free of charge and available the day of your hike. They can be obtained at these locations: 

Conservancy House in Avalon, at 
125 Clarissa Ave. Open daily from 
8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., closed for 
lunch. (310) 510-2595

Nature Center at Avalon Canyon, open daily 10 AM to 4 PM, Memorial Day through Labor Day (closed Thursdays all other months)

Airport in the Sky Open daily from 
8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (winter) 7p.m. 
(summer), call (310) 510-0143

Two Harbors Visitor Information 
Center
 Open daily from 8:00 a.m. 
to 5:00 p.m. 

Camping reservations can be obtained for the TCT by calling Visitor Services at:
(310) 510-4205



Camping at Little Harbor along the TCT

NOTE: To redeem your Conservancy Membership Camping discounts: call (310) 510-4205. Please note that Two Harbors and Hermit Gulch are NOT Conservancy campsites and are not eligible for membership discounts. 





IMPORTANT TIPS: 
The Trans-Catalina Trail can be very steep, very exposed, and hot during the summer. When planning your journey please carefully consider the following:

  • Know your limitations. Don’t attempt hiking or biking the Trail unless you are in good enough physical condition to do so safely.
  • Be prepared. Make sure you have comfortable hiking boots, a hat, sunscreen and plenty of water. Potable water is only available on the Trail at Haypress, Black Jack Campground, Little Harbor Campground, the Airport and the Isthmus. Potable water can be reserved for pickup at Parsons Landing for a fee by calling the Two Harbors Visitor Services at (310) 510-4205
  • For sections of the Trail where cycling is permitted, for your safety, a bike with heavy-duty, knobby tires is required (mountain bike).
  • Obtain a Hiking Permit before starting out. Hiking Permit information may be found below. Cyclists, see information below regarding Freewheeler Bike Passes.
  • Carry a map. Know where you are at on the Trail. Be cognizant of the mile markers along the way.
  • Tell family or friends on the mainland where you are going and arrange a check-in time via cell phone so that your welfare is never in question.
  • If you get in trouble, call 911 first. Much of the Trail has cell phone access. Calling 911 first, before your battery may go dead, will give rescuers a GPS location of where you are. Make family or friends your second call. 
  • Rattlesnakes are native to the Island. Depending on the temperature, they may reside under or on top of warm rocks, or be found curled up by the side of the road. Avoid them.
  • Bison can be encountered on all parts of the Trail east of the Isthmus. If you encounter bison, move slowly and steadily around them, keeping at least 150 feet away.


BIKE PASSES/CYCLING AREAS
For the safety of hikers, and the enjoyment of cyclists, bikes are permitted on about eight miles of the Trans-Catalina Trail – from along Renton Mine Road, East End Road and Divide Road to Dakin Peak (the microwave tower) on the East End. However, there are nearly 50 miles of dirt roads and nearly 9 miles of paved roads in the interior for mountain bikers to enjoy. Conservancy “Freewheeler” Bike Passes, which include the added benefits of Conservancy membership, can be purchased at Conservancy House in Avalon, the Airport in the Sky and the Visitor’s Center in Two Harbors. Call (310) 510-2595 ext. 100 for more information. Become a Member Now! (includes your Freewheeler Bike Pass) Click here.

HIKING PERMITS
Hiking permits are required for all hikers and cyclists who venture into the interior. Hiking permits are free and can be picked up at Conservancy House in Avalon, the Wrigley Memorial & Botanic Garden, Nature Center at Avalon Canyon, the Airport in the Sky, and the Visitor’s Center at Two Harbors. Call (310) 510-2595 ext. 100 for more information.

CAMPING
Make all camping reservations through the Santa Catalina Island Company Visitor Services at: 310-510-4205

For Your Convenience when Camping
Come to the Island prepared. Catalina has many resources, but unlike the mainland, Island resources are limited. Transportation, lodging, food and other necessities that we take for granted, must be planned well in advance. Here is a comprehensive list of resources for hikers who want to venture out into Catalina’s interior. Please visit these sites and make your arrangements before you start your Island adventure.

DOGS
Dogs are required to be on-leash at all times while on Conservancy property.  Please review our Cautions and Policies page and dog policies www.catalinaconservancy.org/index.php


Avoid carrying your camping gear by taking advantage of these transportation resources:

Catalina Backcountry
Catalina Backcountry offers one-stop shopping to groups that don’t want to be bothered with connecting all the dots. For a fee, Catalina Backcountry will arrange for all transportation to the Island, on-Island transportation, hiking permits and Freewheeler Bike Passes, campsite catering, gear hauling, excursions, hotel reservations, etc. 

Island transportation services:

Safari Bus
Provides links with the City of Avalon (via the Wildlands Express)  with the village of Two Harbors, including stops at Little Harbor, Airport in the Sky, and the trailhead for Black Jack Junction. For more information and reservations call (310) 510-4205. 

Wildlands Express Airport Shuttle
Provides transportation from Avalon to Haypress Picnic Ground, Black Jack Campground and the Airport in the Sky. For information and reservations call (310) 510-0143.

Afishinados Charters
Provides transportation by sea to and from Avalon, Two Harbors and Parsons Landing. For information and reservations call (323) 447-4669.

Shore Boats are available from Two Harbors to Emerald Bay all year long. However charter reservations are required. To schedule a shore boat, call Two Harbors Harbor Department at (310) 510-4253.


Get the resources you need during your hike:

DC-3 Gifts and Grill
The campers' and hikers' resource! We are just minutes from the Trans Catalina Trail at the Airport in the Sky and are open every day of the year for breakfast and lunch. Stop in for snacks, drinks, supplies, Catalina souvenirs, a rest on the patio or by the fireplace or just to use the restroom. Individual hikers or small groups can call ahead to work with our Grill Crew to plan the perfect meal that can be picked up at the DC-3 Gifts & Grill for you to cook at your next campsite. Food can be delivered directly to campsites at Black Jack and Little Harbor for groups of 20 or more. Call (310) 510-2196.

How to Get to Catalina Island

 

708 Crescent Ave., Avalon 90704 | Phone: (310) 510-1445 | 320 Golden Shore, Suite 220, Long Beach, CA 90802 | Phone: (562) 437-8555
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