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 Airport in the Sky Restaurant.

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: 

Trailhead Visitor Center
708 Crescent
(310) 510-2595

Airport in the Sky 
(310) 510-0143

Two Harbors Visitor Services

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. 

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.

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. 


708 Crescent Ave., Avalon 90704 | Phone: (310) 510-2595 | 320 Golden Shore, Suite 220, Long Beach, CA 90802 | Phone: (562) 437-8555
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