Catalina Island Hiking

Catalina Island offers some of southern California’s best hiking trails. Dramatic wildlife, awe-inspiring views and a wide array of trails combine to offer both challenge and reward for hikers of all abilities. Eighty-eight percent of the land on Catalina Island is protected and maintained through the Catalina Island Conservancy. Make sure and check in with the Catalina Island Conservancy to secure a Catalina Island hiking permit before setting out if you plan to hike within Catalina Island's 70-square mile interior.

Hikers can expect to see varied terrain including grasslands, woodlands, ridgelines, secluded beaches, and more. Not only do cooler temperatures make hiking on Catalina Island even more appealing, winter weather brings the island to life, with just a little rain required to infuse the normally golden hills with verdant vibrancy. The Catalina Island Conservancy’s new Trekking Catalina initiative showcases dozens of miles of new and upgraded trails. The centerpiece of Trekking Catalina continues to be the Trans-Catalina Trail, a spectacular trek through 20+ miles of rugged-island terrain that rates as one of the top Catalina Island adventures.

Trans-Catalina Trail

The entire Trans-Catalina Trail spans 38.5 miles. Many adventurers hike the trail over 3-4 days staying at various campgrounds along the way; Hermit Gulch in Avalon, Black Jack near Airport in the Sky, Little Harbor on the windward side of the island, Two Harbors Campground in Two Harbors and ending at Parsons Landing at the far west end of the island. Trans-Catalina Trail Map. Please note: Hiking is not allowed after dark and the wildlife within the Catalina Island Conservancy can cause serious injury.

Catalina Island Conservancy Trails-Catalina Trail Routes & Mileage

  • Avalon to East Summit - 3.2 miles
  • Garden to Sky Loop / Hermit Gulch Trail - 4 miles (roundtrip)
  • East Summit to Middle Ranch Jct - 2.0 miles
  • Middle Ranch Jct to Black Jack Jct. - 2.7 miles
  • Black Jack Jct to Black Jack Campground - 1.5 miles
  • Black Jack Junction to Airport - 2.5 miles
  • Airport to Little Harbor Overlook - 6.2 miles
  • Middle Ranch Jct. to Middle Ranch - 4.8 miles
  • Middle Ranch to Ben Weston Jct. - 2.4 miles
  • Ben Weston Jct. to Little Harbor Overlook - 2.3 miles 
  • Little Harbor Overlook to Little Harbor - 1.2 miles
  • Little Harbor to West Summit - 4.3 miles
  • West Summit to Two Harbors - 2.5 miles
  • Two Harbors to Parson Landing - 6.6 miles
  • Parsons Landing to Starlight Beach - 4.6 miles

The Conservancy outlines the segments of the TCT into 5 Nodes:

Avalon Walks, Runs & Hikes

For those wishing to explore on foot, without trekking into the island's interior, there are several easy to moderate routes for runners, walkers and hikers in Avalon.

Country Club Loop/Descanso - Moderate - 1.43 miles

Difficult start uphill but the views of Avalon will make the battle worth it. Then it's smooth sailing back to town.

Mt. Ada Loop - Difficult - 3.57 miles

Longest route with steep uphill incline to Mt. Ada. This route starts out on Pebbly Beach Rd., winding up the backside of Wrigley Rd., to Mt. Ada and back down the other side.

Botanical Gardens Path - Moderate - 3.58 miles

Head up Metropole Ave to Avalon Canyon Road, past the Fire Station, Catalina Island Golf Course, Bird Park, Joe Machado Field and Hermit Gulch Campground to the Wrigley Memorial. Please note that there is an entrance fee at the Botanical Garden. 

Horse Trail Path Loop / Hour Trail - Moderate - 2.5 miles

The Horse Trail follows the trail formerly used by the Catalina Horse Stables. This is a great morning hike along a dirt road and offers beautiful views on the golf course, Avalon Harbor and Catalina Casino. Head up Metropole Ave to Avalon Canyon, as above, but just across the Hermit Gulch Campground, look for the unmarked trail off the road to the left. Follow the trail up the hill to the left, first passing above Joe Machado Field and then the Catalina Island Golf Course. You'll wind your way around the trail, above the golf course, reaching an end at the Avalon Fire Station.

Catalina Chimes Tower via Hogsback Trail - Moderate - 2.31 miles

Moderate incline through the streets of Avalon; route features a set of starts and long uphill climb overlooking Avalon Bay, Descanso Beach Club and the Catalina Zip Line Eco Tour.

Click here to download the map of described Avalon Hikes/Walks.

Also view easy Avalon City Walks.

Two Harbors Hikes / Walks

If you staying in Two Harbors or visiting for the day, there are several easy to moderate hikes and walks to you to explore. Stop by the Two Harbors Visitor Center at the foot at Isthmus Pier for directions and guidance.

Ballast Point Loop - Moderate - 3 miles