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.

Hikers 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 may experience sightings of some of the Island’s wildlife including bison, the Catalina Island fox, and bald eagles. This hike typically takes 4 days with stops at each of the Conservancy’s 3 campsites. Hiking permits are required and free by clicking on the permits section of our website or through your campsite booking.  For questions about campsites please call Visitor Services at 310-510-4205.

Plan your Trans-Catalina Trail Adventure

Day 1

The Trans-Catalina Trail starts 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.

Day 2

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 Trans-Catalina Trail and will give you time to enjoy the beach at Little Harbor.

Day 3

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.

This section of the Trans-Catalina 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 and camp for the final night.

Day 4

You’re on the home stretch!  Complete the final leg of the Trans-Catalina Trail back to Two Harbors via West End Road and enjoy a cold drink in town.  Then take the return boat to San Pedro through the Catalina Express.