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Wonders of the Wildlands


There are over 42,000 acres in the interior of the Island to explore made possible through the Catalina Island Conservancy.  Not only does the Conservancy protect this vast landscape, but it also provides various recreational and learning opportunities.

Experience Catalina Island’s hidden gems!

Are you looking to hike or bike the interior but are not sure how to get from town to the trails? We can help!  The Conservancy operates the Wildlands Express shuttle service which departs several times a day from its Trailhead visitor center.  This is a great way to connect with the Wildlands with stops at the Conservancy’s Airport in the Sky near the highest point on the Island, and Little Harbor Campground on the back side of the Island with so much to see in between.  The Airport is a perfect spot to stop for lunch and a hike through a soapstone quarry.  Little Harbor Campground features a beautiful beach surrounded by hiking and biking trails for a nice day or half-day hike and then return to town.

If you rather jump into an off-road vehicle to see the Wildlands, the Conservancy’s naturalist-led Eco Tours allow you to explore parts of Catalina Island no other outfitter can reach.  Whether you are hoping to learn more about the Island’s rich history, see some of our unique plants, wildlife and bison, or simply explore parts of Catalina that most people never see, the Eco Tour is your ticket to adventure.  Eco Tour and Wildlands Express Reservations can be made with Guest Services at the Trailhead Visitor Center at 310-510-2595 x100.  And don’t forget to become a Conservancy member to get a discount!

Catalina Island is home to over 60 endemic plant and animal species.  Just this year Conservancy staff and partners found and collected a newly described endemic plant species, Cryptantha catalinensis. With this discovery, there are now nine endemic plant taxa on Catalina Island.  To preserve native species and provide plant and seed material for revegetation needs on Catalina Island, the Conservancy operates a native plant nursery and seed conservation facility at Middle Ranch.  The James H. Ackerman Native Plant Nursery grows over 85 species as container stock and houses over 2,000 seed collections representing 243 species.  For visitors, the easiest way to visit the Nursery and purchase plants onsite is on a Conservancy Eco Tour.

These are just a few ways to connect with the interior of the Island.  But I bet you’re also wondering how you can do your part to protect it.  You can help preserve Catalina’s natural habitat by cleaning your boots to prevent the spread of invasive species, packing out all trash, keeping your dogs on leash and up to date on all vaccines, and please do not disturb wildlife.

Get Involved

Volunteer with the Conservancy, donate, or become a member to help support our programs in conservation, education and recreation!

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