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Such an amazing hike! The views were incredible until the clouds moved in about halfway up, so I didn't get to really experience the view from the top. But I'll definitely be coming back on clearer day.
March 11, 2018.

Amazing trail! Very steep but the views are worth it. The clouds moved in about halfway up unfortunately and while it was fun to hold in the clouds, the view from the top was just grey in every direction. I'll definitely be coming back in the Spring!
March 10, 2018.

8 days ago

Did the Trans-Catalina in mid-March and you understand almost immediately why this is mostly a winter-only trip. There is virtually no shade, a lot of sun, and even though you have a lot of access to water, there are at least two very difficult big climbs and a couple big descents followed by immediate climbs. Catalina does not give you a lot of flats to cruise on. Make sure to follow the Catalina Conservancy's map or at least be very clear which deviations you're taking because you can easily go well out of your way. The official Trans-Catalina is well-marked and we didn't miss a single mile marker.

We started in Avalon on a sunny day and your first mile is a nice walk up to Hermit Gulch before your next two miles are a very steady, steep uphill to the top of the ridge. Even when it was only 65 degrees, this was very hard for four fit people but you get spectacular views of the Pacific on all sides. Your next couple miles are up and down along a very dry portion of the interior where you will start to see bison and see how big the island actually is. You spend a significant portion of the next 4 miles on or very close to the airport road, power lines, and pipes and step over a lot of buffalo crap, probably the least good part of the trip. However it is still very scenic. You do a few big descents and climbs away from the road finally which is hard but eventually you'll get to Blackjack which is a nice campground tucked into a pine grove. Nice to hear the wind in the trees at night.

Day Two you can make either very easy or long and moderately hard. We chose easy because it was supposed to rain that day (it did). You start with a confusing portion that confused several backpackers. When you leave Blackjack, turn right at the airport road briefly (look for the markers as this uncharacteristically does not have a sign pointing you in the right direction) then a sharp left. Another hard down-and-up brings you to the airport. Definitely stop for a meal. It's quiet and there's a lot to see in the airport of the history of Catalina. The rest of the day is a pretty easy descent down to Little Harbor. We camped here in the rain and it was perfectly fine, though it definitely feels a lot like a drive-in campground with a lot of huge, out-of-place palm trees. You could potentially continue to Two Harbors from here and make it in good time.

Day Three is where you see the best scenery and are the most isolated. The first five miles is a pretty easy ascent onto the ridge overlooking the Pacific and it is spectacular. Even after the rain, this was an easy trail and a big highlight. You descend quickly into Two Harbors around five miles where you can refill water if necessary. The next portion brings you south of town and up the hardest climb of the trip. Miles 25-27 were by far the hardest and, once the sun broke through again, took a long time. Near the top though you start getting spectacular views again, particularly if you take half an hour to do the Lobster Bay Lookout trail. Amazing. You spend the next few miles walking along a ridge toward the tip of the island before a very steep descent into Parson's. After the rain, this was very muddy but doable going down. I would not attempt going up it after rain. Parson's is a dream, but don't expect to show up and have a spot. Reserve well in advance and get water. Oh! And DON'T FORGET TO GET YOUR KEY AT THE TWO HARBORS VISITOR CENTER. I did and was very lucky someone shared their water with me.

Day Four is a flat 8 miles back to Two Harbors along the coast on the road. The water and vegetation is beautiful but it is a bummer to have to stare down at four different ugly summer camps that you have to wind around. That was another least good thing about the trip. You should make it back to Two Harbors by 10:30 in time to catch the 11:30 ferry back to San Pedro.

A great trip if you like views of the ocean with some difficult terrain and don't mind some portions that interface with human infrastructure a lot.

If I do this trip again, I would most likely make it a bit longer by going from Day One Avalon to Blackjack, Day Two Blackjack to Two Harbors (instead of Little Harbor) and Day Three Two Harbors to Parsons, but hike the entirety of the Silver Peak Trail down to Starlight Beach and then on to Parson's. Adding that leg to Day Three adds over four miles but the views from the top of the ridge are really something.

Amazing veiw from the top! Steep incline through out the trail but well worth it!

29 days ago

Awsome view! Great hike!

Trail was fun! We stared from the left and continued clockwise when we came across most people did the other way. Someone reviewed that this trail needed more sign to help hikers to stay on the path, which I agree so much. We seen many people practicing rock climbing which is pretty cool. Liked this trail. With some parts, you really need to figure out how to overcome some puzzling way to keep moving forward but you will find different way so, if you feel your stuck, don’t worry, you are not.

2 months ago

Good scenic trail with all kinds of spots to climb and hangout

Agree with everyone’s comments, once you’re no longer on the front side of the mountain it gets harder and harder to know where to go. I never made it completely around but I hear it is possible! I’ll be back to conquer it!

The waypoints on the map give a better idea of the complexity of this route. There are few if any real trail markers (the occasional cairn may be found but are non-directional and so far spaced to be of utility), and you will routinely have to double-back to get back on trail. The portion over Kraft mountain is apparently Class 3+ or Class 4, which would have been helpful to know, as a rating of "difficult" doesn't fully explain whether it is technical, or just steep. Still, a very pretty hike.

Love it

2 months ago

BLM 6641'/Totals: 5.9m in 2:15, med stride. Scarpa Crux, BD Shock Sticks, 2 shepherds and off we went without seeing another soul for the entire 2.5hrs. Nothing better. Only recorded first half of hike - back half is identical.

As depicted the east half of this loop is at very least extremely difficult and no easily recognizable trail. We got half way up the north slope and turned back down to the wash and "dashed" trail to finish the loop around the east side traveling clockwise. Beautiful and scenic

Great hike with rock scrambling and navigating the ridge. A few cairns mark the way but the trail is easily lost. Just keep along the Ridge and continue up. I did follow a white rock Zion-esque formation down a canyon but did not spot any arches. It’s a great place to scramble and explore

Beautiful from the top! There wasn’t one human in sight :)

I give this 3 stars b/c it was so difficult to follow the trail. We started out E and came across a trail marker that took us and another small group in the wrong direction (someone being funny?). So we doubled back and went the other way. We got to a fork with two trails leading in seemingly opposite directions-no trail markers. We made a choice and continued for .25 mile or so and decided to turn around b/c we couldn’t tell where the trail was leading and we weren’t sure we were on the right trail. We passed a local on the way back that told us both trails loop around and are Kraft Mountain loop. ANYWAY, this trail is a great location and I would say moderate difficulty for the average hiker, but the trail could definitely be marked better for people who are less familiar.

Great trail for views and a medium climb. Went with a friend and dogs in December and only encountered two other parties on the trail. Well marked and fun.

Sometimes I lost the trail, but I went solo in December and was warm in my denim and sweatshirt. I traveled with a small dog, saw small game and, remarkably, most of the spring was frozen. Great vistas and trees.

2 months ago

Nov. 21st. Great warmup to the canyon. I used it as warmup for Griffith Peak. Depending on the time of years, get an early start to make sure you get both in before dark. I'm from Puerto Rico and my pace was off. I finished Griffith on the head lamp.
Wild pack of chipmunks on the peak.

3 months ago

...so I returned to this trail and followed it further. if you follow the faint trail past the rock cairn and geological survey marker you will pass a natural arch and the trail begins to descend steeply into a pocket of slickrock known as Little Zion. There needs to be a trail on Alltrails for this. it's too cool.

Can be challenging at times but offers up close and personal views of the red cliffs,

Great hike and not too difficult if you are in moderate shape. It can get steep and times but the view at the top is well worth it. Once you hit the stairs your almost there so push through!

3 months ago

Great hike, loved it, once you get to the top it’s beautiful up there, definitely worth it.

Awesome trail! A no-nonsense, mostly-uphill approach leads to incredible views and some sandstone scrambling to the summit. While it might be tempting to stop short of the slabs, they are easier than they look and well worth the views at the top.

Note that despite the name, this is not Rainbow Mountain, which is well north (other side of Mt. Wilson). I checked several sources and couldn't find a name for this feature. It seems unnamed.

Also, I'm not sure where Tori went, but we followed GPS for this and it was right on. With our summit wandering, our track came in at 5.5 miles. I'd estimate anywhere from 2 to 5 hours depending on your level of fitness.

Beautiful view!!

Great place to hike. There was another trail down by the river bed and it’s much more challenging than the man made trail(though this trail is not ideal for kids)! Overall, we enjoyed the hike.

4 months ago

Trail is well kept, a bit steep during some stretches. Great views along the way and from the top.

Great trail! Only thing is don’t miss the exit which isn’t marked or you’ll have to boulder down a cliff which I enjoyed more and so did my dog. He’s a pro climber though.

I found it difficult because I have bad knees but when you get on top of the mountain the view is totally worth it

4 months ago

It’s a great short hike with classic red rock views. I wouldn’t categorize as difficult. There is a bit of scrambling but it’s not that challenging if you’re a little agile. Don’t take your grandma, but you don’t need special skills either. I’d suggest doing this loop starting on the left of the mountain. A little more uphill at first (which I liked) and much easier to stay on trail from that direction I’ve found.

The trail to the lake is garnished by aspens and vegetation along the creek. The creek in many areas is pleasant to see and hear. The backdrop of the mountains surrounding the lake are awe inspiring but I felt the lake was small and it was in fact a long walk but worth the reward.

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