Hermit Gulch Trail to Lone Tree Point

MODERATE 76 reviews

Hermit Gulch Trail to Lone Tree Point is a 5.9 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Avalon, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 5.9 miles Elevation Gain: 1,509 feet Route Type: Loop

dogs on leash


nature trips

trail running

bird watching


wild flowers



Up for a short hike with a big payoff? Try the Garden to Sky Hike using the Memorial Road and Hermit Gulch trail. You can make the round trip in just a couple of hours and be back in time for whatever your Avalon plans may be. The trail head can be accessed via the Wrigley Memorial & Botanic Garden located at the top of Avalon Canyon, a 1.75 mile walk up the road from town. You can also catch a ride on the city's trolley or the Catalina Island Conservancy's Wilderness Express (310-510-0143) from the Transportation Plaza for only a few bucks per person. Entering via the garden gives individuals in your group with different goals or needs the option to hike the graded road to the top or simply relax at the garden and wait for their party to return. Or you can do the loop and meet up with the gang at the Hermit Gulch Campground on the way back to town. The trail is one of the best entry-level hikes on the island with phenomenal views being your reward for a moderate level of effort.

14 days ago

Breath taking views from beginning to end, short moderate hike, suggest to start this loop trail counter clockwise, and ending at botanical garden. Bring enough water as this trail is 75% expose. Highly recommended.

no shade
20 days ago

Trail 2 Stars. Visitor Center 5 Stars. All Trails didn’t save my review of the actual route, so in short, the route is okay with too much on fire roads and 6.6 miles not 5.9 miles PLuS another 1.7 mile walk to the trailhead from town. Oh and there’s no lone tree at the end of Lone Tree Point. Whaat? Here is my Relive if you want to see my journey as an aerial video: https://www.relive.cc/view/2493783830 Now onto something that is really cool! I want to call out the new Catalina Conservancy Trailhead Visitor Center, which as of June 2019, is only two months old. This is now where hikers sign in using iPads to get their free trail permits - this is so rangers know you went up on the trails and also presumably to collect trail use information. Through the back of the center and outside is the nicest bathroom on the island with a drinking fountain along with a filtered water bottle filler - I used it to easily fill up my Camelback. This is a GREAT amenity and even the volunteer inside the center wasn’t aware it was there. There are maps and an interactive 3D map of the island so you can map out your hike, or confirm where you are going before you set out. In short, it’s an amazing place to visit and they did a great job!

1 month ago

Fantastic views, can definitely be a challenge if you're not used to hiking in an arid climate with little tree cover. Bring lots of water!

Great way to start the day.

6 months ago

Steep and rewarding. Quick hike up to see both sides of the island.

6 months ago

Pretty steep hills, but a very rewarding view of the island and ocean. Loved it

6 months ago

Steep climb, very rewarding views at the end! Would hike again.

7 months ago


9 months ago

Starting at the Hermits Gulch campground it is 1.75 miles of constant uphill until you reach the gazebo with the Lone Bush ( not a tree). If you take the left fork you head down towards the Wrigley Memorial which is in the Botanical Garden. This makes for about a 4.5 mile loop. Free access to the Botanical Garden this way, although the Garden is not much to see. Not fun for kids unless they are into stair stepping at a young age.

11 months ago

We enjoyed this hike on 8/16/18. We started the hike at the campsite which turned out to be great. It is steep but you will constantly stop and gaze at the views so I promise you won’t even realize how far you’ve hiked. The way down is easy and trail itself is very easy to follow. I do recommend starting at the campsite trail; if you start at the garden expect to hike down to be potentially difficult.

Monday, July 02, 2018

Had a great time on this trail yesterday midday (July 1st). Hiked up from the campsite trailhead, it’s pretty steep with little shade until you get to the peak at 1.7 miles, sometimes cool sea breezes and sometimes not, so you’ll get hot. Cute little gazebo type structure at the top, again with great views. Bring plenty of water (I drank two liters), hat, and sunscreen, but poles are not necessary. The trail is on the narrower side and has a few steep switchbacks as you head up the hills. Lots of beautiful views as you head up, including several where you can see the ocean on both sides. The way down is much wider (a ranger truck passed us at one point) and an easier grade - all the way down to Wrigley Memorial. Going this way you get to enter the botanic gardens for free ($8 admission otherwise), which we hadn’t realized. Anyways, great perk on a great hike — the outdoors, some culture/history, and lots of cool cacti. If you are looking for an easier hike, perhaps start at the gardens/Wrigley and do it as an out and back from there to the peak, also known as the “Garden to the Sky” trail. We also walked in from Avalon, so it’s a flat 1.5 miles in to the trailhead. Otherwise there is a shuttle which is $2 and runs every 20 min, but if you’re going to do a moderate hike like this you probably don’t need to shuttle. We only saw two other groups while hiking which surprised us, had assumed there would be more on a Sunday. I think this is a great option if you are a moderately fit hiker who doesn’t have a ton of time in Avalon but wants to experience some of the grandeur of the TCT with a couple extra hours to hang out in town (we were there on a day trip, first ferry in and last ferry out).

Monday, May 28, 2018

Overall great moderate hike. Stunning views of Avalon while you ascend Hermit Gulch. The lone tree trail also offers incredible views of the other peaks and canyons on the island, as well as the pacific and San Clemente Island to the south. The hike culminates on the edge of the palisades with another spectacular view, although if there was a lone tree at the end of the trail, it is no longer the case now. Recommend to take the trans-Catalina trail south on the way down in order to take the offshoot trail through the Wrigley botanical gardens.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

This was a great hike. Unfortunately fog rolled in at the end of Lone Tree trail.

Friday, July 28, 2017

I just went to the top where the bench is. TAKE WATER AND WEAR SUN SCREEN. This goes on my list as one of my all time favorite hikes. Beautiful views, what an experience!!!

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Spectacular views! Hot and dry, bring plenty of water

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Great hike. I did this loop counter-clockwise, but I think it would be slightly easier to go clockwise. Seemed a little steeper the way I went up. NOTE: can avoid paying the fee to enter going this direction, but I went back and paid them when I finished. Great hike and good to support those who are maintaining the trails. Views are crazy cool.

Saturday, February 04, 2017

Disclaimer: This hike was about one week after a crazy rainstorm in January. I had hiked up via the Garden to Sky trail and thought it might be fun to take Hermit Gulch down... bad idea. Hermit Gulch was no longer a trail, it was a tiny, pebbly ditch. Because it was so steep the first mile (or last mile if you're coming up), I kept sliding around because the ground was so loose. Much of the trail was blocked by small mud slides and some of the trail had completely given out leaving me to scale the mountainside. When I reached the last part of the trail at the bottom, it had completely turned into a babbling brook. No more trail. Just water. It was quite an adventure, and the views were spectacular! But lesson learned: Don't hike this trail in the winter!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

After reading the other reviews, we had prepped ourselves to climb on our hands and knees to avoid falling. That was pointless. There were some steep climbs, but they were short enough we did not even know they were over. Once we got to the end of the trail, we we semi disappointed that the tree was missing. There was not a single lone tree. All in all, this hike gave for some great cardio and spectacular views.

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Great hike until the last mile. Some of the steepest hills I've ever seen. Constantly feeling like I'm going to fall off. I'd recommend just turning back and going the original way up.

Thursday, January 08, 2015

Tough and fun hills on the 'last mile' and a great intro to the landscape outside Avalon!

trail running
Friday, March 08, 2013

Catalina Island is so beautiful, great views anywhere you go. This trail has a few steep up and down parts- a couple so steep I was nervous I was going to tumble down. I moved to the grass on side on trail that wasn't as slippery as the sand/gravel. Started in Avalon and went UP and to end of trail - view of the other side is amazing. Definitely want to carry water - it was hot when we were there and not much shade on the trail.

Monday, July 11, 2011

If you are like me, and not a seasoned hiker, it is wise to start your hike in the Botanic Garden. The service road is steep, but not as steep as the Hermit Gulch trail that you can take from the campground. Just saying... Wow! The hike is worth it! On the top of the mountain, you can look down a Avalon waaaay down in the distance. It was a clear day, so I could see the mainland from Malibu almost all the way to San Diego! Looking out over the Pacific, I could see San Clemente Island that cannot be seen from the mainland.

21 days ago

3 months ago

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