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Trans-Catalina Trail is a 37.4 mile moderately trafficked point-to-point trail located near Avalon, California that offers the chance to see wildlife and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from April until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Length 37.4 mi Elevation gain 7,926 ft Route type Point to Point

Dogs on leash

Backpacking

Camping

Hiking

Nature trips

Bird watching

Running

Beach

Views

Wildlife

Rocky

Description
Waypoints (33)
Contact
Tips

This is a long, strenuous trek across the entirety of Catalina Island. But the views are amazing. Beautiful blue ocean views in every direction in the morning, and incredible solitude, serenity and interior island views in the afternoon. Most backpackers do this over four days and depart from Twin Harbors. Hiking permits are required for all hikers and cyclists. Please check the Catalina Island Conservancy website for further information.

Once you reach the ridgeline, there is no coverage, so it can get hot. Wear proper sun protection. You will likely see wild bison grazing along the trail. Don't provoke them, and give them a wide berth. They typically won't bother you if you don't bother them.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (154)
Photos (272)
Recordings (124)
Completed (306)
Thomas Maires
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarAugust 5, 2020
HikingNo shade

The TCT has beautiful views and great campsites, but some intense climbs and descents. It seems like they could use some switchbacks! I would say you definitely hike for the overall experience, not for the actual hiking.

Jay Cary
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 2, 2020
Hiking
View Jay's Recording
Alyssa V
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 25, 2020
Hiking

Beautiful trail, so peaceful! Most difficult portion was from Little Harbors to Two Harbors other than that really not a bad hike. If I spent two nights in parsons landing I would have hiked to Starlight beach. Spoke to some people who did it and they said it was a difficult hike. I stopped for a breakfast burrito at airport in the sky. And stocked up on snacks/drinks at two harbors general store before hiking to parsons. Definitely recommend :)

View Alyssa's Recording
Olga Garcia
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 20, 2020
HikingNo shade

Very hot mid-summer, bring plenty of water, hat, and sunscreen, and I recommend sleeves. As everyone has said, all campgrounds except Parson’s Landing have water to refill. Quote a few ups and downs, some steep. I would have liked to have poles going down to Parson’s Landing. Start early in the day. Several facilities along the trail (picnic tables, bathrooms or porta-potties at least) and mostly well-marked. A lot of it is on service roads. If in doubt, check your map. Bison can block path so you might have to go around. If I had to do it over again would spend the night at Little Harbor to watch sunset and enjoy the palm trees.

Reynor Santiago
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 19, 2020
HikingNo shadeRocky

hard, no shade, endless uphill and downhill but worth the view. 5 campgrounds have water and pit.

Mrr Vahid
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 17, 2020
Hiking

Highly recommend Lots of beautiful flowers Be ready for the long trail Take water and food You’ll experience tranquility and stillness So beautiful

Dan Leslie
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 6, 2020
Hiking

I completed this journey yesterday with my 11yo son and loved it. Water is available at each campsite except Parson's Landing, but don't skip this campsite... it is the best of them all. I would recommend booking Parson's first and planning the rest of your backpacking journey around it. Pay $20 in the Two Harbors visitor center for 2.5 gallons of water and firewood to be delivered to the PL campground. Also, when heading toward Blackjack from Hermit Gulch, be sure to top up your water at the Haypress Recreation Area. It is the only non-campground water source on this trail and the hike to Blackjack is a grind, especially on a hot day. The All Trails recording of our journey isn't quite complete because my phone ran out of battery a few times.

View Dan's Recording
Katakuri Charlotte
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 26, 2020
HikingNo shadeRocky

Great trail, not that hard with beautiful views, not recommended for beginners, make sure you bring sunscreen and a hat, be prepared to go a bit off trail if a bison blocks your path. Overall a great experience and would do it again .

Angel Nuñéz
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 15, 2020
HikingNo shadeRockyScramble

What a great trail! All the campsites have water and bathrooms except Parson’s landing but you can have water and firewood in a locker access for $20. Island gets very little rain no shade. I definitely would have liked to have an umbrella For June but still no problem. Definitely uphills and downs, challenging. Still getting used to recording didn’t get the last part to Starlight.

View Angel 's Recording
LV27 JTR
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarApril 22, 2020
Hiking

Great trail, did this November 2019 and loved every part of it. Parsons landing is the best campsite on the whole island. Carry as much water as you can, very few places to refill. Bug spray your gear, I had a tick bite I believe attached on me at two harbors campsite.

Dusty Hunt
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMarch 14, 2020
HikingMuddyNo shadeWashed out
View Dusty's Recording
Jerrod Walters
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFebruary 29, 2020
Hiking

*WARNING - TRANS CATALINA TRAIL ROUTE HAS CHANGED SINCE RECORDED ON ALLTRAILS. The majority of the trail is the same except for a few different sections. Pay attention to the Trans Catalina Trail sign markers and mileage markers. I highly recommend this trail for anyone looking for a challenge and gorgeous scenery.

View Jerrod's Recording
Andrew Schwartz
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFebruary 28, 2020
Hiking

This trail map is not correct but the correct trail is rad. Not for slackers.

View Andrew's Recording
scott clemence
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFebruary 28, 2020
HikingNo shade
View scott's Recording
Beaches To Backroads
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarFebruary 1, 2020
HikingNo shade
Konner Ayers
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJanuary 2, 2020
Hiking

Did this with a friend over new years and it was one of the best experiences! Pretty much did the same guide as everyone else (about 4 days starting in avalon and finishing in two harbors). The views are spectacular and each crest had a reward. By far, in my opinion, the prettiest places were little harbor and parsons landing, which I’m definitely going to have to revisit. If you are debating on doing this north to south or vice versa, I’ll say you must do this starting in avalon as the days become much more beautiful as you go. If you like rock climbing too there’s some bouldering at some campsites; at parsons there a boulder dead center on beach. But overall it is highly enjoyable and a must do! Btw the bison will charge if you get to close, we got a little surprise from one of them haha

Veronica Souza
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarDecember 19, 2019
Hiking

12/16-12/18 :First time backpacking and wanted to hike Avalon-two harbors because it made sense for my schedule. Didn’t have a sleeping pad which seems like a must along with good warm socks, it gets cold at night which makes sense since we hiked in December. The hike itself was incredible, Day 1 left at 11:30a from avalon to blackjack was very hard took a couple breaks arrived at 4:50p. Day 2 left at 830a ate airport and a couple miles after ran across some bison at sheep’s chute, (we got off track somehow, but it leads to little harbor too). They were on the trail and we attempted to go passed them but they chased us off. We ended up hiking around the side of the hill and they watched us the whole time arrived around 230p. Day 3 left at 7:45 a, little harbor-two harbors had some very rough segments practically walking up loose gravel. Ferry left at 1130 and we got there with the 3 min to spare.

Eden S.
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarNovember 27, 2019
Hiking

Great hike. Lots of hills

Kelly K.
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarNovember 20, 2019
Hiking

This was an awesome first self-supported multi-day backpacking experience! We went Avalon —> Blackjack —> Little Harbor —> Parsons Landing —> Two Harbors —> Avalon via the Cyclone boat. Little Harbor was my favorite campground both because of the amazing views and the clean facilities. I would definitely consider doing this trail again. The locals we encountered on Catalina are truly some of the kindest people I’ve met during my travels. And finally, like another review mentioned: use trekking poles.

View Kelly's Recording
Jonathan Wong
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarNovember 2, 2019
Hiking

We completed the full TCT and also deviated to include the path to Starlight Beach via the Silver Peak Rd. Started in Avalon and camped first night at Blackjack. 2nd day had breakfast at Airport in the Sky and hiked to Little Harbors then to Two Harbors. Had dinner in Two Harbors then camped at the Two Harbors Campground. 3rd Day we hiked to Starlight Beach via Silver Peak Trail (by far the hardest part of the hike) and then back to Parsons landing campsite for the night. 4th day hiked back to Two Harbors (nicest part of the whole hike) Note: A section of the trail is washed out from Two Harbors via Silver Peak Trail to Starlight Beach. We were still able to cross carefully so exercise caution. Overall, the hike was a bit challenging. The elevation gain wasn’t too terrible but since a majority of the trail is 100% exposed with the sun, it’s quite draining especially with a full pack. We did this in Nov 2019 and we saw only 2 hikers during our whole 3 night 4 day trip.

View Jonathan's Recording
Shannon Alonso
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 31, 2019
BackpackingNo shade

This hike gives the most beautiful views, but to get to see them you have to work your butt off! This is a very challenging hike. The elevation gain is intense with no flat areas. The descents are just as difficult and almost dangerous with very steep drops and the ground is very loose. The campgrounds are beautiful though and very comfortable. It's a moderately trafficked trail so you will run into people often. I would suggest doing this in 5 days, but I did it in 4. There are not many trees so on the trail you will be in direct sunlight and it gets toasty! The bugs will come out once the sun is up too.

Nathan Kim
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 1, 2019
Backpacking

This was my first time backpacking. I made a huge mistake of packing way too much stuff. I think my pack was around 30lbs or so. Anyway, I started at avalon and camped at blackjack, which was my day one. My backpacking ended at airport from there I took a truck and headed back to avalon. It was painful. Elevation was crazy it was hurting my back the whole time. I think those trekking poles are must. I started on sunday and I only came across one group. (couple) Also, make sure to bring long pants. You have cactus and long sharp (I don't know the name) plants around the trails. It's cold at night so make sure you bring jacket. Overall, hiking (avalon to blackjack) felt like hiking in my local hiking trail, except you have beautiful ocean view. I will go back this year but will skip avalon to blackjack. IF you do plan to backpack this trail, make sure to take hikkkkking pooles!! PLEASE.

Uzi Vital
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 2, 2019
HikingNo shadeOff trail
View Uzi's Recording
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