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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)
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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 (187)
Photos (366)
Recordings (159)
Completed (363)
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Savannah Fortis
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 15, 2020
BackpackingGreat!No shade

Great intro to thru hiking. A well maintained trail with ranger serviced campgrounds.

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Henry Molina
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 6, 2020
Hiking

Easy one. Camping on the beach!

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Juan Prieto
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 5, 2020
BackpackingGreat!
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Paul Roach
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 24, 2020
Hiking
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Chris Evertz
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 22, 2020
Backpacking

Amazing trail! Just finished 4 days/3 nights on the trail. Took our time along the way because it was hot and humid! Then spent a great day 2 at Little Harbor/Shark harbor swimming and relaxing with an amazing sunset - Best place on the entire island to see it! Only saw 2 Bison and one fox. Met a lot of great hikers out there on the trail! Day 1 - Avalon to Blackjack campground was tough at around 11 miles with a big incline to start and tough final 2 miles into camp. Day 2 - Blackjack to Shark Harbor/Little Harbor: Started later to get to Airport in the Sky for lunch around 1030. Worth the stop! Then another 6 miles to Shark Harbor for beach campsite with the most amazing sunset! Total of 8.5 miles Day 3 - Toughest day! 11 miles total from Shark Harbor to Parson’s Landing. Made a lunch stop in Two Harbors before tackling the massive ridgeline trail - very steep and long! The beach campsite at Parson’s is worth the trip though! Secluded and not crowded. Day 4 - Pearson’s to Two Harbors to catch the ferry back to San Pedro- Easy 8 mile stroll along the coastline.

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Osiris Torres
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 12, 2020
Hiking
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Adrian Mamaril
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 8, 2020
Hiking
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Kathrina Joy Fulgueras
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 7, 2020
Hiking
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scott clemence
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 3, 2020

I brought to much food.

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Matt Feaver
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 1, 2020
Backpacking

This was a great I highly recommend it. The trail is well marked and easy to follow. There are rest areas with a picnic benches and shade along the route, as well as potable water at each campground, with the exception of Parson's Landing (but you can purchase a locker containing 2.5 gallons of water and a bundle of wood for $20 in Two Harbors.) There is a ton of elevation in this hike, and I would definitely recommend hiking poles. Day 1: Avalon to Blackjack Campground. After a short walk up the road, the Hermit Gulch portion of the trail starts with a ton of climbing. Once you reach the dirt road it levels out a bit, and the campground at Blackjack has pit toilets, and is nice and peaceful. Day 2: Blackjack to Two Harbors. After a few miles, make sure to stop for a breakfast burrito at the Airport. Then it's a long downhill to Little Harbor. Once you hit Little Harbor, it's a long uphill climb over the ridge line to get to Two Harbors. The nice part of being in town is the option of showers, restaurants, and even fresh cold beer! Day 3: Two Harbors to Parson's Landing and back. This hike once again begins with a long climb up the ridgeline. Once you hit the shade structure on the top, take a break and rest. The downhill part is incredibly steep, with my GPS often recording 30-35% grades. I would definitely recommend hiking poles for this section! I chose to keep hiking, and proceed down the road back to Two Harbors to complete my hike.

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Mario Nunes
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 29, 2020
Hiking

Take your time. Stay and enjoy each of the camp sites. Our first backpacking adventure; 4 nights, 40 miles. MGDfamily6 rocked it

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Alessandria Tumax
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 19, 2020
Hiking

Had breakfast with bison, ate bison for lunch at the airport and now at the beach.

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Maria Izazaga
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarAugust 15, 2020
HikingNo shadeRocky

This trail is not for beginners. You need to start before the sunrise and take plenty of ice water. Hardly any shade. Beautiful views.

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Hugo Garcia
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 11, 2020

Finished this trail today. Initially planned a 4 day itinerary based on reviews, but finished in 3. If you're up for a challenge, it can be done in 2 days by starting early and skipping the blackjack camp (just fill up on water at the camp) and going to little harbor (chill out at DC 13 for some bison burgers though). The following morning hike from little harbor to the finish. It's a lot of walking packed in two days, but manageable. I also suggest hiking from little harbor to two harbors early in the morning because the views are magical as the sun rises. Great trail. P.S keep your eye out for rattlesnakes!

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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.

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Jay Cary
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 2, 2020
Hiking
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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 :)

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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.

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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.

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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

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Dan Leslie
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow 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.

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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 .

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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.

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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.

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