Explore the most popular birding trails near Avalon with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

You are hiking a road but it is beautiful and Parsons Landing is worth every bit of the trek.

Relatively flat and a good route for my son's (9) first backpacking outing

2 months ago

crazy uphills, amazing views and perfect campsites. be careful of buffalo and give them space. keep those pack weights low and glide up those hills ;).

2 months ago


This was a great hike. It was challenging because it was so hot outside. There is a lot of up-and-down on the trails also. It is a good trial run for you to see how to pack for a multiple day hike. You will learn quickly how important packing light is. You could save some food weight eating at the airport along the way or Two Harbors restaurant, general store, or cafe but it’s expensive. There are non heated outdoor showers and potable water at Black Jack and Little Harbor. Bring after shower flips flops, sharp rocks everywhere. Two Harbors has a general store and heated pay showers. Parsons Landing has no water or showers. If you have a heavy pack or bad knees trekking poles are very helpful. I will be doing this one again when it cools off.

3 months ago

Challenging but doable with moderate training when competed over 5 days and 4 nights. 3 of the 4 campsites were beach front with spectacular views. The entire trans Catalina trial is almost 40 miles. The 5th day from Parson's Landing back into Two Harbors was flat with breathtaking scenery. Would surely hike it again! ⛺️

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

The hike starts in Two Harbors, ascending up an elevation change of 1,400ft in 1.8 miles via the Banning House Road. You pass a radio station on your left and continue along the ridge for about 4.5 miles. The views are spectacular! It was very hot and dry along the trail so bring enough water (we had about 1.5-2L each person) and sun protection. We reached the Little Harbor Campground and found our campsite. It had running potable water, food locker, 2 fire pits, an awning, and 2 camp tables. Nearby, you have access to beach showers and chemical toilets for your camping luxury! We spent 2 nights here and hiked back to Two Harbors on the third day. On our free day in Little Harbor, we kayaked RT to Ben Winston Beach and beached it on a small secluded beach (Middle Beach) which is a short hike over “Whale’s Tail”. You can catch an amazing sunset while perched atop Whale’s Tail as well, and for all you feeling a bit dare-devilish, there are a few cliff diving spots you can jump off of. But whatever it is you decide to do, always practice SAFETY FIRST! At night, it gets quite chilly so we donned sweaters/pants before bundling up in our sleeping bags. Some tips: arrange kayak rentals with “Wet Spot Rentals” and they’ll set it up for you there at Little Harbor Beach; firewood delivery is a must so you can enjoy the beautiful fire pits ($10/bundle)!

Very very hot, with no shade at all and limited water source. No mile markers!! Trail can be hard to follow at times. Started at hermit and stoped at little harbors.

Amazing to camp mostly at beach-side sites after long days of hiking. My wife and I did the entire TCT and the constant vistas were breathtaking! The stop for Bison Burgers at the Catalina airport is WELL worth it. Definitely doing this again!

7 months ago

Though it was spring and very dry when I visited the scenery was like none I had ever seen. I hiked from the historic Airport and had the feeling like I was the only one there as it is only accessible by conservancy tour shuttle. On another day I hiked at Two Harbors after seeing the Bison thanks to my Conservancy Tour Guide. The Two Harbors side of the Island is more remote and I recommend taking the ferry from the mainland there first if possible which will save you some SS per person for the shuttle. Then if you want to hike from there you can camp at Blackjack Campground several miles away between Two Harbors and Catalina which is more commercial with cruise ships visiting that side of the Island weekly.

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!!!

on Trans-Catalina Trail

7 months ago


For the actual current trail information and permits.

Spectacular views! Hot and dry, bring plenty of water

Beautiful scenery (five star worthy). Downside are the sections of really unfun grades with loose/gravelly terrain. Would not attempt this trail without trekking poles. I usually wear trail runners on multi day hikes and found myself wishing I had something with more ankle support on this trail. Would stop by the Catalina Conservancy in Avalon to pickup one of their great maps. I did the Avalon trailhead to Black Jack on day one, Black Jack to Two Harbors day two, Two Harbors to Parsons (set up camp/dropped some gear) to Starlight back to Parsons day three, then walked the West End Road back to Two Harbors (about 8 miles along the island coast) and got the ferry day four.

Hard hike...54 miles if you start in Avalon and hike to mile 0 and then hike the whole trail to Starlight and then back to Two Harbors to ride the boat home. Great experience...Get a breakfast burrito at the airport if you can!

Did this trail over Memorial Day weekend. My Garmin tracked the distance closer to 6.2 miles, and the high point was about 1250'. It took about 4.5 hours. The opening trail is a huge climb straight out of Two Harbors. This is just one leg of the TCT. We did one day from Two Harbors to Little Harbors, then stayed and hiked in the LH area for a day, then on day 3, we went from Little Harbors to Parson's Landing. Overall, phenomenal experience, but depending on weather (it was pretty sunny and hot) it can be a demanding hike.

This is a fun hike that traverses a ridge line from Two-Harbors to Little Harbor. You climb 1200 feet in the first 1.8 miles to a radio relay station along Banning House road then hug the ridgeline trail to Little Harbor. The views are spectacular. Unfortunately, I elected to continue on the Banning House road to the main road in the valley from the relay station because the winds were to high. It was hard to keep my balance with a 35lb backpack. Safety First!

10 months ago

Great experience! Camped right up front in Little Harbor for the beach experience and then in Blackjack for a forestry escape. The up and downs in 80 degree weather was a bit of a challenge, but lots of rewarding views!

11 months ago

This entire trail from Avalon to Starlight Beach was PHENOMENAL! It was hard too so make sure you're conditioned for steep grades both up and down with almost NO switchbacks. The Trans-Catalina is officially 37.2m however there is also the hike to the actual trail head, the hike at the end from Starlight back to your camp and from there to the harbor to catch your ferry back to the mainland. This turned out to be roughly a 55m week for me and I would do it again in a heartbeat

Paved road but a nice view of Avalon and the harbor.

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!

Monday, December 12, 2016

Met some great people on the trail, both locals, hikers and tourists.

I walked it round trip in five hours. Really enjoyed it. Lots of open scenery and a beautiful beach at Parsons's Landing.

Saturday, November 05, 2016

Spent a few days in Catalina a couple of times. Biggest surprise was car controls and lack of sand. This is a nice little crowded walk... The best scenery on this one was all the beautiful boats that are moored in the bay.

Easy stroll on a improved trail/road. Views throughout, Parsons cove is a terrific spot to spend the night, never saw another person during out December hike around the island.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

As others have mentioned in previous reviews, the Trans Catalina Trail is 37.2 miles according to the conservancy. Though, I would say we hiked about 50 miles total on this trip.

5 days to complete
Day 1: Hiked to Blackjack campground
Day 2: Blackjack to Airport in the Sky to get a buffalo burger and stock up on water. Continued hiking to Little Harbors. *Stay at campground #12, the best! Closest to water
Day 3: Little Harbors to Two Harbors (only passed through this city to recharge, ate at the restaurant, had
drank buffalo milk, and replenished our bladders) Hiked to Parsons Landing. *If you think day 1
was hard, wait for this 6mile hike.. up and down, bring trekking poles if possible).
Day 4: Camped at Parsons Landing in campground #1, the best one since you're secluded from the
others. Hiked at Starlight Beach and back, enjoyed a fire and a dip in the ocean. 2 nights here
Day 5: Hiked to two harbors, taking the trail hugging the ocean, easier. From Two harbors we took a
safari bus to Avalon, which was nice to see where we've been). From Avalon took the boat out.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Stopped at Catalina Island on a cruise. Walked the town and went on a tour of the island

Saturday, June 25, 2016

I had to give this 5 stars Even though I wanted to give it 3 HAHA!!! I Backpacked this trail in four days!
Avalon to Blackjack... Blackjack to Two Harbors... Two Harbors To Parsons Landing... Parsons Landing Back To Two Harbors.

First things first at least the mistakes and mishaps I made.
-BRING TREKKING POLES!!!! please just trust me on this one. I will never go anywhere with out them now because of this trip!! HAHA
-We did not realize that Avalon to blackjack would be about 17.5 miles.not including walking around avalon to check into the campsites... Almost everyone we talked to that had completed the TCT include the shortcut near the golf course that takes about 6 or 7 miles off the first day so PLEASE BE READY FOR AN INSANE FIRST DAY if you start from mile 1!!!!It was a lot with full packs
-On the First Day We ran out of water and luckily found water at a little playground near the reservoir not AT the reservoir. It really saved us but we wasted about 30 min looking for a spout at the viewing area and around the reservoir.
-Make sure to have a map and a compass we where pushed off trail a couple times because of an "Occupy TCT" by the bison and having basic compass and map skills really came in handy.

Day1 Avalon TO BJ
-17.5 miles.
-Awesome Views
-Toilets Smell... But are better than packing out waste!!!

Day 2 BJ to TH
13.6 miles
-Get lunch at the airport!!! Great pick me up!
-Wished we had stayed an extra day at Little Harbor
-AMAZING VIEWS probably the best of the trip

Day 3 TH to Parsons
-We Did not add the extra 9 miles RT to Starlight due to injury =( but Parsons is worth it so =)
-Big inclines bring trekking poles
-Amazing ridgeline views
-Fenceline trail is Crazy
-Parsons is So Beautiful

Day 4
- Take the coastline trail back towards emerald bay boy scout camp
-So Much Easier than Fenceline Trail and awesome coves and harbors

Friday, May 20, 2016

Wow! Beautiful, challenging-BISON!!! This trail is forever etched in my brain.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

First and foremost this trail is listed at 37.2 miles, not 16. I would describe this trail as between difficult and moderate depending on the shape your in and time of year your hiking it. That being said, this trail is awesome. The views and camp sites are hard to beat here in SoCal. Me and my friend did the trail in 4 days in April. What makes the trail so hard is there are next to zero switchbacks, and the elevation gain and loss is pretty gnarly. I wouldn't recommend doing this trail in the summer because there's almost no shade either. I plan to do this trail at least once a year because it's so cool.

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