Explore the most popular dogs on leash 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.

backpacking
18 days ago

This is no longer the official route for this trail. Check the Catalina conservancy website for the new and updated map. We loved this trip and would definitely do it again! I wouldn’t suggest doing in the summer when the temperatures are high because there was little to no shade along the trail.

hiking
1 month 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.

Gorgeous beautiful and spectacular hike. We backpacked this last weekend and saw whales breaching, a fox, a bison, a bald eagle, an Osprey ( not the backpack, haha). This hike was perfect for a first time backpacker, me, as it was mostly flat the entire way. If you do camp at the campground we preferred campground 2 over 1. Our group reserved both, but campground 1 was quite rocky. There were 3 spots on 1 that we're cleared, but campground 2 had lots of sandy spots to pitch a tent.

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

Great hike with great views once at the top. I am not an avid hiker but with plenty of water, some snacks and few stops on the way up it was very manageable.

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

backpacking
6 months ago

Did this trail at the end of April, which was just about too late in the season since the whole trail is exposed and it was getting hot. The scenery was absolutely stunning! I started at the mile 1 trailhead and didn't see another soul until mile 7. Very difficult elevation gain and loss, but totally worth it. Camped the first night at Blackjack and it was super windy; second night at Little Harbor which was a great site next to the ocean, seemed to be a favorite by boaters; night 3 was at Parsons, and by far the best campsite! It felt like it took forever to get there, but a serene place on the sand. The most amazing views were about two miles outside of Little Harbor on the trek out. Worst moments were the 3 mile stretch into Little Harbor. The trail was straight down! But overall, a wonderful experience.

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)!

Tough parts, but epic views!

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!!!

The trail is wide and kind to almost any level of hiker. The gradual ascent will put some sweat on your brow, unless you run, then it'll challenge even those beasts who love mountain gallops. from the center of town round trip was just at 6 miles and just under 2 hours at a steady pace.

trail running
9 months ago

I came into the island on a cruise ship and took the first tender boat over for a morning run. For those in this same situation, the total distance from dock to the top and back is 6.5 miles. I ran through the town of Avalon and made my way up the road toward Wrigley Memorial and botanical garden. The entrance is $7. Cool cacti in the garden and the memorial was beautiful. The trail starts at the memorial. There is not a lot of shade going up. The trail is wide, but covered in pebbles. I didn't have my running shoes, so my feet suffered. The view from the top is nice, you can see the ocean on both sides of the island from there. It was a great run to work off some of that cruise ship food and drink.

Spectacular views! Hot and dry, bring plenty of water

hiking
10 months ago

An easy trail that pass the quarry, stunning view.

DO NOTuse the downloaded map on the site to navigate from blackjack to Little Harbor it veers off of the trans Catalina trail and takes you through a very difficult trail that takes you from mountain tops to riverbeds constantly. stay on the official trans Catalina trail !!!!! You will also encounter Buffalo at numerous points on this detour including herds of 30 to 50 in number, quite concerning at times.!Other than that ,the downloaded map is awesome! When you see the wooden sign saying trans Catalina trail as you leave blackjack for little harbor take it !!!!!!!!!!!!! Conversely leaving from Little Harbor going to black jack stay on the ridge top which is the trans Catalina trail DO NOT take the highlighted portion on the downloaded map that takes you down to the right By a bunch of worksheds and industrial equipment go straight up the ridge which is not highlighted in red this is the trans Catalina official trail that will take you to the airport. The detour that is highlighted in red looks much shorter do not take the bait !!!!!!!!!! You can make it from Black Jack to the isthmus in one hike but is not recommended, do yourself a favor and spend an overnight at little harbor. you will get there around 3 o'clock with plenty of time to set up take a swim in the ocean and enjoy the beach!!! pre-ordering would for any of the sites is a huge plus and recommended. Fantastic trail definitely in my top three things to do in California!

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.

11 months ago

Backpacked from Hermits Gulch to Blackjack- one nite. BlackJack to Little Harbor. - one nite. Watch out for Buffalo on the trail to Little Harbor. We had to bushwack around the buffalo standing on three trail. Also some hikers with a dog spooked the bufflo5 and the hikers ended up in cactus. From Little Harborbwe hiked to 2 Harbors- one nite. Took a shower there. 2 Harbors also has washer and dryer. From 2 Harbors to Parsons for 2 nites. Be sure to order your water and wood for Parsons when you book the campsite. There is no drinking water there. Don't miss out on a hike to Starlite Beach - 6 miles from Parsons. A Beautiful secluded Beach.

hiking
11 months ago

Awesome hike with great views but at times long steep uphill. The signage is not obvious in some parts of the trail- so take a map. We missed the trail twice and had to backtrack. Once at Wriggly park and the other before airport.

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!

Monday, April 10, 2017

Did this in cool weather so we had a great time. Pretty exposed trail so I wouldn't recommend doing it when it's very hot. Steep climb but worth the views!

Friday, March 31, 2017

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

backpacking
Monday, March 27, 2017

Instead of heading all the way to the north tip, we cut down to Two Harbors and packed kayaks for a 2 day 1 night return to Avalon. Stayed at Goat Harbor and it is by far the best boat in site. We have done this trip (TCT + kayaking) a few times and always had a great experience. Must book boat in campsites ahead of time as well as kayaks as the company which operates out of Descanso Beach will drop them off at two harbors and take any extra gear back to Avalon via the kayak delivery truck.

hiking
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.

hiking
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!

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

walking
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.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

start from wrigler memorial. it is an easy n fast walk of 1.5 miles uphill. reach summit n can either move to hermit gulch track or east side of the catalina. view is great.

backpacking
Sunday, October 02, 2016

Great to use as a return trail from Parsons landing to Two Harbors.

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.

backpacking
Thursday, September 08, 2016

My favorite backpacking trail in Southern California. It's my annual birthday trip (free roundtrip on the Catalina Express if you arrive on your birthday, must register beforehand).

To get the most out of your trip. Take it slow.

I like arrive early and make camp at Avalon's Hermit Gulch Campground for our first night. This way we can kayak, SUP, snorkel, etc for a whole day before we start our hike.

Wonderful coastal views until you get deeper into the island and are greeted by herds of Bison and the endless sight of Catalina's rolling hills.

Our most favorite spot on the island is Little Harbor. If your time window allows, spend a night there and do some rock jumping into the ocean.

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