Freaking brutal. Awesome sights. We saw quite a few bison, which im not going to lie, was super cool, but I did make my husband go first...you know, just in case. All in all, I was 6 months post having a baby...and I was stopping to pump every 4 hours...I was in terrible shape..and I made it! If I can do it...anyone can.

running
4 months ago

Nice trail, not much shade except in the morning. Beautiful views of the island and the California coast. We only did about 6 miles up the trail. Beautiful sunny day.

hiking
no shade
8 months ago

I recommend getting starting early - there is no shade and the sun can be relentless. Really fun hike with some strenuous stretches. Watch out for bison about 2/3 the way in - they can be dangerous and show up out of nowhere. Also, we did the new, shorter trail, which cut about 3 miles from the beginning. If you have the time, do the full hike!

The heat was brutal!

Holy crap do not do the east end road starting point! 17 miles from Avalon to black jack if you do it! Regretting it big time. 39-lb pack and a crying girlfriend. This trail finally ended! This is not the actual trans-Catalina trail. All trails is wrong, you should start out on hermit gulch trail/campground. We added a lot of extra miles, albeit the views were worth it. We were so sore we were about to tap out and take a shuttle back to Avalon to get drunk.

Most of the way was on a wide fire road and sometimes golf carts would drive by but otherwise we didn’t see anyone on the trail :) lots of wildflowers, some good elevation gain but not overly steep at any one point. Hope to do more of the trans-Catalina trail soon!

backpacking
no shade
Sun Apr 07 2019

This trail is absolutely fantastic right now after all of the rain we got. It’s greener than it’s been in a long time.

Amazing views! We did this trail in 3 nights. Forgot to start recording from Avalon to hermit gulch which would add about another mile and a half. Close encounters with bison on our way to Blackjack. Day 1 Hermit to Blackjack (could have kept going). Day 2 Blackjack to Two harbors. Got and early start and had breakfast at the airport. The views are the best on this part of the trail. Day 3 Two harbors to Parsons(drop off pack) then Starlight beach(very isolated-no access from roads if you need rescued) and back to Parsons. Very long, very steep, lots of slippery gravel. Poles are a must! The views from the top are crazy and Parsons beach camping is unreal! Day 4 was the easiest, made it back to Two harbors in about 3 hours.

Bison. So many bison. Bring poles. Plenty of potable water on this trail.

5 stars for the trail itself and 3 stars for how it is run. Sorry for the novel, but I know I love reading others' long reviews for these longer treks! I hoped to do the entire trans Catalina, but it was cut short with the trails closed from heavy rain. I didn't do the Little Harbor to Two Harbor section of this one on Alltrails, and instead did Avalon-Black Jack-Little Harbor-The Airport. Took a shuttle from the airport to Avalon. Little Harbor to Two Harbor is a relatively easier hike than Little Harbor to the airport (about the same distance, but the route back to the airport is all uphill), but the extra challenge with a trip cut short was welcomed. Basics: -Getting there: I left from Dana Point to Avalon on the Catalina Express. $75 roundtrip and only a $5 fee for changing your reservation once on the island. There is a Groupon for $45 for a company that goes out of Newport right now. I chose Catalina Express because they are dog friendly. For parking at Dana Point, you can either pay $14 per day or walk the extra 5 minutes to free street parking (there is plenty that allows for overnight with only street sweeping restrictions). I chose street parking and had no issues. -Count on buffalo sharing the trail with you and add that into your time. I saw more buffalo ON the trail than people (awesome! But really plan ahead for this with your timing). Most were just crossing, but 2 set me back a bit. One was laying in the middle of trail at a point where it was surrounded by cactus (too hard to get around, and ended up walking back to the road and using that a bit until it reconnected to the trail). The other was just on the other side of a high point and was a bit too close for comfort. He was leisurely going the same way, so I waited for about an hour until he was out of site and was mindful of where his tracks took him. Anyways, be especially mindful when coming over a high point and there was one small stretch between the airport and the Little Harbor where the combo of trees/quick turns made it difficult to see if one was close. For the most part, you'll be able to see them long before you're close. -February has perfect temperatures for hiking with a heavy pack and a dog. However, if rain is on the forecast for even a half of a day, consider canceling your trip. I'm used to thru hiking in rain and enjoy it... but made the mistake of underestimating how much it effects this island. Most of Little Harbor and Parson's Landing with be underwater, and they close the trails. Most of the roads on the island are also dirt roads, and are similar condition to the trails. I planned this trip a few days out from leaving, and not a single office I spoke to mentioned how effected the island is from rain (with rain definitely on the forecast when I made the reservation). When making reservations for the campsites, they didn't mention that 2 of my planned campgrounds are underwater after a rain. I didn't know until a ranger told me the night before it was supposed to rain. Hope someone can learn from my mistake! -For campgrounds during the week this time of year, you don't need reservations and I would recommend not making them in advance. Just make sure your phone has enough charge to make a reservation online. There is a $10 online/phone processing charge and $19 per person in off-season. There is no option to make reservations in person and the $10 charge is unavoidable ($4 if you are calling on the day of). They said you were required to have a printed version, but in reality the email confirmation would have done the job. If I had been traveling in a group, $19 per person would have been grossly overpriced (for example, expect moldy toilet paper during off season). As a solo thru traveler, the price was well worth it for the access to water and the friendly ranger at Little Harbor that gave accurate information on rainy conditions. No extra charge for a dog at either site I stayed at. Calling around to get information was more of a hassle than other trips I've had. Everyone has a different answer and then it varies from what the website says... the few other campers at the campsites shared the same frustration. Expect even more variation for dog friendliness policies. Dog friendliness: -Catalina Express allows dogs with a muzzle at no extra charge. Dogs are allowed in the cabin and on the deck. The boats aren't anywhere near capacity this time of year, so he had room to sprawl out under the seats. -The entire trans Catalina trail is dog friendly. You will find buffalo on the trail, so obviously be mindful of if you trust your dog not to react and give an even wider birth. -I couldn't get a consistent answer on dog-friendly campsites. On the phone, the reservation agents were positive dogs weren't allowed at any sites but also said that the conservancy makes the policies. The reservation website would say dogs allowed, and the confirmation email said in bold letters that no dogs were allowed. The conservancy to

hiking
no shade
Sat Jan 26 2019

we did the entire Trans Catalina Trail, this is day 1. Read that we can't bring fuel on the ferry, but no one ever checked. Please note that the grocery store does not have the correct fuel, you must go a block over to Chet's Hardware store. it's a fantastic building so well worth it. Walk thru town a ways before getting to the trailhead. Parts of the trail are not marked very well, so pay attention. 1st big uphill has a nice pergola at the top and a great spot to stop for lunch. YES, there is a bathroom up there but you have to walk past the pergola before you see it. Made it almost half way thru the hike before I saw a buffalo and then I seem to have one around every turn. And they love to stand on the trail so you either wait or go around them. The last 2 miles before camp seemed to be a bit newer and not marked well. camp #1 was fantastic for our 4 tents. Thunder and lightning and rain that night but we had no issues. another sight had their tents flood. next day you are off to the airport!

Brutal and Beautiful.

Hot. When I hiked on October 20th and high temp was 80, it felt like 100. No breeze, no shade. The trail was mostly fire road and sometimes the tour jeep full of people went by. We hired for our gear hauling from Avalon to Blackjack - we were so glad for that. We found that now Trans-Catalina trailhead is at Avalon center where Conservancy was and Hermit Gulch trailhead was Trans-Catalina trailhead. We decided take old Trans-Catalina trailhead where Renton Mine Rd was - 2 miles from Avalon center and few more additional miles. I wish we took Hermit Gulch trail. We ended up hiking16.5 miles to Blackjack in hot weather. I thought I would pass out one point. We saw quite few bisons on the way. I had to go around one bison because she/he was right on the trail. Blackjack camp site was very limited camp site. It seems they were trying to expand - some heavy equipments and derbies were there. I really did not love this trail except bisons. I don't think I will hike this trail again.

The Trans Catalina Trail can be extremely hot in the summer months. If you are going to be hiking in the summer and are worried about the heat and difficulty of the trail. I would highly recommend looking into gear haul services for the more strenuous portions of the trail. All your backpacking gear is delivered directly to your campsite and you can bring extra water/food/drinks/firewood. 310-913-9036 with Catalina Backcountry

excited to make the Trans Catalina Trail my official first overnight Backpacking trip. I know it will be hot and beautiful!!! Currently, doing it solo.

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 ;).

11/21-11/24/17 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.

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! ⛺️

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!

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.

hiking
Mon Jul 24 2017

https://www.catalinaconservancy.org/index.php?s=visit&p=hike_the_trans_catalina_trail For the actual current trail information and permits.

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!

Great hike, beautiful views

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!

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