Escape the busy city life of Southern California for a long weekend getaway that will feel like you have been transported to rustic, tropical paradise as you hike the Trans-Catalina Trail on Catalina Island.
Escape the city for a peaceful and challenging through hike on the Trans-Catalina trail that will immerse you in southern california’s natural beauty. Perfect for intermediate and avid backpackers who need a quick escape into nature from Los Angeles and surrounding cities.
To get even more information, please visit the Catalina Island Conservancy Website.
Catalina Island, located off the coast of Southern California, is home to native wildlife, breathtaking cape views, and bison. The trail follows the Ridgeline and offers countless ocean views in a rustic backpacking setting.
Along the 38.5 mile long Trans-Catalina trail backpackers can expect a challenging hike that offers varying elevation gain and hike in camping along the trail.
This backpacking trip takes an average of 3-4 days to complete and is perfect or intermediate backpackers or individuals who only have a long weekend to devote to a backpacking trip. Throughout the trip individuals will hike up and down peaks while they take in the expansive views of the pacific ocean and camp on the beach in Parson’s landing.
If you are overwhelmed by the hustle culture of the city, escape to Catalina to challenge yourself and recharge in nature.
The landscape on Catalina Island can be full of drastic changes. You will hike a mountainous terrain with both canyon and ocean views while also passing small towns and a 2,000 year old soapstone quarry. As you continue along the hike, you will also hike down to beaches and harbors. Throughout the hike you’ll be able to see beautiful examples of local animals and plants as you explore untouched nature. Since much of the island is explored only on foot, bike, or golf cart, you will be able to witness the untouched beauty that is Catalina Island.
This trip can be taken year-round, but the best time to hike is in the late summer to early fall since the weather will be cooler than the hot summer months.
The Trans-Catalina trail travels from the southern point of Avalon Bay to the northern point of Parsons Landing. Throughout the trip backpackers summit at Airport in the Sky and stay at the secluded campsites of Little Harbor Campground and Parsons Campground. Hikers then follow the coastline to end in Two Harbors.
Backpacking is a challenging endeavor and is one that takes a good amount of preparation. Be sure that you feel confident in your ability to hike while carrying a pack full of your essential gear. Be aware of your physical strengths and weaknesses before starting the trip and always be sure to do research about the place in which you are hiking before you begin your trip.
While there is a lot to prepare, backpacking can be one of the most rewarding trips you can take. Pushing your physical limits and accomplishing the undertaking of packing in and packing out all of your gear can be a truly rewarding experience. Plus, backpacking allows you to access more remote areas of nature which allows you to immerse yourself in beautiful untouched environments.
Hikers can expect to see a range of animals while on the trail, including bison. Bison were brought to the island in the 1920’s for a movie and a small herd we left on the island. If you encounter a bison while hiking, keep at lease 150 feet away to ensure your safety.
You must be able to hike long distances for three to four consecutive days while carrying a backpack that can weigh up to 30 pounds.
You must be able to navigate a variety of trails that vary in elevation gain
With balanced muscle strength in your calf and thigh muscles, you will be able to carry more weight in your backpack for longer periods of time.
For individuals with no prior gear, backpacking gear can cost anywhere from $1000-$5000. Yet, much of the gear you need can be bought used for a cheaper price.
Plan for 3 meals per day plus snacks averaging about $10 per day.
When choosing freeze-dried boil-in-bag meals, the cost is about $5 per meal for an average of $15 per day.
The ferry to Catalina Island is $76 round trip.
Camping costs $29 in the summer and $27 I the winter with holiday costs at $30 per night.
Hiking permit is free.
Becoming a conservancy member gives you 50% off your camping on the island.
If you’re new to thru-hiking, you might hate the hike halfway through. But you can’t wait to go back!
Yes! You can bring anyone that would enjoy backpacking. It is a more strenuous activity, so definitely keep that in mind while inviting friends to join you.
People of all ages can enjoy this trip.
There are bathrooms located on the Trans-Catalina trail map and throughout the hike.
See Notes on transportation in the Finances & Budget section.
See notes in the “Where and When to Go?” section.
There are no guided tours for the entire hike, but some may be available for the day hikes on the island.