The Trans-Catalina Trail

Set sail after the winter rains have stopped and before the summer fog rolls in, your destination is the island port, mist-shrouded and remote, much like its namesake, Avalon. From the enchanting town of Avalon traverse the island along the 40 mile Trans-Catalina Trail to the small village of Two Harbors.

The journey takes you through rolling hills to reveal panoramas of the Pacific Ocean and overnight camps on the secluded harbors. Your spirit guide might be the North American bison that freely roam the island; legend tells they were brought for filming of Zane Grey's 1924 feature film, either The Vanishing American or The Thundering Herd. Observe the wildlife, including the northern mockingbird, northern elephant seal, blackbuck antelope and the Santa Catalina Island fox, uniquely found on Catalina Island.

The island and trail are largely protected by the Catalina Island Conservancy.
Length: 38.5 miles
Highest Elevation: 1,775 feet
Total Elevation Change: 9,600 feet
Recommended Time: 2-5 days

Direction of Travel

Although the most common route is from Avalon to Two Harbors, I would recommend traveling the other direction. There are more ferry sailings from Avalon which makes completing the trip at that town easier to schedule. Take the higher Silver Peak route to Parsons Landing on the first day. The second day follows the West End Road back through Two Harbors for a second night or on to Little Harbor. From there, head south through Blackjack Campground and Hermit Gulch and on to Avalon as pace desires.


Catalina Airport Climate Graph

Catalina Airport Climate Graph

Campsite Reservations

Campsite reservations are required and disperses camping is not allowed. In total, there are five possible campgrounds: Hermit Gulch Campground (near Avalon), Black Jack Campground, Little Harbor Campground, Parsons Landing Campground, and Two Harbors Campground. The campsite reservations for the entire year become available for booking on January 1st, at 12:01 am, pacific time.

Water Sources

Although there is little water along the trail, drinking water is available at all campgrounds except Parson’s Landing. You only need to carry enough for the trail between campsites. Lockers at Parsons Landing can be purchased when you make your camping reservations; these contain 2.5 gallons of fresh water, as well as firewood and starter. Water can also be found at Haypress Reservoir and the Catalina Airport shop.

Island Transport

  • Catalina Airport could provide a landing spot for some flights.
  • Catalina Express offers the most sailing from Long Beach and a few from San Pedro and Dana Point.
  • The Catalina Flyer offers a daily sailing from Newport Beach to Avalon.
  • During the summer, the Cyclone Power Boat runs between Two Harbors and Avalon.
  • Catalina Taxi and Tours, operating from Avalon, allows you to schedule 4 or 7 person taxis around the island and even to Two Harbors.
  • Catalina Island Conservancies Wildlands Express operates around Avalon and the airport, but does not travel as far as Two Harbors.

  • Difficulty: Easy/Moderate
  • Length: 38.5 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 9,600 ft
  • 1,775 ft
  • Land Manager: Catalina Island Conservancy
  • Parking Permit Required: None
  • Recommended Party Size: 8
  • Maximum Party Size: 20
  • Maximum Route/Place Capacity: 100
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