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Trans-Catalina Trail, CA

May 31 - Jun 7, 2021 -- $1450 ★★

Off the coast of California lies an other-worldly island called Catalina Island. Catalina Island is extremely close to Los Angeles physically but worlds away in temperament. We will be backpacking the entire 38.5 miles of a hiking route called the "Trans-Catalina Trail" which traverses the entire island and features all-day views out to the Pacific Ocean.

The island is full of wildlife, some of it unexpected such as bison. Others like the Island Fox are common on other nearby islands such as Santa Cruz in the Channel Islands. Plus there are the usual charismatic megafauna like Eagles, California Sea Lions and Mule Deer along with more than 40 species of birds.

Our trek will visit Two Harbors (Catalina Harbor, Isthmus Cove), Parsons Landing, Little Harbor, Airport in the Sky, Black Jack Campground, Haypress Recreation Area and Avalon. You're right, nobody knows what these are.

What a great way to get away just before Summer begins. If you have ever wanted to hike on Catalina Island, this is the trip for you. Why not join us for an unforgettable week?


Weather is always an important concern when hiking. The Pacific Ocean moderates the temperature. Expect daytime hiking temperatures in the high 70s / low 80s with nighttime temperatures in the 50s. However, be prepared for the possibility of day temperatures as high as 100, with a chance of passing afternoon thunderstorms. Here is a site that displays historical weather for the island. Make sure to bring sun protection and water containers that add up to 8 liters of capacity.

Trip Leaders

Steve Silberberg
Don Johnson


$1450 per person double occupancy. Here, double occupancy means that you will share a room with another participant during the 2 hotel nights. You will also be responsible for transportation to and from Los Angeles (LAX), personal equipment, restaurant meals eaten off the trail (including one meal at Airport in the Sky) and any gratuities for guides.

Covered expenses include 2 hotel nights, round trip ground and water transportation from Los Angeles to San Pedro to Catalina Island, 6 days of trail meals (except for 1 dinner), permits, campground fees and awesome guides.

Important Notes

June can be hot on the island! There are few trees along the interior of the island so we may hike many hours in direct sunlight with temperatures in the 90s. Bring a wide-brimmed hat and long-sleeve sun protection. Along the coasts, expect it to be much cooler because of the proximity to the Pacific and its ocean breezes.

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Guides for this trip
Important Note
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Monday, May 31, 2021

Fly into Los Angeles Airport (LAX). The best time to arrive is between around Noon-3PM. However, if you can save a substantial amount on your flight by arriving at say, 11AM or 5PM, then do so.

Take the free airport shuttle to local hotel Hilton Los Angeles Airport, 5711 W Century Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90045, 310-410-4000

Equipment shakedown. We go through all your stuff to make sure you're properly outfitted.

"Before" measurements taken

Trail mix distribution, Covid pending

Trip to REI, 1800 Rosecrans Ave, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266, (310) 727-0728, for forgotten or last minute equipment. Hours 10:00 am – 9:00 pm

Go out for welcome / introductory dinner (Dinner not included in trip cost)

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Early (5AM?) wake-up, we must be at the ferry terminal today by 7:45AM

Second set of "before" measurements taken

All the items that you won't bring on the trail will be set aside and put in storage. Try to keep this to a small amount of stuff or at least consolidate it into 1 bag.

Ground shuttle to San Pedro to the Catalina Express, 95 Berth, San Pedro, CA 90731, 310-519-1212

We will either eat breakfast in the shuttle vehicle(s) or have a free hotel breakfast

Board the 8:45AM ferry for Two Harbors, Catalina Island.

Arrive at Isthmus Cove, Two Harbors, Catalina Island, elevation sea level

Stow food for the last 4 days in critter-proof "fox-boxes" so that we don't have to carry it all an extra 14.3 miles. As the campground is out-of-the-way in the wrong direction, we may find an alternate "in-town" place to stash food.

Fill all water vessels with potable water as there will be no water at camp tonight nor tomorrow until we return here

There is a lot of mileage today, but it's relatively flat and primarily goes along a dirt road (with great views)

Start Hiking at Two Harbors, elevation sea level

Hike 0.2 miles to the Trans-Catalina Trail

Hike 2.8 miles to Lion Head, elevation 200'

Hike 4.7 miles to Parsons Landing, elevation sea level

Camp at Parsons Campground, elevation sea level. There is no water here

Miles today: 7.7. Total miles: 7.7

Possible Bail-Out: Two Harbors

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Hike 6.6 miles up and over Silver Peak to Two Harbors Campground. The elevation along the way is formidable: 1900'

Camp at Two Harbors Campground, elevation sea level. There is reliable water here

Miles today: 6.6. Total miles: 14.3

Possible Bail-Out: Two Harbors

Thursday, June 3, 2021

Hike 5.3 miles to Little Harbor Campground. The elevation along the way goes up and over 1200'

Little Harbor is an isolated, picturesque campsite with lots of opportunity to explore on our "short day"

Camp at Little Harbor Campground, elevation sea level. There is reliable water here

Miles today: 5.3. Total miles: 19.6

Possible Bail-Out: Little Harbor

Friday, June 4, 2021

Hike 6.1 uphill miles to Airport in the Sky, elevation 1550'

Airport in the Sky has a restaurant called DC-3 Gifts and Grill, which currently features this menu,

DC-3 Gifts and Grill closes at 4PM. We fully expect to arrive by 2PM so we will eat our dinner here. Dinner is not included in trip cost.

Note: We will provide and prepare lunch-type items tonight, along with hot drinks and dessert.

Hike 2.1 miles to Black Jack Campground, elevation 1500'. Along the way, the trail will dip to about 1150' and climb up and over 1650'.

Camp at Black Jack Campground, elevation 1500'

Miles today: 8.2. Total miles: 27.8

Possible Bail-Out: Airport in the Sky

Saturday, June 5, 2021

Hike 5.1 up and down miles to Haypress Recreation Area, elevation 1350'

Have lunch

Hike 4.1 downhill miles to Hermit Gulch, elevation 250'.

Camp at Hermit Gulch Camp, elevation 250', reliable water here

Miles today: 9.2. Total miles: 37.0

Possible Bail-Out: Hermit Gulch

Sunday, June 6, 2021

Hike 1.5 downhill miles to Avalon, elevation sea level

End of hiking. Congratulations, you have just thru-hiked the Trans-Catalina Trail!

Miles today: 1.5. Total miles: 38.5

Avalon is pretty touristy so you can hang around in-town or do a bonus 2.6 mile round-trip day-hike (no pack) to Pebbly Beach if there is time

Take the 10:30AM ferry back to San Pedro arriving at 12:30PM

Shuttle back to Los Angeles

Check back into local hotel Hilton Los Angeles Airport, 5711 W Century Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90045, 310-410-4000

After measurements taken

Dinner and awards Ceremony. Dinner not included in trip cost.

This is the official end of the trip. You are welcome to spend the night at the hotel, however if you drove and would like to get on the road or if you flew and would like to schedule a late flight (or a red-eye if this is a West Coast trip) you can definitely do so.

Monday, June 7, 2021

Take Free Airport Shuttle

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