Hike the Trans-Catalina Trail across Catalina Island

Avalon, as seen from the Trans-Catalina Trail

Objective: Hike across Catalina Island via the Trans-Catalina Trail, Catalina Island, California
Distance: 38.5 miles (one-way)
Highest Elevation: 1,760′
Elevation Gain: 7,900′
Difficulty: Strenuous

If you have a few days in Catalina, you can walk from side of the island to the other. The Trans-Catalina Trail is a rugged hike spanning three or four days across Santa Catalina Island. The route connects the island’s ridgelines, trails, and roads. You can stop each night at beachside campgrounds. If you are lucky, you may see a bison, Catalina Island fox, rattlesnake, or bald eagle along the way.

Trek Highlights

From Avalon, head southwest on Sumner Avenue. Turn left on Tremont Street and then right on Avalon Canyon Road. After Falls Canyon Road, you will see Catalina Island Golf Course on the left. At the end of Hermit Gulch Campground, the Hermit Gulch dirt trail follows a half dozen switchbacks up Avalon Canyon.
At Divide Road on the ridgeline, from Hermit Gulch Lookout, you can see the California coastline on a clear day. Turn right on Divide Road. On cloudy days, the fog rolls down the slopes on each side of the road. As you head north, you can see Avalon to the east.

After 4 miles in, I had to turn around. If you are hiking the entire trail across Catalina, the trail rises and dips for another 6.7 miles. Stop for the first night at Black Jack Campground.

The second day is about 13.5 miles to Two Harbors. You will pass Soapstone Quarry before climbing up to Airport in the Sky. You can camp at Little Harbor Campground, or climb another 1,000’ in over 5 miles until Two Harbors.

On the third day, you will climb Silver Peak Road up a 3-mile path for almost 2,000’. The descent down to Parson’s Landing will test your knees. Stay at Parson’s Campground and choose one of the side campsites for greater privacy.

On the last day, follow the coastline for another 8 miles to Two Harbors.

Red Tape

For day hiking on Catalina Island Conservancy property, obtain a free day-use permit here:

For multi-day hiking on Catalina Island Conservancy property, obtain camping permits here:


Catalina is 22 miles off the California coast, which is about one hour and fifteen minutes via high-speed ferry.

For ferry service from San Pedro, Long Beach, or Dana Point connecting to Avalon or Twin Harbors, take the Catalina Express:

For ferry service from Newport Beach connecting to Avalon, take the Catalina Flyer:


Trans-Catalina Trail
Avalon Canyon Road
Trans-Catalina Trail
Hermit Gulch Trail Is Steep
Half a Dozen Switchbacks
Trans-Catalina Trail
Hermit Gulch Lookout
Trans-Catalina Trail
Don’t Feed the Foxes
Trans-Catalina Trail
Be on the Lookout for Bison
Trans-Catalina Trail
Cacti-covered Ridgeline
Trans-Catalina Trail
Western Slopes
Cactus Bloom
Trans-Catalina Trail
Avalon to the East