Hiking in Catalina Island
Catalina Island hiking is perhaps the best way to truly experience this gorgeous destination. The rugged interior and picturesque coastlines provide a wide array of trails that are suitable for people of all ages. There are difficult Catalina hiking trails around Mt. Orizaba, but there are also plenty of trails that are less challenging and better for just taking in the amazing scenery. You do not need a permit to explore the city of Avalon, but you will need to acquire a permit for hiking any of the Catalina Island trails outside of the town. The good news is there is no fee for the hiking permit. Normally, you will just obtain a day permit to hike on the island. You can find them at the Catalina Conservancy (located at 125 Claressa Avenue in Avalon), the Interpretive Center, which is near the Catalina Island Botanical Garden, or at the Airport in the Sky. You can also get trail maps for the island at the Catalina Conservancy.
There are a variety of different hiking trips that you can enjoy on the island, and not all of them are necessarily on Catalina hiking trails. One of the most popular shore excursions on Catalina Island is a walk around the city of Avalon itself. You can see most of the main attractions on the island, including the Catalina Island Casino, the most iconic and recognizable landmark on the entire island. You’ll pass by Lover’s Cove and Pebble Beach and get to drink in all of the beautiful sights and sounds of the Avalon Bay and the gorgeous harbor. You can turn your exploration in any direction, whether to the Botanical Garden or any of the shops or other sights along the way. From late spring to early fall you will find that the entire island is buzzing with excitement. One of the fun things about Catalina Island hiking during this time is finding a place to escape on your own. There are plenty of opportunities for this on some of the more challenging Catalina Island trails on the interior.
Another popular hiking itinerary is the hike from the Airport in the Sky to the city center of Avalon. You can make reservations to have an airport shuttle take you to the top (which is highly advisable) and then make the nine-mile hike back down into town. This is an incredibly scenic hike that features vistas of Mt. Blackjack, the Pacific Ocean, several beaches, and the rolling hills of the lush island interior.
It should be noted that there are Catalina Island trails specifically designated for mountain bikers and adventurous hikers. The Trans-Catalina Trail is 37 miles long and runs from length of the island. It is not for the faint of heart or those who are not in tip-top shape. You can also take guided hikes of the island along specific trails. You will be able to consult with guides and check trail maps to determine which Catalina hiking trails work best for you and your group.
Be sure to pack plenty of sunscreen and take lots of water. It is a small channel island but there are plenty of challenging trails and you will want to be prepared to keep yourself hydrated along the way.