Trans Catalina Trek

Registration Closed







7 days/6 nights

Rating: Strenuous

Max Capacity: 20

$1250 Non-Member Price

$1225 Coastwalk Member Price

Rarely offered 7-day supported trek of the entire Trans Catalina Trail  

Hike rugged Catalina Island end-to-end surrounded by wildflowers, roaming herds of bison, secluded beaches, endemic plants, hilly terrain and spectacular views while carrying only your daypack.  Let experienced leaders guide you on this 7-day, 6-night excursion while we transport your gear and provide you with hot morning beverages and post-hike appetizers.   You will cover roughly 60 miles, with daily hikes of 6-12 miles ending the day with a campfire or evening educational programs including a night sky astronomy demonstration and talk by the Catalina Island Conservancy. Trip cost includes round-trip ferry from the mainland, camp sites, gear haul, a private tour of the USC affiliated Wrigley Marine Science Center and its hyperbaric chamber in Two Harbors, an afternoon of kayaking in Little Harbor or an ocean swim, a visit to the historic Airport in the Sky, a walk through Wrigley Memorial & Botanical Gardens, and time to explore the charming town of Avalon with a hosted dinner on the last evening.  

Rating: Strenuous Trip Leader approval required.  

Max capacity 20 



Guided, strenuous hiking, average 9 miles (shortest day 6mi., longest day 14 mi.) with elevation gains/losses; 7 days hiking/6 nights camping.  One hosted  dinner in Avalon on our last evening together, opportunities for you to purchase dinner at Two Harbors on May 18th at Harbor Reef restaurant & lunch at Airport in the Sky DC3 Grill on May 20th, and breakfast in Avalon on May 23rd-the remainder of meals not included. 

 20 capacity

 Walkers must meet fitness/hiking experience requirements set by hike leaders.

 One of the best parts of the trip is that your gear will be hauled from camp-to-camp. You will only need to carry your day pack with Dayhike necessities such as water, snacks, extra clothing, & sun protection. This is something you will really appreciate as we climb those Catalina hills. Evening appetizers are provided each evening.  There will be a day at the end of the trip to explore the quaint town of Avalon, with its museums, botanical garden, nature center, shops and restaurants.   You will work hard, you will learn a lot, and we hope you will enjoy this unique outback island adventure.

 Types of Hiking Surfaces:

Hardpacked dirt, often abandoned dirt roads; some rocky areas, sandy washes and single-track trails; dangers: poison oak, rattlesnakes, bison, weather (heat, rain, cold, sun).

Elevation Gains & Losses:

Average 2,500 ft elevation gain/day; significant daily elevation gains and losses; this is considered a strenuous hike.

Day 1, May 17, 2020, Sunday (6 miles +/-)

  • Description: 11:00 A.M., meet at the Catalina Express ferry terminal, Berth 95, San Pedro, CA. We will board the 12:30 P.M. direct ferry, for the 1 ¼ hour ride to Two Harbors.  In Two Harbors there will be time available to purchase snacks (although generally not enough time to purchase/eat lunch), beverages, or souvenirs at the General Store.
  • Hike: Two Harbors to Parson’s Landing campground, approximately 6 miles along West End Road (coastal route.) We will get an opportunity to view many beautiful coves, see a variety of private camps, and enjoy the vistas to the mainland.
  • Appetizers: Provided by Coastwalk
  • Dinner: In camp; self-provided food and cooking.
  • Campfire: Get Acquainted Bingo
  • Campsite: Parson’s Landing. We will be camping on the beach and pitching our tents in the sand.  Campground amenities include picnic tables, fire rings and porta-potties.  There are no shade structures or running water.  Bottled water will be available for cooking and drinking.  No shower facilities here, but you can jump in the ocean!

 Day 2, May 18 2020, Monday (12 miles +/-)

  • Description: Big hike day. Rugged, steep climbs in the backcountry with fantastic ocean views.  After a challenging day of hiking, you may want to enjoy a hot shower, explore Two Harbors, swim, snorkel or just relax in paradise.  Opportunity to purchase items at the General Store, just be aware that they close early in the evening.
  • Hike: Parson’s Landing towards Starlight Beach and back to Two Harbors via the Silver Peak Trail. This will be our longest and most challenging hike.  Another great day for views, plant identification and lots of uphill hiking.  There is an optional, and very short, side trip to “bag” Silver Peak, elevation 1,804 feet, tallest peak west of Two Harbors.  Hike is approximately 12 miles.
  • Appetizers: Provided by Coastwalk
  • Dinner: Dine at the Harbor Reef Restaurant & Saloon, no host, or cook in camp.
  • Campfire: Your favorite stories
  • Campsite: Two Harbors.  Campground is located approximately ¼ mile from town, on a bluff.  Amenities include picnic tables, running water (potable), shade structures, fire rings, outdoor cold showers, and porta-potties.  In town, hot showers are available with 25 cent coins, and there are flush toilets.  Wonderful beach for swimming, snorkeling, exploring or relaxing.

Day 3, May 19, 2020, Tuesday (8 miles +/-)

Description: In the morning we will take a half hour walk to Big Fisherman Cove for a private tour of the USC affiliated Wrigley Marine Science Center (confirmation pending), marine wildlife petting tank and hyperbaric chamber, if available. Returning to Two Harbors (but w/o the opportunity to shop), we continue our hike along the TCT to Little Harbor.  Enjoy an afternoon of kayaking, swimming, exploring or relaxing.

  • Hike: Two Harbors to Big Fisherman Cove, returning to Two Harbors for our continued hike along the TCT to Little Harbor. Enjoy spectacular views of the backside of the island, hike along single track trails high above the ocean to the spectacular park like oasis of Little Harbor.  Approximately 8 miles of hiking.
  • Kayaks: Kayak(s) are provided for your enjoyment in exploring the coves in and around Little Harbor.
  • Appetizers: Hosted by Coastwalk
  • Dinner: In camp; self-provided food and cooking.
  • Campfire: Catalina History, ranger led talk
  • Campsite: Little Harbor.  This beautifully situated campsite has been rated as “One of the Best Campgrounds in the West” by Sunset Magazine.  We will be camping on grass near the beach.  Amenities include picnic tables, shade structures, running water (potable), porta-potties, fire rings, and outdoor cold showers.

Day 4, May 20, 2020, Wednesday (7 miles +/-)

  • Description: This is the first day where it is likely that we will see bison, so have your camera ready. We will enjoy lunch (no host) at the Airport in the Sky’s DC3 Gifts and Grill.  In addition to wonderful gifts, this establishment is well known for its buffalo burgers and “Killer Cookies.”  Allow time to visit the Nature Center at the Airport in the Sky to view the ceramic tile map of the island, historic displays and other items of interest.  After a well-deserved break, we will get back on the TCT and hike to Blackjack.
  • Hike: Little Harbor to Blackjack via the TCT, with a wonderful lunch stop at the Airport in the Sky café. We will climb from sea level to 1,600 feet before lunch.  Leaving the airport, we will walk through a nature area that includes a 2,000 year-old soapstone quarry with bowls excavated by Catalina’s first residents.  There will be more inclines and declines as we approach the campground.  Once we reach camp, there will be an optional hike to Blackjack Mountain (elevation 2,012).  Approximate distance is 7 miles (does not include mid-afternoon peak).
  • Appetizers: Hosted by Coastwalk
  • Dinner: In camp; self-provided food and cooking.
  • Campfire: Catalina Telestrations
  • Campsite: Blackjack. This campground, at 1,600 feet above sea level, is nestled among pine and eucalyptus trees near the foot of Mt. Orizaba (no public access to peak), Santa Catalina Island’s highest peak and Blackjack Mountain. This campground offers tranquility in the island’s interior.  Amenities include a unique dining table, shade from trees with fog drip at night, running water (potable), porta-potties, fire rings, and an outdoor cold shower.

Day 5, May 21, 2020, Thursday (11 miles +/-)

Description: Another rugged hiking day through the island’s interior.  Hopefully we will have the chance to see more wildlife including bison, island fox, hawks, and perhaps eagles.  We should have more spectacular views this day as we pass near the Catalina Island Conservancy’s volunteer housing.  Once we reach Hermit Gulch we have arranged for an educational talk from a Catalina Island Conservancy staff member. I anticipate that this will occur while we all are enjoying afternoon appetizers.  Time permitting, you may want to visit the Wrigley Botanical Garden or the Nature Center at Avalon Canyon (both located a very short distance from our campsite), or go into town and explore Avalon’s charm.

  • Hike:Blackjack to Hermit Gulch campground in Avalon. We will continue our TCT hike in the interior of the island.  Lunch will be at a nice playground/picnic facility in the island’s interior.  Running water (potable) and porta-potties are available.  After lunch, as we get closer to Avalon, we will have a spectacular view (weather permitting) of Avalon Bay.  From this high ridge we will drop steeply (approximately 1,000 feet in 1.5 miles) into Avalon canyon to our campsite at Hermit Gulch.  Daily mileage approximately 11 miles.
  • Appetizers: Hosted by Coastwalk
  • Dinner: Dine in Avalon, no host, or cook in camp
  • Campfire: Campfires are not permitted in Hermit Gulch.
  • Campsite: Hermit Gulch. This campground is Avalon’s only camping facility and is located up a canyon approximately 1 mile from the beach and town center.  Trolley buses are available, for a nominal fee, to shuttle you back/forth from Hermit Gulch to Avalon if you so choose.  This night we will be pitching our tents on hard packed dirt.  The many trees in camp provide ample shade.  Campground amenities include running water (potable), flush toilets, picnic tables, and coin operated warm showers.

 Day 6, May 22, 2015, Friday (10 miles +/-)

  • Description: We may begin hiking earlier today, enjoying our breakfast on the trail (trail mix, bars, etc.). We will hike from camp, hopefully through the botanical garden (pending permission), up to the top of a ridge reconnecting with the TCT.  We will continue along the TCT, up (by now you will know what “Catalina downhill” means) and up as we hike another section of the island few people visit.  If the weather is cooperating, we may even see San Clemente Island.  Enjoy an afternoon exploring Avalon.  For ideas on what to do and see, please refer to the “Resources” tab on Coastwalk’s Trans-Catalina Trail trip webpage.
  • Hike: We would like to leave camp earlier today, so as to allow you ample time later in the day, in which to enjoy Avalon. As with most days of hiking on Catalina, we will begin by going uphill!  We will pass East Mountain and East Peak, as we hike on some ridges high above Avalon.  We will have more spectacular views of the backside of the island.  Hiking distance is approximately 10 miles.
  • Dinner: Enjoy the company of new friends as we celebrate your accomplishments. Coastwalk will be hosting this Mexican buffet dinner at MiCasita Restaurant.  No-host happy hour will begin at 6:00 P.M., with our hosted dinner beginning at 6:30 P.M.  CELEBRATE!
  • Campfire: Campfires are not permitted in Hermit Gulch
  • Campsite: Hermit Gulch. Enjoy relaxing as we spend another night at Hermit Gulch.  This will be a refreshing change, from the daily tent set-up and take-down.

Day 7, May 23, 2020 Saturday

  • Description: Pack up in the morning and have a few more hours to explore Avalon without having to lug your pack/bag around. Our gear will be picked up at 9:30 A.M. and shuttled to the ferry landing.  We will all meet at 11:50 AM by the ferry landing to collect our belongings and take the 12:35 A.M. Catalina Express ferry to San Pedro. 
  • Hike: No scheduled hike.
  • Activities: The choice is yours; have a leisurely breakfast in town, walk the promenade, shop for souvenirs, etc. listing of additional resources, on the Coastwalk Trans-Catalina Trek website, will assist you with planning your free time in Avalon.
  • Departure: 12:35 P.M. ferry to San Pedro, with group meeting at 11:50 A.M. by the ferry landing to collect our belongings.

Packing:  The Catalina Express (ferry to Catalina) is very conscious of luggage restrictions:

Each person may bring 1 pack OR duffle bag limited to 50 lbs. (23 inches by 23 inches by 36 inches) to be stored in the ship’s hold for the crossing.  Your pack or duffle bag must hold all your camping gear (tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, food, cooking and eating utensils) and clothes, etc.  As you pack, think “backpack light”.  In addition to your 1 pack or duffle bag, each person may also carry a daypack or fanny pack on board the ferry.  You will use your daypack/fanny pack for our daily hikes.

The ferry baggage loaders are not very careful with how they stack and stuff the hold, so prepare accordingly (nothing fragile, no glass, etc.…).  If you have a small lightweight camp chair you might fit it inside your duffel/pack.  The ferry baggage handlers get the last say if something doesn’t look like it will be sturdy enough.

The good news is that our camp-to-camp hauling will be done by a commercial gear-hauler; however, you will still need to be able to carry your pack or bag up to 100 yards as you will be carrying your gear onto the ferry to the baggage hold, off the ferry to the gear haul pickup location, and from the drop point at each campground to your individual camp sites.

Just bring the essentials, what you need will make you more comfortable than bringing all that you want.  Since we will be spending most of our trip in the remote areas of Catalina, you will want to pack lightly as though you are backpacking in the wilderness, because in many ways we are.

You will be provided with a more detailed list of items once you have registered. 

  • Duffel Bag (23 inches by 23 inches by 36 inches) large enough to carry necessary gear plus one group item and not weighing more than 50 lbs.
  • Sleeping bag- 3 season bag (to 40 degrees) and sleeping pad
  • Tent with ground cloth and rain fly
  • Stove
  • Fuel (must purchase fuel at Two Harbors General Store) – Store Number: 310.510.4217 (Call to ensure that your fuel type is available). <No fuel canisters are allowed on the ferry.>

Camp Fuels Available

    • 16oz Benzomatic propane
    • 8oz Butane
    • Ronson Butane 1.5oz (Lighter/small refill)
    • 1 Gallon Coleman Camp fuel
    • 16oz/32oz lighter fluid
    • MSR IsoPro
  • Ground squirrel or fox proof canister or tear proof bag (REQUIRED)
  • Eating/cooking utensils- fork, spoon, plate or bowl, thermal cup
  • Sunscreen, hat, sunglasses, chapstick, flashlight, extra batteries, pocket knife
  • Biodegradable soap, toothbrush, paste, small roll of toilet paper or wipes
  • Insect repellent, and any first aid or medical supplies you personally need
  • Comfortable hiking boots or hiking shoes (broken in), camp sandals for night and water shoes for swimming
  • Bathing suit
  • Clothing- thin layers, long pants, extra socks, windbreaker
  • Water bottle(s)
  • Camera
  • Notebook and pencil, binoculars, reading material
  • Headlamp or flashlight with extra batteries
  • Hiking umbrella (optional but recommended for sun protection)

Cea Higgins:

The Executive Director of Coastwalk, Cea has focused her career on education and coastal advocacy. She taught at the elementary, middle, high-school, & junior college levels. She was the Policy & Volunteer Coordinator for Sonoma Coast Surfrider Foundation for 2 decades. To improve her ability to advocate for coastal preservation, she earned a Juris Doctorate with honors in 2016 focusing on ocean policy. Cea was selected by NOAA to serve on the Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council as the Sonoma/Mendocino Coast Community-at-Large Primary representative.  She is a founding member of the Bodega Bay Collaborative, which sponsors town halls, community forums, and provides a voice to unincorporated coastal areas. Cea also helped establish the Sonoma County Marine Protected Areas Collaborative, where she works with scientific institutions, environmental NGOs, and tribal governments to raise awareness of the value of marine protected areas amongst coastal residents and visitors.  An avid surfer, hiker, and trained in marine mammal and sea bird rescue, Cea believes in giving back to the ocean that she cherishes and sharing its wonders so that others will work to advocate for its stewardship.  

  Connie Ayers:

Connie is retired from a career in Family Medicine and has been catching up on following her passion for hiking, backpacking, and pursuit of nature in all its manifestations.  She has hiked, and backpacked the John Muir Trail, the Grand Canyon and Havasupai, sections of the Colorado Trail, many sections of the High Sierra trails, Trinity Alps, Desolation Wilderness, as well as her homelands of Point Reyes and Tamalpais State Park.   She led a private group of backpackers on the Lost Coast a few years ago and was so inspired by the experience that she lead the Lost Coast Trip for Coastwalk in 2019. 

Gia Whalley:

Gia participated in her first Coastwalk in 2016 on the magnificent Lost Coast Backpacking trip, was immediately hooked and has joined Coastwalk each summer since – Shady Dell, San Mateo, Del Norte. Although she has hiked in Ireland, Greece, and the Camino de Santiago in Spain (the best part reaching the Atlantic after 500 miles) she has loved every section of the California coast especially when it presents challenges and obstacles which it invariably does. The adventurous spirit of the walkers has resulted in some amazing friends, shown here with Janis trekking across beautiful Catalina Island on their own in the summer of 2018. The comradery with fellow hikers and superb leaders is what enhances the beauty of each walk. Gia feels very fortunate to have a boat in Marina Del Rey and a home in the Santa Monica Mountains where she hikes regularly and where she has frequent views of Catalina when leaving the canyon