Past Meetup

Catalina Island Backpack 3 days / 2 nights

This Meetup is past

19 people went

Location image of event venue




Organizer: Rick Sarpolus

Hike Difficulty: Intermediate, Level 7/10

Group Size: 24

Distance: Day 1: 13 miles; Day 2: 13 miles; Day 3: 12 miles

Elevation Gain: Day 1: 3500' ; Day 2: 3000'; Day 3: 2000'

Fee: $ 75 (includes camping fees. Prepayment is non-refundable.)

This event is a fundraiser. Your participation sustains US Hiking.

Boat Ticket: $ 75 (Catalina Express round trip ticket)

You will need to purchase a round trip ticket to Catalina Island from Catalina Express. Book the Friday, 11/6, 9am boat from San Pedro to Avalon. Purchase a return trip from Two Harbors to San Pedro for Sunday, 11/8, 4:15pm.

Payment date: Friday, 7/31

Trail condition: Single file trail/Fire roads, almost no shade

Catalina Island Images (

Water: 3 liters for each hike (Refill at campsite)

Guest: No

Dog: No

Weather Report: National Weather Service (

Liability Wavier: Required to RSVP. This is the link. (

Toilette: Blackjack Campground: Vault Toilette; Two Harbors Campground:

Showers: Outdoor shower at Blackjack Camp; Coin shower at Two Harbors

Parking: At Catalina Island Express boat terminal – San Pedro

Permits: Obtained by event organizer for a group of 24

Event Planning Spreadsheet (


What to bring & wear: Please refer to US Hiking Day Hike Equipment List (, Camping Equipment List ( and Organizer's Choice List (



Day 1 (Friday 11/6): We will take the 9am boat from San Pedro to Avalon which should allow us to start hiking by 11am. We will start from the town of Avalon, walk a mile up Avalon Canyon Road and pickup the Hermit Gulch Trail. The trail is a very steep uphill climb (1200' elevation gain in 1.7miles) with great views of Avalon Harbor. At the top we pickup the trans Catalina Trail which undulates all the way to Blackjack Campground where we will stop for the night (water, picnic tables, fire rings and chemical toilets). Distance will be approximately 13 miles with a total elevation gain of about 3,500'.

Day 2 (Saturday 11/7): From Blackjack we head towards Little Harbor first passing right by what remains of a small soapstone quarry as we near the airport (Native Americans inhabited Catalina Island for many years, and the soapstone bowls the created where highly-valued and traded as far away as Arizona). At the “Airport in the Sky” we can top off our water, grab a snack and use the restroom. From the airport it is a long steady descent to Little Harbor where we will have lunch and prepare for the long climb up the ridgeline. This section from Little Harbor to Two Harbors is one of the most beautiful, with amazing views of the rugged and little-seen west coast of Catalina. Camp at Two Harbors Campground (water, wood available). Two Harbors has general store restaurant. Coin showers available. The hike from Blackjack to Two Harbors campground is approximately 13 miles.

Day 3 (Sunday 11/8): Pack up camp (leave heavy gear and pickup before boarding boat in the afternoon)hike to Parsons Landing and back to Two Harbors. Approximately 12 miles. Take 4:15 boat back to San Pedro.


Venue Description:

The Trans-Catalina Trail stretches 37.2 miles from the Renton Mine Trailhead on the East End to Starlight Beach on the West End. It winds up hills and down valleys offering spectacular views across the 43,000-acre Nature Preserve of the Catalina Island Conservancy known as Catalina’s “Interior.” Hikers can enjoy the full length of the Trail.

Santa Catalina is a beautiful island located only 22 miles off the coast of southern California. Though Catalina is a short 90-minute boat ride away, it feels like another world. There are two small, quaint towns on the island -- Avalon and Two Harbors -- and the remainder of the island is primarily wilderness managed by the Catalina Island Conservatory.

The 37.2 mile Trans-Catalina Trail traverses the entire island, from Avalon on the eastern tip to Starlight Beach on the western end. The trail begins and ends outside of town, so your total mileage is over 50 miles.

The Trans-Catalina Trail is relatively young, officially opening in April 2009. Most sections of the trail follow established trails or roads, but some sections are new and have rarely seen the bottom of a hiking boot.

Then length of the trail lends itself to hiking over four or five days. You must use established campgrounds, and the first day from Avalon to Black Jack is a long, grueling 15 mile hike. Because of the length of the first three segments and the steep hills and total vertical elevation gain, this is a very strenuous backpacking trip.


Our Mission:

To lift people up through hiking.

Our Policy:

We're volunteers: Your hike leaders receive no monetary nor in-kind compensation of any kind for organizing this event.

Waiting list priority: People who hike with with US Hiking regularly will be given priority when they are on the waiting list.

Advanced hikes: Anyone interested in participating in advanced hikes (>3,000' elevation gain or distance > 10 miles or Difficulty Level > = 7) will be subject to prescreening before his/her name will be added to the list. Therefore, interested hiker must share with the event host his/her recent hiking background to establish proficiency before his/her name will be added to the list. Guests are not allowed on advanced hikes.

Early departure: If a hiker needs to be separated from the group for any reason, he/she must inform the event host. Not knowing a hiker's where about may prompt the event host to report a hiker's missing to proper authority for further actions.

No show: If you sign up for an event but did not show up, you will be removed from the next event you sign up.



If you have prior medical condition or a family history of illnesses pertaining to heart, lungs, brain, etc. that can be aggravated by heat and physical exertion, this is not the hike for you.

If you have never done a hike of this distance or difficulty before, this hike will be very difficult for you. It may well be your death march. The mountain is not going anywhere. We will schedule this event again in the future. Do it when your mind and body are ready.

Hiking is a recreation, not a suicide mission.

Release of Liability:

The organizer (me) of this trip is a volunteer and is not a professional guide. The function of the organizer is only to organize this trip. Each person who signs up for a trip/hike/or outing is responsible for his or her own safety and the safety of his or her guests.

By signing up for this trip, or any other event organized by me, you are acknowledging that you are aware and have made your guests aware of the risks, dangers and hazards associated with any outdoor activity and freely accept and fully assume all such risks, dangers and hazards, and further agree to release and discharge the organizer (me) of this hike from and against any and all liability arising from your and your guest's participation in the group activities.

US Hiking, its organizer, assistant organizers, event organizers are not responsible for any injuries or accidents that may occur carpooling to and from this event, or for any injuries or accidents incurred before, during, and after this event. If you sign up or participate in an event you acknowledge that you freely and voluntarily agree to assume all risks of injuries and damages arising from, as a result of and associated with this event.

By participating in this event, you and your guests acknowledge that you have read US Hiking Liability Wavier (, fully understand its terms, understand that by participating in this event, you and your guests have given up substantial rights freely and voluntarily without any inducement.