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Avalon, California, United States

Trans-Catalina Trail Day 2: Two Harbors

Day 2 of a 4-day backpacking trip along the entire length of Catalina Island.

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Difficulty: Difficult
Length: 13.6 miles / 22 km
Duration: Full day
 
Overview: Day Two begins with some roller-coaster hills that culminate at the Catalina Airport. Stop in for a souvenir or a quick bite, then enjoy the long downhill to Little Harbor.

Little Harbor makes a great place to break for lunch and prepare for the long, arduous 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.


Tips: This is another long day, but you could break it up by adding a night at the Little Harbor campground.

Plan for lunch in Little Harbor (bring your own; there are no

Plan to stop at the restaurant in Two Harbors for a well-earned meal. The bar menu is reasonably-priced.

Points of Interest

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[JCT] Look for the TCT marker on the left

As you hike out of Black Jack campground, you will turn right at the road, and in a short distance, the trail begins again on the left side. Watch carefully for the Trans-Catalina Trail markers; they can sometimes be easy to miss.
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Soapstone Quarry

Native Americans inhabited Catalina Island for many years, and the soapstone bowls the created where highly-valued and traded as far away as Arizona.

The trail passes right by what remains of one a small soapstone quarry as you near the airport.
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Catalina Airport & Cafe

The airport is worth a short detour off-trail, if only to rest your feet, enjoy a snack on the patio or pickup a souvenir.

Wander around and you'll see many historical photos of Catalina on the walls.
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[JCT] Turn left at the TCT sign

You'll turn left at the Trans-Catalina Trail sign and being a long, steady descent to Little Harbor
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Little Harbor Campground

This harbor campground is less active than the one at Two Harbors. There are fire rings, BBQs, picnic tables and chemical toilets.

This is a good place to top off your water for the long uphill ahead.

ALTERNATE: Spend a night here and turn the trip into a five-day backpacking adventure.
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[JCT] Climbing Up The Hill

Look for the TCT trail sign near the restroom on the north boundary of the campground. You'll quickly begin climbing for some spectacular views of the rugged west coast of Catalina.

This section of the trail has arguably the most beautiful views.
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Enjoy the View

The views from this ridgeline are breathtaking. It's a long, dry trail with some precarious bluffs.

Take your time, and stop once in awhile to catch you breath and soak in the views.
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[JCT] The Road into Two Harbors

Follow this road straight into the quaint little town of Two Harbors. Stop at the visitor's center at the beginning of the pier to pickup your permit for Parson's Landing and a key to the locker.

There are coin-operated showers available along the right side of this road near the pier.
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Visitor Center

At the visitor center, you can pickup keys for your firewood at both the Two Harbors campground and Parson's Landing campground (Day 3).

The campground is about 1/4 mile east of the town, right along the cove. Campsites have picnic tables, water and chemical toilets. This is a popular campground and often has noisy groups.

In town there is a general store for supplies and a restaurant. Enjoy a buffalo burger and a cold beverage from the bar menu.
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Two Harbors Campground

The Two Harbors campground is large and bustling with activity, especially on weekends. Because of it's close proximity to the pier and ferry service, many people come here just to camp, and some to party.

The campsites are terraced into the hill with their own rocky beach. There are chemical toilets, potable water, BBQs and picnic tables.
Pictures in this guide taken by: jeffhester, kavinga

Trans-Catalina Trail Day 2: Two Harbors Trail Map


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About the Author

jeffhester
jeffhester
20 guides
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I live in Southern California, where most people are completely unaware of the hundreds of great hiking...

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