BISON-SPOTTING AT SANTA CATALINA ISLAND'S TWO HARBORS

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SUMMARY

TRIP · 3-day camping trip
FOR · Friends & first-time campers

VIBE · Challenging & fun

COST · $$$
DRIVE · 30 minute drive from LA & 1.5 hour ferry ride

RESERVATIONS · Yes, book a campsite at Two Harbors Campground and ferry tickets from Catalina Express
IDEAL DATES · October - February (off-season & cooler weather) 
PETS · Not allowed at camp

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WHY SANTA CATALINA ISLAND?

It's an iconic island getaway packed with enough amenities that'll make any camper feel at home. Catalina's white sand beaches and sparkling ocean views are only a 90-minute ferry ride from Southern CA. Once you arrive at Avalon, the island's main hub, or Two Harbors, the more remote option, you can go kayaking, surfing & snorkeling, and sign up for adventures like a zip line eco tour, a 32-foot climbing wall & a seasonal falconry experience. Two Harbors Campground even has a fee-based firewood, grocery, and camping gear delivery service so you can swank it up or go DIY. This island has it all.

· Directions to San Pedro Ferry Terminal

· Official Visit Catalina Island Website
·
 Map of Catalina Island Hiking Trails

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BOOK AN OCEANVIEW CAMPSITE AT TWO HARBORS CAMPGROUND

There are five designated campgrounds on Catalina Island: Hermit Gulch (closest to Avalon), Two Harbors, Little Harbor, Black Jack & Parson's Landing. There are also eight boat-in campsites accessible via boat or kayak. Unlike most parks, Catalina Island charges a nightly camping fee per adult or child so it's important to know how many people are actually camping in your group. Two Harbors isn't as bustling as Avalon, but there are 47 tent sites, 13 tent cabins & 2 group sites available. There's also a General Store where you can rent camping gear and get ice delivered to your campsite for $35. 
 

Check-in: After 2 PM | Check-out: 11 AM

Quite hours: 10 PM - 9 AM

Per adult nightly fee: $27 to $30


View map of campgrounds

CAMP

EACH CAMPSITE COMES WITH:

- A picnic table

- Fire pit & BBQ ring

- Space for up to 8 to 12 people

- Drinking water (on site)
- Trash collection (on site)

- Restrooms (on site)

- Showers (on site)

Thousands of years ago, the Tongva tribe called the island Pimu, and referred to themselves as the Pimugnans

 

ITINERARY

DAY ONE
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CATCH AN AFTERNOON CATALINA EXPRESS FERRY FROM SAN PEDRO TO TWO HARBORS

- Located at Berth 95 in San Pedro (at Swinford and Harbor Boulevard)

- The only direct ferry to Two Harbors is from San Pedro, otherwise you'll have to stop at Avalon

- Reserve a round-trip adult ticket for $76. It's a 75-minute ferry ride. 

- Each passenger can bring up to 2 pieces of luggage no more than 50 lbs each

CHECK-IN & SET UP CAMP AT TWO HARBORS CAMPGROUND

- Set up your tent & familiarize yourself with the campground

- Swing by the Two Harbors General Store to pick up any last-minute essentials. Store prices are more expensive on the island, but it's convenient! 

- General Store Hours:

  • Sunday, Monday, Wednesday: 8:00 am - 5:30 pm 

  • Tuesday and Thursday: 8:00 am - 2:00 pm

  • Friday and Saturday: 8:00 am - 6:00 pm
     

COOK DINNER, START A CAMPFIRE, AND TREAT YO'SELF TO SOME S'MORES

- Enjoy your first night on Catalina Island!

Spanish explorer, Sebastián Vizcaíno, arrived on the island on the eve of Saint Catherine's day (Nov. 24) in 1602, and renamed the island in the saint's honor

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STUFF YOU NEED TO KNOW

If you're not camping, reserve a free day-use hiking permit online from the Catalina Island Conservancy

🐿️

Two Harbors is the only campground on the island without food storage boxes so store your food in sealable coolers & containers to keep the critters away! 

🦬

There are about 150 bison roaming around the island. Watch them from afar, and learn how to stay safe when you spot one

🌙

Stay near camp after dark because night hiking is prohibited

🚗

Overnight parking at San Pedro ferry terminal is $20 a day per vehicle

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DAY TWO
MAKE A QUICK BREKKIE & HIKE TO PARSON'S BEACH

- It's a 14-mile round-trip loop, with 2,654 feet of elevation gain

 

- If you go clock-wise, the western side of the loop is hard & steep with stunning views, while the eastern portion is flat and easy.

 

- Bring plenty of water because there aren't any spots to resupply your water until you return on the eastern side of the loop. 

 

- This trail is largely exposed so bring your sun gear too!  

 

- Keep an eye out for bison on this trail because they like to roam in the interior of the island. If you spot one, don't feed or touch it!

BASK IN AN OCEAN VIEW LUNCH ON PARSON'S BEACH​ 

- Nosh on your favorite snacks & chill after the morning hike.

RETURN TO CAMP & CHILLLLLLL

MAKE DINNER, DESSERT & STAR GAZE AROUND THE CAMPFIRE
- Enjoy your last night at Santa Catalina Island

DAY THREE
HIKE TO UPPER BALLAST POINT FOR A SUNRISE HIKE

- It's a 4-mile round-trip hike with 1,023 feet of elevation gain from Two Harbors.

- From the top you'll be able to see a view of both harbors

- Bring your headlamp, water bottle, dress warmly & download an offline trail map to stay on track while hiking before sunrise.

RETURN TO CAMP TO MAKE BREKKIE & PACK UP BY 11 AM

- Cook up brekkie & pick up any pieces of litter around camp

CATCH THE FERRY BACK TO SAN PEDRO!
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GEAR

ESSENTIALS
CLOTHING
ACCESSORIES
 
 
DAY ONE
DAY TWO

Dinner

CHICKEN PAD THAI

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DAY THREE

Dessert

S'MORES

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FOOD

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PAY IT FORWARD LIKE BEZZI

Your outdoor experiences helps people have a safe & memorable time in nature. Share your knowledge about Santa Catalina Island below & tag us @bewilder_camp if you used this itinerary!

LAST UPDATED: November 24, 2021

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