Overview: An easy 5 mile loop hike on Catalina Island starting from the Hermit Gulch Campground 2 miles outside of the city of Avalon.
Warning: There is poison oak along the trail and also rattlesnakes in the area. If you stay on trail you should have no contact with poison oak.
History: The Wrigley Family (think chewing gum, Chicago Cubs, Wrigley Mansion in Phoenix etc) bought control of the island in 1919. In 1921 William Wrigley Jr. began selling lots on the island in Avalon. In 1929 He had The Casino (greek for gathering place) built, which was a massive Art Deco dance hall and theater, at the time the 140' building was the tallest in Los Angeles County. Catalina Island was also the home of the Chicago Cubs Spring Training facility from 1921-1951. In 1924 14 Bison were brought to the island for the filling of Zane Grey's "The Vanishing American", they were left on the island after the making of the film and have populated since. At one point there were 600 Bison on the island and the conservancy sent many back to the mainland to keep a healthy 150-200 herd on the island.
Permits: Permits are required for any hiking or mountain biking on the island and are available from the Catalina Island Conservancy for free. Philip Wrigley gave control of his 88% of the island to the Catalina Island Conservancy to control and preserve the island.
Hike: The hike begins at the top of the Hermit Gulch Campground and begins climbing switchbacks up to a ridge. On clear days I imagine there would be nice views the top, the day I hiked it, the weather was rather overcast. Once on the ridge it follows the ridge for a little while, then starts descending back down a fire road. The hike finishes at the Wrigley Memorial Botanical Gardens. There is a $5 fee to enter the gardens but is free for hikers if you start at Hermit Gulch. I'm not sure if they would make hikers pay the fee if you do the hike in the other direction. Just down the road from the gardens is the Hermit Gulch Campground which was your starting point.
Shuttle to TH: The is a shuttle that runs from middle of town to the campground or the memorial gardens that is $2 each way and will save you 2 miles of road walking. We took the shuttle up, but walked by down.
Water: The is NO water along the trail, but there is water at both the Hermit Gulch Campground as well as the Wrigley Memorial Botanical Gardens.
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.