Happy New Year!
To me, the New Year always feels like a clean slate. There is so much more hope and excitement for the unknown. The last few years have definitely held more negative than positive, but this year has the potential to be so much better! The joy and indulgence of the holiday season also tend to present the issue of an expanded waist line, so I have decided to put together a list of my favorite walks/hikes in and around the lovely town of Avalon for all of us who are determined to make this New Year a healthier and more active one.
Morning walk along the waterfront.
This is a leisurely walk that follows the waterfront. The beautiful part of this particular activity is that it can be as long or short as you desire. The beachfront is quiet and calm in the early morning. If you so desire, or if it is winter and rather chilly out, there are a number of coffee shops along the way that open at about 7 am. To follow the entire waterfront one can begin at Descanso club, following the path up and around the Casino and continue on all the way past the docks to Buffalo Nickel, just under a 2 mile trip.
Mt Ada Loop
The Mt Ada Loop is a more difficult and true hike. Around 3.4 miles long, this loop starts off walking along the waterfront, from the downtown area along Pebbly Beach Rd then turns uphill. Once you get near the power station, turn up Wrigley Road for the steep uphill climb. Along the way you will get beautiful views of the hills and the ocean. Continuing along Wrigley Road, will take you all the way to the peak of Mt Ada and right past the Wrigley Mansion and its grounds. Your decent will take you down the mountainside and pop you out right on Clareissa Ave and right back into town. This hike is absolutely amazing for either sunrise or sunset.
Country Club Loop/Descanso
Starting out at the Descanso Club, follow along the waterfront around the Casino and take a sharp turn once you reach East Whittley Ave and follow that up a hill to where Las Lomas Drive and Country Club Drive. Country Club Drive will take you a bit further up the hill to the Catalina Island Golf Course in the Country Club complex. Originally built for the Chicago Cubs training, the building and golf course are a fun pit stop to explore. From there a set of stairs will lead you down to Tremont Street. Following that you will be dropped off down back at the waterfront, completing the loop. Starting at Descanso will make for a 1.4 mile track while starting at Whittley Ave gives about a .5 mile loop.
Botanical Gardens Path
This path is an up and back trail along Avalon Canyon Road. At a round trip of roughly 3.5 miles at a slight uphill then back down, this is a moderate level hike. It will take you past several great stop off points for a break. First you will be taken past the Catalina Island Golf Course as you make your way up on your left side, a great way to see the majority of the golf holes, and then just past that the Wrigley Bird Park on your right. As you continue uphill you will start to see those who choose to camp on Catalina Island. The Botanic Garden is nestled in right near the Hermit Gulch Campground. The Garden itself is a product of Wrigley Jr’s wife, Ada. With plants from all over the world, it has been meant to showcase the islands endemic plants.
Catalina Chimes Tower
Looking over the Casino in Avalon, the Chimes Tower offers some of the best views around. Starting off on Vieudelou Ave, you can turn either way on Chimes Tower Road. Going to your left will take you further up the hill and through a bit of the Catalina “back country” before turning and bring you back around to the ocean. Here you will be able to view both the Chimes Tower and the Zane Grey Pueblo. You do stay on paved road the entire way with switchbacks to keep the incline manageable. This Loop is roughly 2.3 miles.
The Trans Catalina Trail
The Trans Catalina Trail is just what it sounds like, a true hiking trail that follows the spine of the island. I just wanted to mention this particular hike because it is one of those bucket list items that anyone who regularly visits Catalina should strive to accomplish. This is a multiday adventure spanning roughly 38 miles with several campgrounds and ranger stations along the way, this trail does require permitting so make sure to hike responsibly!
As a whole, I am sure we all want to be a bit more active this year. These hiking and walking paths are a great way for you to enjoy the islands natural scenery and get the heart rate up!
Happy New Year! Here is to 2022!
For maps of the described trails please see: