Route: Trans-Catalina Trail (CA)

California, US
38.6 mi
Vertical Gain
9,150 ft

The Trans-Catalina Trail used to run the length of Santa Catalina Island, from Avalon to Starlight Beach at the north end of the island.  Its northern end was rerouted to make transportation easier, so that now the trail goes to Parson's Landing and loops back to Two Harbors.  The 2012 FKT listed for Aaron Flynn was for the old route, which seems to have been ~ 1.5 miles longer than the current route.  The official route is shown on this map.


I know it's auto-populated by Strava, but doesn't the Trans-Catalina Trail loop back from Parson's to Two Harbors, and not continue to Starlight beach?

They changed it a few years ago.  It used to end at Starlight Beach.  Logistically, should be a better & easier now.  Ending at Starlight was pretty brutal;  you had to hike another 10 miles or so back to Two Harbors.  

Where is the official finish now that the trail has changed? If it ends at Two Harbors that adds about 3.5 miles compared to the old finish at Starlight Beach. I'm okay with it adding a bit of mileage, just want to make sure I'm finishing at the right spot before making an attempt.

I'd say lets just call the old FKT valid, but for future reference let's follow the official trail and loop back to Two Harbors from Parson's instead of going to Starlight. That also means that (if you'd prefer) you can complete it going southbound as well, doing the Parson's loop at the beginning. I don't think that's too objectionable.

I enjoyed this discussion, I have looked and questioned this myself. If someone runs this following the new official trail, let's make sure Peter gets notified with a fresh GPX file to update this map with

With stoke,



Yeah, absolutely. I'll be giving it a run either this weekend or the next (I'll post up when I find it) but there's numerous differences from the route Aaron took. The official route now goes up Avalon Canyon to Hermit Gulch, which shaves a few miles off, then adds a little more back by going down Big Springs Ridge Trail instead of of Sheep Chute Road. And, of course, there's the re-route at Parson's Landing back to Two Harbors instead of going out to Starlight. To be honest, I think the new route is a little shorter in total by about 1 mile or so but a little more technical.

Rachel Entrekin and I will be making a run at our genders' respective unsupported FKTs on 8/29/2020, starting in Avalon at ~7am, staggered by 30 minutes for the solo times, once the 6am ferry from Long Beach comes in. We'll be doing the new official 38.5 mi route per the Catalina Conservancy's official map (link below), so going up Avalon Canyon to Hermit Gulch and going down the Big Springs Ridge instead of Sheep Chute, as well as doing the loop from Two Harbors. It should be a little shorter than the 2017 route. I'll send in an updated GPX file as well for the page.

-Ian Seabury

We had some... shoe related difficulties that resulted in us starting much later than intended and Rachel calling her attempt at Little Harbor.

I pulled 6:42 on my attempt. Should be enough of a gap to put the questions about the new course at bay. 

Rachel and I hit up the TCT again on Saturday, this time absent shoe-related difficulties. I came it with 6:13:30, Rachel was somewhere around 7:25. Lot nicer weather this time around, and started much earlier after spending the night at Hermit Gulch.

I got to spend the last week out on Catalina Island, hiking with some friends from Avalon on the TCT and running around each day. The logistics didn't work out for me to try for the FKT as we ended in Two Harbors, but I got to run from Two Harbors back to Avalon and have such respect for those trails and the route. I'm curious if there is any history of TCT in the opposite direction or if there is an established time for the 25 mile Two Harbors to Avalon route. As the loc-dawg legend, I defer to you, but it seems like an awesome route and sensible to have another FKT option on these exceptional trails. Kudos on your efforts over the years, I'd love to make it back and give it an honest effort at some point.