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Cat Harbor Overlook Trail On Catalina Island – A Complete Guide

If you’re looking for the perfect place for stunning sunset shots, Cat Harbor Overlook Trail on Catalina Island will take you there. Here’s all the info.

How To Get To Catalina Island

Catalina Island (also known as Santa Catalina Island) is one of California’s Channel Islands and lies south west of Los Angeles.

Ferry

Two ferry companies offer daily departures over to Catalina Island from Los Angeles and the trip takes roughly an hour.

Catalina Express has daily departures from San Pedro, Long Beach and Dana Point to Avalon and Two Harbors.

Catalina Flyer has daily departures from Newport Beach to Avalon.

Both can be booked in advance online or at the kiosk and cost around $80 per adult for a return ticket.

We stayed in Two Harbors at the Two Harbors Campground which is roughly a 45 minute hike to Cat Harbor Overlook Trail.

For those short on time, or that prefer everything to be organised for them, there are some awesome tours on Get Your Guide available to book in advance.

Cat Harbor Overlook Trail Entrance Fee

It’s free to visit the Cat Harbor Overlook Trail.

Two Harbors Catalina Island
Arriving at Two Harbors ready to explore the island.

Cat Harbor Overlook Trail Opening Times

Cat Harbor Overlook Trail is open all day, every day.

Cat Harbor Overlook Trail Catalina Island
Kylie happy with the weather.

Best Time To Visit Cat Harbor Overlook Trail

This trail is a popular activity on Catalina Island so expect to meet a few other hikers especially on nice days and at weekends.

Hikers on Catalina Island need to obtain a hiking permit from the Catalina Island Conservancy. This is free and can be obtained online or from the Visitor Information Services at Two Harbors.

This is a dog friendly trail although dogs are not allowed on the campsite if camping.

I recommend heading up for sunset if you can as the view is incredible and it was one of the most memorable moments of my LA trip.

What To Pack

Photography Camera

Tripod

Day Bag

Power Bank

Reusable Water Bottle

Sunscreen

Lightweight Rain Jacket

Cat Harbor Overlook Trail Catalina Island
Setting off for the hike from our campsite.
Cat Harbor Overlook Trail Catalina Island
All smiles at the beginning of the trail.

What To Expect At Cat Harbor Overlook Trail On Catalina Island

Sitting at 950ft above Two Harbors, Cat Harbor Overlook Trail covers just over 2 miles to the summit and is quite steep, especially the first part.

From Two Harbors, you head east up Banning House Road, past Banning House which was built in 1910 by the Banning brothers who once owned the island.

When you come to Cat Harbor Overlook Road you follow this undulating road until you come to a ridge and the end of the trail. Here you’ll find a flat area to relax and take in the spectacular vista.

The Viewpoint

Standing at the Overlook, the stunning views look out over much of the middle and western parts of Catalina Island with its rugged mountains standing proudly.

In addition, looking down, you will see Lobster Point jutting out and Cat Harbor with all the small white yachts bobbing in the shimmering blue water of the Pacific Ocean.

We visited on a beautiful sunny day and waited for sunset which was absolutely stunning and well worth the climb and the wait!

Aside from that honestly this was one of the best things to do in Los Angeles with friends.

Plus coming back down to the campsite and lighting the fire afterwards was a memory I’ll hold forever!

If you have time after your , I’d recommend getting over to Catalina Island.

Cat Harbor Overlook Trail Catalina Island
A rough idea of the incline to expect.
Cat Harbor Overlook Trail Catalina Island
Resting place half way up.
Cat Harbor Overlook Trail Catalina Island
Getting higher.
Cat Harbor Overlook Trail Catalina Island
The race against sunset.
Cat Harbor Overlook Trail Catalina Island
Having some fun chats on the hike.
Cat Harbor Overlook Trail Catalina Island
Somebody got creative with the barbed wire.
Sunset Cat Harbor Overlook Trail Catalina Island
First impressions of the viewpoint at Cat Harbor Overlook Trail.
Sunset Cat Harbor Overlook Trail Catalina Island
Kylie was clearly happy with the view.
Sunset Cat Harbor Overlook Trail Catalina Island
Making ourselves at home on the picnic bench.
Sunset Cat Harbor Overlook Trail Catalina Island
Quick selfie from the viewpoint.
Sunset Cat Harbor Overlook Trail Catalina Island
Resting and taking it all in.
Cat Harbor Overlook Trail Catalina Island
Food stop before the colours set in.
Two Harbors From Cat Harbor Overlook Trail On Catalina Island
The view back down looking over Two Harbors.
Sunset Cat Harbor Overlook Trail Catalina Island
Paul getting those sunset shots.
Sunset Cat Harbor Overlook Trail Catalina Island
Incredible settings from Cat Harbor Overlook Trail
Sunset Cat Harbor Overlook Trail Catalina Island
One final glimpse at the sunset.
Sunset Cat Harbor Overlook Trail Catalina Island
Always make time for a polaroid.

Camping On Catalina Island

Staying overnight on Catalina Island is one of my favourite memories from all of my visits to California, so if you can I’d recommend leaving some time at the end of your Los Angeles itinerary for it.

Camping is only permitted in the five designated campgrounds – Hermit Gulch, Black Jack, Little Harbor, Two Harbors and Parson’s Landing.

We decided to pitch our tents at the Two Harbors campground, just half a mile from the village of Two Harbors. The cost to camp is roughly $30 per night.

Two Harbors is a secluded village located on the west end of the island that has a grocery store, a restaurant and bar.

All camping options give you access to showers, chemical toilets, fresh water, picnic tables, BBQs and fire pits.

Two Harbors Campground Catalina Island
Trekking our gear over from the ferry port to Two Harbors Campground.
Two Harbors Campground Catalina Island
The campsite is literally on the coast.
Two Harbors Campground Catalina Island
An example of the set up.
Two Harbors Campground Catalina Island
Leftover pizza before the hike began.

Where To Stay In Los Angeles

Luxury

The Beverly Hills Hotel – Dorchester Collection

Known as ‘The Pink Palace’, this luxury hotel on Sunset Boulevard features the full-service La Prairie Spa and a beautiful outdoor pool.

Downtown Beverly Hills is just 1 mile away.

The bright and elegant rooms of The Beverly Hills Hotel feature marble bathrooms and 2 TVs.

There is also a minibar, coffee maker and ironing facilities included.

The Polo Lounge at the hotel is a popular dining place for celebrities.

Mid-Budget

Clean Modern Room

Clean Modern Room features accommodation with a shared lounge, free WiFi and a shared kitchen.

The air-conditioned homestay also offers a flat-screen TV, a seating area, washing machine and a bathroom with a bath and a shower.

Beverly Hills is a great choice for travelers interested in food, shopping and restaurants.

Budget

Empire Inn

Empire Inn is located in Los Angeles, just 5 miles from the centre.

It provides air-conditioned rooms with free WiFi and all rooms include a wardrobe and a flat-screen TV.

South Los Angeles is a great choice for travellers interested in tourist attractions, sunshineand beach walks.

For other places to stay in Los Angeles, you can check the latest prices on Booking.com.

Planning Your Trip

Book Your Flight

Use Skyscanner to find a cheap flight.

They search websites and airlines around the globe to find you the best possible routes and prices.

Book Your Accommodation

Use Booking.com to find the best accommodation deals.

They consistently return the cheapest rates on everything from guesthouses to hotels for all of your budget needs.

Don’t Forget Travel Insurance

Use SafetyWing to find the best travel insurance for you.

They provide travel and medical incident insurance built specifically for digital nomads.

Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations.

Book Your Tours & Activities

Use GetYourGuide to book your activities in advance.

They sell the best tours, excursions and activities to attractions around the world.

Conveniently book, download and access your tickets on the move all from your mobile.

Book Your Rental Car

Use RentalCars.com to find the best deals on rental cars in the area.

They compare all major car rental companies and allow you to easily book the perfect vehicle for your trip.

Buy Those Last Minute Bits

Use Amazon to buy everything you need for your adventure.

They offer next day delivery and you can use my travel packing checklist to make sure you haven’t forgotten anything.


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Cat Harbor Overlook Trail Catalina Island