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  1. #1
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    Catalina Island riding trails

    I have plans to visit Catalina Island next week for my birthday. Can someone please tell me what's the best loop to do there that will give me the best view/tour of the whole island in a day trip? I would prefer to climb and downhill out kind of loop if possible. Thanks!

  2. #2
    Bahahahaha!!!
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    Trail riding on the island is basically off limits. If you want to ride off road, you'll be on fire roads. Find a map of the island and you'll see where to ride, where to go.
    DJ may know servers, but he obviously doesn't know shit about car batteries in the southwest.

  3. #3
    CEB
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    Ride from Avalon to Two Harbors. Once there (33 miles on dirt road, plenty of elevation gain and loss along the way), get a cheeseburger and beer. Chill on the beach and jump on the 3:00 boat (bike is ok!) back to Avalon! Lots of great sights along the way.

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    I was thinking about this same thing last Sunday. What's the best way to get a bike to and from the island? Does the Catalina Express take bikes?

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    Quote Originally Posted by CEB View Post
    Ride from Avalon to Two Harbors. Once there (33 miles on dirt road, plenty of elevation gain and loss along the way), get a cheeseburger and beer. Chill on the beach and jump on the 3:00 boat (bike is ok!) back to Avalon! Lots of great sights along the way.
    Thanks that's the route I was planning to do.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mountain Cycle Shawn View Post
    I was thinking about this same thing last Sunday. What's the best way to get a bike to and from the island? Does the Catalina Express take bikes?
    Catalina Express is the one I'm going on, you just have to pay $7 to bring a bike. They are offering free round trip ticket on your birthday this year so that's why I am going.
    I was able to find 3 routes from the Catalina Grand Fondo ride from a couple of months ago:

    Geoladders -- Catalina Grand Fondo Middle Island Route
    Geoladders -- Catalina Grand Fondo Ridge Line Route
    Geoladders -- Catalina Grand Fondo Two Harbors Route

    I am still debating my ability to ride 50 miles with 8k elevation gain in 2 days.... since I will be carrying all my gear for overnight camping as well at two harbour or just stealth camping along the beach. I may just stick to the first route since it's manageable and still be enjoyable but it won't hit the two harbours as far as I can tell. Since I'm going on a weekday the earliest ferry is at 10am and I won't be getting on the island until noon and that cuts a lot of riding time out and the following day the last ferry leaves around 6pm.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mountain Cycle Shawn View Post
    I was thinking about this same thing last Sunday. What's the best way to get a bike to and from the island? Does the Catalina Express take bikes?
    They have a limit on how many bikes are allowed on each boat ride so make sure you get reservations before you head down there.
    DJ may know servers, but he obviously doesn't know shit about car batteries in the southwest.

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    Zombie thread.

    I'm thinking about doing this next Tuesday for my birthday. Any insights? I was just going to make it a chill one day ride. I was hoping to do out and back, but sounds like I might not have time in one day.

    I've done multiple 100 mile/10k climb days. That doesn't scare me. I just have that whole job/low budget thing.

    I've been in SoCal off and on for 26 years, never been to Catalina.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sidewalk View Post
    Zombie thread.

    I'm thinking about doing this next Tuesday for my birthday. Any insights? I was just going to make it a chill one day ride. I was hoping to do out and back, but sounds like I might not have time in one day.

    I've done multiple 100 mile/10k climb days. That doesn't scare me. I just have that whole job/low budget thing.

    I've been in SoCal off and on for 26 years, never been to Catalina.
    If it's your first time to Catalina, leave the bike at home. Do the tourist things for your first trip.
    DJ may know servers, but he obviously doesn't know shit about car batteries in the southwest.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hawg View Post
    If it's your first time to Catalina, leave the bike at home. Do the tourist things for your first trip.
    That is how I do the tourist thing.

    I went on a cruise to the Bahamas a couple of years ago with the family. I went for a run in every port call while they went and did what ever they did.

    I'm either running or biking, or not interested. Running for 20 or so miles is an option though.

  10. #10
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    Lots of dirt roads with very little to see.

    Have you ever been to Santa Cruz or Santa Rosa Island? If not, plan a trip out there. Amazing, and way cooler to visit than Catalina IMO.

    You have to get a ride on a Charter Boat out of Ventura Harbor, the Islands are a National Park, so no Bikes, which is a bummer, but tons of Scenic Hiking.

    It is very Off the Grid.

    I went a few years ago and I cannot wait to get the chance to go back.





















    Ride Bikes, Drink Craft Beer, Repeat.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Klurejr View Post
    Lots of dirt roads with very little to see.

    Have you ever been to Santa Cruz or Santa Rosa Island? If not, plan a trip out there. Amazing, and way cooler to visit than Catalina IMO.

    You have to get a ride on a Charter Boat out of Ventura Harbor, the Islands are a National Park, so no Bikes, which is a bummer, but tons of Scenic Hiking.

    It is very Off the Grid.

    I went a few years ago and I cannot wait to get the chance to go back.





















    I'll keep that in mind for the future. I was going to do Catalina since it is free on your birthday.

  12. #12
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    Any singletrack is very limited on Santa Catalina, basically (legal) riding is only on the road from Avalon to the airport, and then down to two harbors. The Trans-Catalina Trail is really only open to bikes for the Grand Fondo, PM me if you need more insider info, I use to live there.

    I ride solo 98% of the time

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    Quote Originally Posted by ET_SoCal View Post
    Any singletrack is very limited on Santa Catalina, basically (legal) riding is only on the road from Avalon to the airport, and then down to two harbors. The Trans-Catalina Trail is really only open to bikes for the Grand Fondo, PM me if you need more insider info, I use to live there.

    Everything I have read basically says fireroad, so I'm not expecting an adventure. I'm trying to decide between my commuter CX bike and the F-Si since my 130 FS bike is over kill. At least with my commuter bike I don't care about damage.

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    CEB
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    A permit to go beyond Avalon is needed. https://www.catalinaconservancy.org/

    Even though it's only fire/gravel road. The views, fresh air and sights are worth the trip. Riding from Avalon --> Two Harbors is a bit of exercise as well!

    Take the boat back to Avalon after the celebratory beers at the end.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CEB View Post
    A permit to go beyond Avalon is needed. https://www.catalinaconservancy.org/

    Even though it's only fire/gravel road. The views, fresh air and sights are worth the trip. Riding from Avalon --> Two Harbors is a bit of exercise as well!

    Take the boat back to Avalon after the celebratory beers at the end.
    Weather appears to be prefect right now too. Should be a nice, enjoyable ride.

  16. #16
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    Another note: The conservancy LOOKED at our bikes last time I did the ride to make sure they were mtn bikes. Apparently they want "rugged" bikes in the "out back".

    Check into that just in case your planned rig won't be allowed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CEB View Post
    Another note: The conservancy LOOKED at our bikes last time I did the ride to make sure they were mtn bikes. Apparently they want "rugged" bikes in the "out back".

    Check into that just in case your planned rig won't be allowed.
    I'll probably ride the F-Si anyway. But I've taken my commuter CX bike through MTB obstacles other MTB riders were walking

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by CEB View Post
    A permit to go beyond Avalon is needed. https://www.catalinaconservancy.org/
    ...Take the boat back to Avalon after the celebratory beers at the end.
    Yes, they check for permits - it's all paved rode to the airport but wide dirt road from there, you need camping permit to sleep outdoors and places for this are limited. Double taking the boat back to Avalon, riding from Avalon to the Isthmus and back in one day is a long/hard ride.

    Quote Originally Posted by CEB View Post
    ... they want "rugged" bikes ....
    If you have a Cyclocross bike and school them about ruggedness with different bicycles you can convince them to provide a permit.
    I ride solo 98% of the time

  19. #19
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    Maybe next year. I tried to make the reservation but missed where I had to reserve the bike. I don't want to drive all the way to Long Beach to get turned away.

    I'll ride somewhere else.

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    I almost NEVER come to MTBR but surprised to see this thread still alive and kickin.

    I enjoyed a relaxing day on my birthday when I posted this up and just realized I never posted a RR here. I did do a RR on another forum but can't seem to find it anymore so here are some pics of my journey. It's not spectacular but the seclusion was much appreciated.

    Catalina Island - Album on Imgur

    Some things to note:
    Pay the piper $50 to hike/ride the trails outside Avalon. You can bring your own bike on the ferry I didn't reserve a spot and didn't have any issues.

    The taco restaurant is great , look for it on yelp

    There is a restaurant that gives free burger on your birthday, I didn't know this at the time but enjoyed a Bison burger at the airport

    Camping costs $$$$$$ but I slept on the bench on the cliff overlooking the whaletail bay

    Free roaming bisons along the trail that were left on the island from the days of movie shooting days

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by CEB View Post
    Another note: The conservancy LOOKED at our bikes last time I did the ride to make sure they were mtn bikes. Apparently they want "rugged" bikes in the "out back".

    Check into that just in case your planned rig won't be allowed.
    What on earth does that mean? hahaha.
    Ride Bikes, Drink Craft Beer, Repeat.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by outlaws View Post
    ... The taco restaurant..
    Must be talking about The Sand Trap in Avalon

    Quote Originally Posted by outlaws View Post
    ... enjoyed a Bison burger at the airport...
    They are really good up there, the best thing is their fresh cookies

    Quote Originally Posted by outlaws View Post
    ... I slept on the bench on the cliff overlooking the whaletail bay
    Lucky you were not found while sleeping on a bench instead of a campground, perhaps over at Two Harbors it can be done occasionally but anywhere else on the island the the rangers will "fine" you for that, the only time you can just crash almost anywhere is during Buccaneer Days. WFT is "whaletail bay" ?
    I ride solo 98% of the time

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by CEB View Post
    Ride from Avalon to Two Harbors. Once there (33 miles on dirt road, plenty of elevation gain and loss along the way), get a cheeseburger and beer. Chill on the beach and jump on the 3:00 boat (bike is ok!) back to Avalon! Lots of great sights along the way.
    That sounds fun!

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by outlaws View Post
    I almost NEVER come to MTBR but surprised to see this thread still alive and kickin.

    I enjoyed a relaxing day on my birthday when I posted this up and just realized I never posted a RR here. I did do a RR on another forum but can't seem to find it anymore so here are some pics of my journey. It's not spectacular but the seclusion was much appreciated.

    Catalina Island - Album on Imgur

    Some things to note:
    Pay the piper $50 to hike/ride the trails outside Avalon. You can bring your own bike on the ferry I didn't reserve a spot and didn't have any issues.

    The taco restaurant is great , look for it on yelp

    There is a restaurant that gives free burger on your birthday, I didn't know this at the time but enjoyed a Bison burger at the airport

    Camping costs $$$$$$ but I slept on the bench on the cliff overlooking the whaletail bay

    Free roaming bisons along the trail that were left on the island from the days of movie shooting days
    Which route did you take? Are there signs along the way to tell you which way to go? Like if I wanted to do the Avalon to Two Harbors route?

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mountain Cycle Shawn View Post
    Which route did you take? Are there signs along the way to tell you which way to go? Like if I wanted to do the Avalon to Two Harbors route?
    There's only one {legal} route, and there are signs. The Conservancy can provide map & directions when you get the permit
    I ride solo 98% of the time

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