Cape Canyon Expedition offers a unique eco-adventure experience into the interior of the island. Tour offered once daily in the morning – guests meet at the Tour Plaza (next to the Golf Gardens). The tour is conducted using an eco friendly H1 Hummer (with a covered roof yet open/breezy experience. This vehicle runs on bio fuel from recycled vegetable oil collected from local restaurants in Avalon.
The tour itself is rugged at times accessing roads that no other tour company can use. You will traverse a diversity of habitats (including several canyons) which contains bison, bald eagles and the Catalina Island fox. From some of the interior locations there are dramatic and memorable views of the rugged landscape with the ocean in the background.
A stop is also made at the Airport in the Sky (located at 1,600 feet) where you can enjoy a hearty meal at the DC-3 Cafe, shop for island souvenirs and or see planes take off or land on the 3,000 foot runway located next to the cafe. A real treat is to see an original DC-3 (70+ years old) land on the runway. More information about this experience is here.
Hiking – the 37 mile Trans Catalina Trail covers the entire length of the island and opened in 2009. Most people take the hike slowly – 4-5 days – all camping must be in established campgrounds. You will see bison, deer and possibly bald eagles. You may even see the small and cute endemic Santa Catalina island fox (about the size of a cat).
Avalon to Pebbly Beach. Allow about an hour to 1.5 hours) for this round trip hike. Golf carts normally drive this road, but it is also easily accessible by foot as well. Bring plenty of water for your hike. From Catalina Ave head west until you hit Tremont Ave. Turn left and follow this road on up to The Inn on Mt. Ada (this is the beautiful inn perched on the side of the hill directly above Avalon). This is a fairly steep windy road but you are afforded excellent views Avalon. Once you pass the Inn on Mt. Ada the road soon turns into a one-way road for the golf carts.
Continue on to the top and you will be rewarded with excellent views of the sides of the island, and if it is a clear day you will be able to see all the way to the mainland. Continue down the other side until you enter Pebbly Beach, which is a small cluster of buildings and an electricity generating plant. Take a left and follow the road all the way back to Catalina. This road is set right above the ocean.
Glass Bottom Boat offers visitors a chance to explore Catalina’s diverse marine world without ever having to get wet! Leaves from the main pier in town (the green pier) and heads over to the Lover’s Cove Marine Preserve. This preserve is located near the ferry terminal just outside of Avalon and features a wide variety of fish and other marine life. Diving is not allowed here but snorkeling is.
The glass bottom boat offers a number of floor ‘windows’ on the bottom of the boat. At times the fish may be thick here – schooling and coming right up to the windows for optimum viewing. Your captain will describe in detail the types of fish under the boat as well as provide information about other marine life including kelp and various marine plants. A night tour can also be arranged. For more information and to book your trip, click here.
Golf Gardens, Miniature Golf – this course has been here for more then 40 years (and is one of the higher grossing attractions per cost to maintain) in all of Avalon. This was the initially activity we participated in when visiting the island for the first time some 20+ years ago.
This course doesn’t get tiring – it is fun for young and old alike. It is a challenging well-maintained 18-hole course with holes ranging from par 1 through par 6. Some holes are even multi level. The course is planted with native vegetation – and signs are included with more information about these plants as well as each hole. Par is 51 and the course record is 41. A chart indicates the quality of your final score – a score of 100+ earns you a salty statement: “tennis anyone?!”
Mountain Biking looking to go into the interior on a mountain biking trip? Look no further then Bike Catalina and owner Randy Lewis. He offers a number of bike trips including the popular Ridge Route to Avalon ride (perhaps popular because it is a mostly 10-mile downhill ride!).
Randy is a wealth of information about the island – born and raised on Catalina he has lived here for several decades. On the Ridge Route ride, he will drive you up to the Airport in the Sky – with plenty of stops to provide various insights into the island’s history, culture and natural worlds. Upon arriving at the Airport in the Sky you can have a hearty breakfast before your ride and then start to descend. You ride along a ridge line at times which affords one excellent views of the surrounding rugged terrain with the blue ocean in the background. There are some slight grades on this ride but for the most part it is a downhill ride. Ultimately you will end up in Avalon
Total time for this ride/tour takes about 4 hours. Visit: www.bikecatalina.com
Snorkeling – the Casino Point Dive Park is located directly in front of the casino. This is a protected marine sanctuary. There is good visibility here and often a variety of fish – both colorful, large and small. The “Catalina tradition” is to bring some frozen peas with you – the fish love eating these and soon large numbers will gather around you under water.
Lovers Cove – just around from where the Catalina Express boats dock has excellent snorkeling – based on being located outside of the main harbor. The other side of the island – a reef between “bird island” and Catalina near Two Harbors is also a popular dive spot.
Zip Lining – in 2010 the Catalina Zipline Eco Tour opened. This is a series of 5 zip lines located in the hills behind the Casino. The longest line runs over 1,000 feet and affords one excellent views of the island as you quickly whiz 400 feet above a canyon. Depending on your weight, you can reach speeds of up to 45 mph on another line. This two hour tour incorporates education – the guides are knowledgeable about the local biodiversity. They are also light hearted, at times comedic and truly enjoy their job. Don’t scream too loudly or you might scare the folks below!
If zip lining during the daylight isn’t quite adventurous enough for you, consider taking advantage of their night time zip lining. Reservations are strongly recommended. Visit: www.visitcatalinaisland.com/activities-adventures/land/zip-line-eco-tour