Really nice bike ride and hike to the peaks. Pretty steep coming out of Avalon, but once you hit the island crest, the road is very enjoyable to ride. I refused to buy a $35 permit to ride on a paved road. Saw many Catalina Conservancy vehicles that didn't hassle me, but did run into a ranger while I was hiking to the peaks. He asked if that was my stashed bike near the main road and I said it was. He was going to impound it otherwise. For some reason, he did not ask for my bike permit or hiking permit (which I actually had because it was free). I would say there is a high chance of getting busted if you don't have a permit and you are on your bike. They also require helmets so bring one (unlike me).
Rode my bicycle from Avalon to the top of Black Jack and Orizaba. On the way a ranger stopped me and said I had to ride the extra 5 miles to the airport to purchase a $35 "bike permit" or go back to Avalon.
ferry + bike transport - $81
"bike permit" - $35
Long Beach parking fee - $15
Total = $131
These peaks have fences and radio towers. It's not worth it unless you're a total prominence dork.
I took a most unusual transport (for peak baggers, anyway) in order to get to Catalina Island - a Carnival cruise ship. It moored in Avalon Bay and by 9 am I was in Avalon proper. There are two means of public transit from Avalon. One is S Catalina Island Company's Safari Bus. At $10 one way (2013) it is cheapest but not very convenient. It only runs from Avalon at noon and returns from the airport at 1 pm, not enough time for the hike. Rather, use the Conservancy's own van service, called the Wildlands Express Service (go to www. catalinaconservancy.org). This is $26 roundtrip (2013) and has 6 different departure times from both Avalon and the airport. You need to call for reservations but I had no problem calling even just an hour in advance. (310)510-0143. It leaves Avalon only 1 block from the public pier on Catalina Avenue just past Von's Express. Its a 20 minute ride to the stop at Blackjack Junction, where you start the walk all on road to the summit. Note you are required to have a hiking permit from the Conservancy, but this is free and can be obtained and printed in advance from their website.
The walk took me just under two hrs roundtrip, and included some bison and birdwatching. The walk is all legal access, but you need to climb over two gates. The first keeps bisons on one side, the second at the summit surrounds the antenna. I felt funny climbing the second gate, but there is never a no trespassing sign, only a worn sign at the first gate asking you to keep the gate closed for conservation purposes pigs and goats have been already extirpated, but there are still the bison), and the second gate only has a sign stating it is illegal to have a gun on federal property.
The summit has been graded flat. There is a register right where you first come to the second fence. Views are outstanding as you walk the perimeter, however.
Rode across Catalina from Avalon to Two Harbors. Fun Day! Trip Report
We packed from Two Harbors to Avalon stopping at Little Harbor and BlackJack campgrounds. Totally fun trip!
Nice Spring day for a hike. Found 2 registers at the FAA facility.
Hmm, I found and signed a summit register for Orizaba Peak. It sure seemed to be the highest point since I could see water in nearly every direction.
After kayaking from San Pedro on Friday, it took much of the day to hike across the island to bag this peak. In summer, the mountain is scorched and dry. The summit is home to a large fenced-off radio station which kills the mood and prevents anyone from actually getting 360 degree ocean vistas. The following day I kayaked back across the channel to Palos Verdes.