Mt. Torquemada is a small peak near Two Harbors on Catalina Island. It is sometimes hiked along with Silver Peak, #78 on the Sierra Club Lower Peaks List and the high point north of the isthmus. Topo maps have it marked with a benchmark.
Mt. Torquemada offers arguably the best views of any peak north of Two Harbors, including spectacular views into the harbors. There are dramatic cliffs on the west side dropping over a thousand feet to the ocean. Cactus is thick along the slopes, but a good use trail leads through it along the north ridge.
Catalina Express offers daily boat rides from San Pedro to Two Harbors. The current fare is $36 one way, $72 round trip. Free rides are available on your birthday.
Boats leave from Berth 95, San Pedro, CA 90731
(at Swinford and Harbor Boulevard)
Be sure to arrive at least 30 minutes before departure to check in and get tickets. There are restrooms and a deli at the terminal.
The main route is along a use trail leaving the Silver Peak trail at the ridge line about 2 miles from Two Harbors. Follow the Trans-Catalina Trail sign out of Two Harbors heading west. The trail will turn north and gain about 1400' before easing into rolling terrain. Near the top of the initial gain, a use trail branches left, back toward the harbors and Mt. Torquemada. The use trail is about 0.75 miles one way and weaves through cactus, finally fading out on the final climb to the summit. A small cross can be found on the summit, but no benchmarks were found.
A free hiking permit is required beyond a gate as you start ascending the trail to the interior of the island. Permits can be obtained at the visitor center immediately after getting off the boat. Rangers do patrol the trail in trucks, but the one I met did not ask for our permit.
When to Climb
Year round. The trail can get very hot during the summer months and there is no water or shade.
Camping is available in several campgrounds near Two Harbors.
Camping Permit: (310) 510-8368 (Fee), tent cabins are available for rent, each housing six hikers. The rangers will haul the gear up to the cabins at no charge.