Silver Peak is the highest point on Catalina Island west of the Two Harbors Isthmus. It towers over the pristine waters of the Pacific, adding a vertical dimension to the island's stark beauty and rugged coastline.
Although still bare of trees on its higher slopes, Silver Peak is recovering from the deforestation and subsequent erosion that resulted from years of exploitation by man and beast. Pigs and cattle once consumed every bit of fauna and man stripped the land of wood and mineral. Today Silver Peak is wholly owned by the Catalina Island Conservancy. The Conservancy is dedicated to preserving the health and vitality of Catalina's unique environment in perpetuity for the benefit of future generations.
From atop Silver Peak one can experience sweeping panoramic vistas of emerald ocean, azure skies and earth. San Clemente Island, Palos Verdes, the San Gabriel Mountains, the Santa Monica Mountains and Santiago Peak are all visible from the summit on a clear day.
The village of Two Harbors is reacheable by ferry from San Pedro/Port of Los Angeles, Dana Point or Long Beach harbors. Both Catalina Express and Catalina Cruises conduct multiple runs to the island every day.
From Two Harbors, Silver Peak can be reached via 3 routes, which begin at two trailheads. Net verticle gain on all routes is 1804'.
Silver Peak Trail
At 7.4 miles round trip, this is the shortest, most direct way. However, it is the steepest ascent and in my opinion the least scenic.
From Two Harbors' Isthmus Cove, walk or take the Safari Bus to Catalina Harbor. From here turn north up Silver Peak Trail (a dirt road). This road is broad and made for vehicles, as are most of the trails on Catalina Island.
Silver Peak trail climbs several summits of 1500' or more before reaching Silver Peak itself, which is the most westerly major peak on the island. The summit looks down on Land's End and Starlight Beach. This trail passes eagle aeries and several points of interest - including Smugglers' Bay - where among other contraband, great loads of whiskey were stored during prohibition.
West End Road/Boushay Trail
At 10.1 miles round trip, this route is longer and more scenic. It hugs the coast for 5 1/2 miles before plunging inland to wind its way up the island's spine.
To take this route, head north from Isthmus Bay on West End Road toward Howland's Landing. Hike 5.7 miles to Emerald Bay (a boy scout camp) and take Boushay Trail - a dirt road just across from the camp entrance - inland to Silver Peak. You can return the same way or head back via Silver Peak trail.
Silver Peak/West End Circuit Via Parson's Landing
This is the longest and most scenic route - Approx. 16.5 miles round trip. Head north from Isthmus Cove on West End Road for 7 miles to Parson's Landing. From Parson's, head west toward Starlight Beach. Before descending to the beach you will reach the Silver Peak Trail, which heads SE up the mountain. Take this trail to the summit and on to Two Harbors.
Please note that none of these trails are marked.
Reservations, which can be made at the Two Harbors information booth, are required for island camping.
A free, but required hiking permit from the Catalina Conservancy can be obtained ahead of time here