Just 1.5 miles from the edge of Avalon on Santa Catalina Island, Hermit Gulch Campground is a great place to rough it while still enjoying a number of amenities relative to other camp areas. It’s a bit far from town on foot, so it’s recommended that campers wait and pay several dollars for the trolley for transportation, take an in-town taxi (310.510.0025), or rent a golf cart, though this will set you back over $40 per hour.
The main campsites sit on one side along a shallow dry wash and face the nine platform tent cabins on the other. Though the campsites are fairly close together, small trees that have been recently planted afford campers a bit of privacy. Naturally, in the dry tinderbox of California, no wood fires are allowed, though there are charcoal grills in each campsite and a number of nearby locations that stock necessary supplies. Note that there is a two-night minimum stay at the campground. For those that prefer a more leisurely approach, the streets of Avalon are lined with restaurants and places to grab a quick bite.
Built out with amenities and extras, this campsite features coin-operated showers, a sink, propane lanterns for each site, and tents built with wooden frames on wooden platforms for groups of various sizes. Potable water is inconsistently available due to the limited water supply on the island.
Its proximity to a number of Santa Catalina’s most popular hiking trails is a big draw for Hermit Gulch Campground. Adjacent to the Wrigley Botanical Gardens, the campground offers excellent access to its hiking trails and the towering monument that was erected in memory of William Wrigley Jr. (think Wrigley’s chewing gum). Instrumental in the development of the island, Wrigley’s stewardship of Santa Catalina Island is still evident today.
The 11.75-mile Hermit Gulch Trail begins at the campsite and offers amazing views over Avalon and the ocean. The Trans Catalina Trail spins off of this one, as does a short trail down into the Botanical Gardens. Along the trails and in the campground, those with a keen eye have a chance to spot bison, Catalina Island foxes, bald eagles and more.