Hike-in Required
Open Year-round
ADA accessible
Guided tours
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

While most visitors to Catalina Island stick to the town and area surrounding Avalong, and to a lesser extent Two Harbors, the island's interior has a few places that are worth a visit in their own right. 

The Catalina Airport Nature Center is perched at one of the highest peaks of the island. The airport itself is very quaint, with its own restaurant, gift and access to nearby hiking trails such as the Airport Loop Trail, as well as lying along the Trans-Catalina Trail backpacking route.

The Nature Center sits just outside of the airport gift shop. It contains a few different features such as a large tile map of the island, short foot paths leading past endemic plants signed with informational cards, interpretive signage that touch on the island's natural history and current preservation efforts, and several murals. 

Visiting the 'Airport in the Sky' provides for an interesting diversion from the more typical island happenings, and gives those who make the trip the opportunity to get some fresh air and possibly even see some of the bison that roam the island's interior. The challenge are the extra steps needed to access the airport.

The airport lies in the island's interior, which remains privately owned by the Catalina Island Conservancy. It is 10 miles on a paved road from Avalon, and 13 miles on unpaved roads from Two Harbors. Hikers and cyclists must obtain permits from visitor centers in Avalon and Two Harbors before accessing the island's interior. Otherwise, a shuttle is available from either town. 

For the Wildlands Express shuttle from Avalon or Two Harbors, visit their website for hours, prices and reservations.

If planning on doing any hiking around the airport, you must first obtain a free permit from the Catalina Island Conservancy.


Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass



Interesting and quaint destination. Gateway to several hikes.


Requires special permitting to access Catalina's interior.

Pets allowed

Not Allowed


ADA accessible
Flushing toilets
Family friendly
Potable water
Picnic tables


Nearby Adventures

Nearby Lodging + Camping


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