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Trans-Catalina trail is nearly completed

February 5, 2009 | 12:55 pm


Panoramic. That's the word that keeps up coming up when people describe the nearly completed 37-mile-long trans-Santa Catalina Island trail.

The first path to traverse the entire 75-square-mile island 22 miles off the coast of Southern California winds from the trailhead just east of Avalon to Starlight Beach.

Catalina Island Conservancy officials expect the trail to be open to the public in early April. But they are already advising prospective hikers to pack water bottles, two-way radios, insect repellent and snake bite kits for the four-day wilderness trek.

The trail ranges from effortless downhill ambles to steep climbs along ridgelines overlooking serene coves, eucalyptus groves and windy seascapes. From one end to the other are deer, bison, island foxes, rattlesnakes and poison oak.

"People are going to love this," said conservancy spokesman Bob Rhein. "For the first time, hikers will be able to cross the entire length of the island without having to dodge traffic."

"It’s going to be magnificent," he added. "Panoramic too."

-- Louis Sahagun

Photo: Catalina trail sign. Credit: Catalina Island Conservancy