Five natural reasons to visit in the off season
Catalina Island is always a nature lover’s paradise, but during the off-season, Mother Nature seems to be more generous with her gifts.
Hiking: Catalina Island’s trails are open year round, but taking a hike in the winter gives you a much more intimate island experience. Many days you can hike for hours and the only other creatures you’ll come in contact with are curious bison and diminutive foxes. Hiking at this time of year heightens the beautiful isolation of the island, allowing you to commune with yourself and with nature.
The natives: In the offseason, Catalina’s most interesting wildlife can be found in the interior of the island, rather than in the interior of Avalon’s bars. Island foxes and Catalina Island quail are two of the most frequently spotted native species and the winter months bring better opportunities to spot these fascinating animals.
Marine life: Frolicking dolphins, migrating whales and hungry sea lions are frequent sights around Catalina Island, but during the winter the lack of human interference makes seeing these amazing animals even more common.
Birds: More than 200 species of birds make their homes on Santa Catalina Island at least part of the time. Many of those birds can be found in and around Avalon, especially during the quieter winter months. Acorn woodpeckers, Allen’s hummingbirds and red-tailed hawks are frequently seen around town and at night the kwark of black-crowned night herons and the monotonous beep of saw-whet owls are a common soundtrack.
Flowers: In early spring, Catalina Island is transformed. A verdant blanket of green covers the normally sere hills, inspiring more than a few references to the Emerald Isle. Dappling that lush landscape are thousands of wildflowers in a multitude of colors. Blue dicks, purple lupine, black sage, yellow broom, lemonade berry, pitcher sage and bush sunflowers can all be found in the spring, making a hiking trip in March a journey of delight and discovery.