Wrigley Mem. / Garden to Sky Trail (dayhike)

Trip Date: 10/26/2015

Location: Santa Catalina Island - Wrigley Memorial and Botanical Gardens

Permit/Pass: Transportation to the island: Catalina Express - 800-481-3470. Wrigley Memorial and Botanical Gardens - $7.00

Trail maps: Catalina Conservancy map, Catalina Island Explorer map

Directions: After transport to, and drop off in, Avalon, work your way along the waterfront to the main area of town. The memorial is south of town up in the hills, and there are several ways to get there. One can rent a golf cart, take a trolley or taxi. But Avalon is small and everything is within walking distance, so if you don't want to bother with other options, ask someone for directions to Avalon Canyon Rd., and just walk up the road.

Synopsis: This hike is an interesting mix of Catalina history, horticultural diversity, and southern California island ecology. You stroll through some botanical gardens, visit the Wrigley Memorial (a big, showy mausoleum that no longer houses its intended occupant), and then hike up a fire road to some great views on the island's ridge.

Trail sequence: (botanical Gardens) / (memorial structure) / Garden to Sky Trail / (gardens access road)

Type: Out and back (with diversions)

Distance: 3.2 miles

Elevation: Min. -  295', Max. - 1118'


Rating: Moderate (factors: heat, steep sections)

Notes: The botanical gardens and the memorial make for leisurely walking, but the hike up the Garden to Sky Trail is dry, steep in places and climbs the entire way. Don't be fooled by the first part of the hike into thinking you don't need to be prepared.

Track: Wrigley Mem. / Garden to Sky - Santa Catalina Island

Turn by Turn:

  -- Upon reaching the facility's entry gate and paying your fee, head up the broad road to the south. This is the botanical garden area and there are opportunities on both sides of the road to take paths into different exhibits. They never stray far from the road, though, so there's little opportunity to get waylaid. 

  -- Soon you reach the memorial at the end of the straight road. Tour as you like, the look for the Garden to Sky Trail marker on the gated fire road to the right (west) of the memorial. Take this trail.

  -- The trail heads takes several switchbacks before settling on a long climb to the west to finally meet the Divide Rd. which runs along Catalina's ridgeline. This is your turnaround point.

  -- Head back down the trail, passing through the gate, then down the road and out the exit gate to return to your car.

Photo Gallery: Flickr

Video: Youtube