Perhaps the best and most ecologically sound way to explore the backcountry of inland Catalina , with all its diverse wildlife, is on a horseback ride. Catalina Stables (600 Avalon Canyon Rd., Avalon, 310/510-0478, catalinastables [at] catalinaisp [dot] com, $42–82 for standard rides, more for custom tours) offers guided rides up into the hills above Avalon. Walk a sedate, well-behaved horse along trails used by Native Americans for thousands of years, viewing buffalo, bald eagles, and other wildlife.
Enjoy knowing that the likes of John Wayne and Tom Mixx have ridden the trails on this island, taking in the immediate wildlife and distant glorious views of the ocean surrounding the island (plus the regrettable but usual smog-smear that is the L.A. coastline).
Choose from half-hour, one-hour, or two-hour rides that go out every day (weather permitting). If you’re a serious equestrian, call in advance to arrange a half-day, full-day, or even overnight horseback riding adventure.
Catalina Stables can arrange exactly the trip you’ve always wanted to take. Even if you only want a 30-minute standard trail ride, call in advance for a reservation to guarantee yourself a horse, especially in high season.