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Cottonwood Beach Trail

Take a short trip to Cottonwood Beach and explore the unique land and seascape

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Rating: 5 out of 5 by EveryTrail members
Difficulty: Moderate
Length: 0.1 miles
Duration: Less than 1 hour
Family Friendly

Overview :  Not far from Little and Shark Harbors, Cottonwood is less accessible and more private. Scoured by seasonal waters running through the ... more »

Tips:  Obtain your Hiking Permit online or at the Conservancy House on Clarissa before leaving Avalon. Also, be sure to review ... more »

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Points of Interest

1. Trailhead

As you approach Cottonwood Beach from the road, you’ll see a wooden sign letting you know you’ve arrived. The trail down to the beach is a good example of a “road less traveled,” so you’ll have to use your observation skills to find the main route. Do your best to walk only on trails. This area is home to a diversity of plants and the hiking boot ... More

2. Cottonwood Beach

Cottonwood Beach is an excellent example of a windblown, scenic coast and like much of Catalina, gives the visitor a glimpse into what California looked like before European settlement. Cottonwood was home to Native American Tongva tribes long before the Spanish and Europeans “discovered it.”

Notice how the habitat changes the minute you get a... More

3. Dune Plants

Cottonwood Beach and the other nearby beaches on Catalina are some of the few intact dune habitats remaining in Southern California. Dune plant species, such as sand verbena (Abronia maritima) with bright magenta flowers and fleshy green leaves, salt grass (Distichlis spicata), and alkali heath (Frankenia salina), a low shrub with pretty pink... More

4. Waterfall

Here you will find a small waterfall that runs during the rainy season when there is enough runoff.