Blackjack Campground on Catalina Island is a picturesque campground situated about 1,600 feet above sea level at the base of Mt. Orizaba, Catalina’s highest point. Blackjack Campground is one of six very different campgrounds on Catalina Island, and it offers amazing views of the rolling hills and mountains that make up Catalina Island. Most of the campsites at Blackjack Campground are situated under large trees which provide shade during the warm summer months.
One of the big attractions to Catalina Island is the buffalo that roam the island (yes, you heard me right, buffalo). As you are
roaming walking around Catalina Island, you will see large hoof prints in the dirt and mud from these large creatures, but don’t worry they likely will not come to visit you in your tent at night.
There are 11 campsites in Blackjack Campground. Each campsite includes a picnic table, fire ring, access to a barbecue, drinking water, and a bathroom.
Blackjack Campground Bottom Line
Blackjack Campground offers amazing views of the rolling hills and mountains that make up Catalina Island. Looking to get away from the Southern California smog? Blackjack Campground makes a great (fairly) easy weekend getaway from Southern California city life or a fantastic backpacking adventure. If you are not looking for backpacking, as long as you pack light, you can take the ferry from San Pedro or Long Beach to Catalina Island, and then take a shuttle from the harbor to Blackjack Campground.
The best time of the year to Blackjack Campground is definitely the dead of winter. While this may sound weird to you, we are talking about the mild temperatures of Southern California, and the fact that Catalina Island is empty in the winter. It is fairly easy when backpacking Catalina Island in the winter time to walk ten miles across the island and not see another soul the entire time, providing you the ultimate in privacy and seclusion.
The best campsites at Blackjack Campground are on the south end of the campground. These campsites are separated from the rest of the campground by a small hill, providing a more private camping experience.
Oh, and by the way don’t mess with the buffalo. They just want to go about their buffalo lives; east some grass and play with their buffalo friends. If you do mess with them, they may charge at you at speeds of 35 miles per hour or more.
Blackjack Campground Features
|Number of Campsites:||23 Campsites|
|Cost:||Summer: $18/Adult, $9/ChildWinter: $16/Adult, $8/Child|
|Hiking Access:||Yes – Hiking Trails nearby|
|Cell Phone Service:||Possible – All Carriers|
|Operating Season:||Open Year-round|
If you encounter one of Catalina Island’s buffalo in Blackjack Campground or while hiking, give them plenty of space. The buffalo are normally docile and do not bother with people, however they can charge at you if they feel threatened.
|Geo Coordinates:||33.385422 -118.406161|
|Nearest City/Town:||Avalon, California|
|Location:||Los Angeles County, California|
|Paved Road Access:||No|
|Proximity to Stores:||10 miles to Avalon, California|
|Directions:||The best way to get to Catalina Island is via the Catalina Express ferry from Long Beach or Dana Point to Avalon or Two Harbors. The Blackjack Campground trail head is accessible by either hiking, taking the Airport Shuttle from Avalon, or by Safari Bus. The trail head for the campground is nine miles from Avalon and 11.8 miles from Two Harbors. Once at the trail head it is a 1.5-mile moderate hike into the campground.|
|Phone:||310.510.TENT (8368)||Facebook:||Catalina Island Conservancy Facebook Page|
|Web:||Santa Catalina Island Company||Twitter:||Catalina Island Conservancy Twitter Feed|
|Reservations:||Santa Catalina Island Company|
When To Go
Winter – Weather on Catalina Island is pretty mild and the campgrounds are empty in the winter. Highs in the summer can exceed 90 degrees.
What To Do
Hike the Trans-Catalina Trail, which is runs the entire length of the island and connects all of the campgrounds.
If you are looking for a day hike with a destination, the Catalina Island Airport makes a good one. The airport looks like an airport you would see in an old black and white movie and has a cantina and cafe inside so you can grab a drink and a snack before heading back to Blackjack Campground.
You may be able to catch a glimpse of one of Catalina Island’s many Buffalo. The buffalo were brought to Catalina for a movie shoot in the 1920’s and have been inhabiting the island ever since.
Blackjack Campground Pictures
Image Credits: Justin Wilson