Loading Events

« All Events

Mindful Backpacking Retreat on Catalina Island

July 28 August 3 PDT


This one week backpacking trip on Catalina Island just off the coast of Los Angeles will entail approximately 5-9 miles of walking with a fully-loaded backpack per day. We will be backpacking along a portion of the Trans-Catalina Trail, hiking 25 miles from Avalon to Two Harbors. More details about the trail can be found here.

Participants are required to bring their own backpacking gear, including a shelter, sleeping system, and personal cooking stove and meals for backpacking. In addition to daily mindful backpacking, we will follow a full schedule including sitting meditation, short Dharma talks, Dharma sharing, and deep relaxation.

Registration is now closed


Climate: The ocean keeps the Catalina temperatures very moderate. They average in the 70s during the day and 60s at night. However, on the inland portions of this trail where the trail climbs the sun exposure can make it quite a bit hotter.

Gear: Backpack, tent, sleeping bag and pad, modest clothing, headlamp, food, cooking and eating equipment, hygiene and basic medical supplies. Consider trekking poles, sun umbrella, camp chair, and musical instruments.

Helpful suggestions for gear can be found here.  Please note that hammock camping is prohibited at several campsites. 

Please bring ample sun protection as there will be limited shade and high sun exposure in some sections on the island’s interior (sun layers, sun glasses, sun umbrella, sunscreen, wide-brimmed hat).

Water: You should be prepared to carry enough water to last a full day in the heat (minimum 3 liters), along with all of your camping and cooking gear. Potable water will be available at every campground we stay at, so there is no need to bring water treatment. 

Meals: You will need to bring your own vegetarian meals for the entirety of the trip. Here are some suggestions.

EXAMPLE DAILY SCHEDULE (subject to change based on weather conditions, etc.):

  • 6am Wake up
  • 6:30am Sitting Meditation (30mins)
  • 7:30am Breakfast
  • 8am Break Camp
  • 9am Short Dharma Talk (20-30mins) and reading from Touching the Earth
  • 9:30am-1pm Mindful Hiking
  • 1pm Lunch
  • 1:30pm Deep Relaxation/Rest
  • 2:00pm-5:00pm Mindful Hiking (impromptu Dharma sharing if there is an appropriate spot)
  • 5pm Set Up Camp and Cook Dinner
  • 6:00pm Dinner
  • 7:30pm Sitting Meditation or other Dharma-related activity


We will begin and end the retreat at the San Pedro Ferry Station. The first day we will travel together by boat to the town of Avalon on Catalina island (about 1 hour), and then backpack in 1.5 miles to our first campsite. We will hike across the island over the course of the next five days and end our hike at Two Harbors, where together we will ferry back to San Pedro and conclude the retreat.


Registration is via application and the number of participants is limited to 40 total, including monastics and guides.

Priority will be given on this trip to applicants with previous multi-day point-to-point backpacking experience. A short telephone interview may be conducted to assure that you have the necessary level of backpacking experience so we can run a safe trip together.

The registration fee for this retreat is $600. This fee covers our campsite reservations and ferry boat reservations. An application fee of $25 will be due at the time of submitting your application. If and when your application is approved, you will be asked to make full payment.

We have 9 spots reserved for our Wake Up friends (age 18-35).


Note that REI provides regular backpacking training courses, which meet our basic requirements for backpacking experience.

Lay Dharma Teacher and long-distance hiker Bruce Nichols, who helped us with the Path of Happiness hikes on the Appalachian trail in 2018, put together this helpful video describing how to pack for a backpacking trip. 








Comments are closed.