Tag Archives: Hiking

Welcome to Cherry Cove!

Each of CIMI’s sites at Toyon Bay, Fox Landing, and Cherry Cove run their programs with the same goal in mind: providing students with a fun, adventurous, and enriching outdoor education experience. But that doesn’t mean that each camp can’t also have its own unique personality! For Cherry Cove, that personality is characterized by its long-standing history, beautiful natural setting, rustic charm, and keen sense of adventure.

Cherry Cove first became a private camp in 1923, when the Boy Scouts of America secured a lease for the land from the Catalina Island Conservancy. In 1976, Ross and Kristi Turner started a marine science program out of Cherry, and eventually a partnership was developed that allowed both CIMI and the Boy Scouts to run programs out of the site. This partnership is best exemplified in the classic style of the canvas scout tents that students get the opportunity to sleep in during their stay at Cherry Cove. Chaperones and students who come to Cherry Cove agree: there is no better way to truly immerse yourself in the beauty of Catalina’s landscape than by camping outdoors!

Schools arrive at Cherry Cove by first landing in Two Harbors, a small town on the West end of Catalina that’s home to about 150 year-round residents. From there, students and chaperones get to hike a little over a mile on a flat, scenic road before they arrive at Cherry Cove! A view of the ocean greets the hikers along the way, with key landmarks like Bird Rock and Ship Rock dotting the horizon.

As students first arrive in camp, they will get their first glimpse of another feature that Cherry is well-known for: it’s crystal-clear water! The West end of Catalina features some of the most beautiful snorkeling spots on the whole island, and Cherry Cove is no exception. Students can sometimes even see bright orange garibaldis swimming around as they hike down the hill into camp, a promising preview of the beauty that will surround them in their upcoming adventures.

At Cherry Cove, the adventure never stops! From exploring the ocean by kayak, to hiking through a grove of Cherry trees, to watching the stars come out over your tent site, there is always an opportunity to observe the diverse natural beauty that Catalina has to offer. Cherry has a legacy of inspiring people to explore the outdoors, and it is our hope that students will hold on to that sense of adventure long after they leave.


Can I Eat That? Catalina’s Edible Plants

Catalina is already in full bloom with new growth. Each week brings more flowers, grasses, and shrubs to the hillsides, making every hike a treasure hunt of new plants to discover. With the right knowledge base, a hike on Catalina can become a culinary exploration of many of California’s edible plants. Some of these plants can be eaten as a snack on the trail; others might be prepared as part of an evening meal; all are delicious. Here are some of the more common edible plants found around Catalina:

IMG_4157 (1)Miner’s Lettuce (Claytonia perfoliata): Miner’s Lettuce is a California native and is found in many moist, shaded areas on the island. Its leaves are edible and can be eaten sauteed or raw, like spinach. During the California gold rush, the lettuce served as an important source of vitamin C for miners who wished to stave off scurvy.

Messages Image(759678131)Blue Dicks (Dichelostemma capitatum): 
Blue Dicks, or Wild Hyacinth, is a perennial herb that is native to Southern California and much of the Southwest. While the bluish-purple flowers are not known to be edible, the Blue Dicks’ corm, a swollen underground stem that provides the plant with water and nutrients, has historically been harvested by indigenous peoples of the Southwest. The corms can be eaten boiled or roasted, and they served as a hearty source of starch in the diets of many Native Americans.

IMG_4164Catalina Cherry (Prunus ilicifolia ssp. lyonii): Catalina Cherry, or Island Cherry, is a fruit tree native to the Channel Islands. Its cherries have a tart-sweet flavor and a large pit. The trees commonly bloom in the Spring and fruit in the Fall. Cherry Cove is home to the largest Catalina Cherry grove on the island.

IMG_4149Bladder Pod (Isomeris arborea): Bladder pod is a native shrub and a member of the mustard family. Both its flowers and large seed pods are edible, but they have a very strong flavor when eaten raw. When cooked, the plant takes on a mild, sweet flavor. Native southern Californian and Mexican tribes often mixed the flowers and seeds with onions and served them on top a tortilla.

IMG_4076 (1)Bermuda Buttercup (Oxalis pes-caprae): Bermuda Buttercup, otherwise known as sourgrass, is a yellow flower that is invasive to Catalina. The leaves, stem, flowers, seeds, and roots are all edible, but don’t make it a mealtime staple! Oxalic acid gives the plant a tart flavor that is perfect for a refreshing, mid-hike snack, but it can be toxic in high quantities.


We would like to thank you for visiting our blog. Catalina Island Marine Institute is a hands-on marine science program with an emphasis on ocean exploration. Our classes and activities are designed to inspire students toward future success in their academic and personal pursuits. This blog is intended to provide you with up-to-date news and information about our camp programs, as well as current science and ocean happenings. This blog has been created by our staff who have at least a Bachelors Degree usually in marine science or related subjects. We encourage you to also follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Google+, Twitter, and Vine to see even more of our interesting science and ocean information. Feel free to leave comments, questions, or share our blog with others. Please visit www.cimi.org for additional information. Happy Reading!