Ranch Life in the Island's Interior
Nestled in a small valley nearly 12 miles outside of Avalon is El Rancho Escondido, “the hidden ranch.” Still a working ranch, it was originally started as the Wrigley family's Arabian Horse Ranch.
In the early 1930s, Philip and Helen Wrigley set out to develop a breeding program for Santa Catalina Island’s wild horses. By the 1950s those efforts evolved into the breeding of champion Arabian horses that were exhibited at shows and competitions across the United States. El Rancho Escondido had become world-class horse ranch as well as a major attraction in the island’s interior.
In 1977 Philip Wrigley passed away. Helen Wrigley continued to visit the island but the children took over running the ranch. Although activities at El Rancho Escondido have modified over the years, the intent has remained constant: to share Catalina's interior with visitors. The Ranch is now home to Rusack Vineyards, producing chardonnay, pinot noir and zinfandel grapes. The owners hope the vineyard can be an example of an organically correct, sustainable agricultural operation.