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Explore El Rancho Escondido
ONE OF THE ISLAND'S MOST SPECTACULAR LANDMARKS
This excursion takes guests into Catalina’s picturesque interior on the way to an exclusive opportunity to view one of the island’s most spectacular landmarks, the beautiful, recently renovated “hidden ranch” known as “El Rancho Escondido.” Visitors will experience the Arabian Horse Ranch built by Philip Wrigley in 1930. Today, in addition to serving as a home for the family’s horses, the ranch is used to grow Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Zinfandel grapes for Rusack Vineyards, another family venture.
Travel via coach from the historic City of Avalon into the rugged terrain of Catalina’s interior via scenic Stagecoach Road and take in the gorgeous views from its summit. Throughout the tour, in addition to rare native plants and trees, visitors may spot free-roaming American Bison, descendants of those left after a movie shoot in the 1920s. Other wildlife that is commonly part of the landscape-- for those with keen eyes-- is the bald eagle and the Catalina sub-species of the adorable Channel Islands Fox and California Quail. Along the way, take in beautiful scenery and stunning ocean vistas where, on clear days, a number of the other California Channel Islands can be seen.
Upon reaching El Rancho Escondido, guests will have the opportunity to explore the classic, nearly-a-century-old, Spanish-style courtyard and stables and enjoy a horse exhibition. In the early 1930s, Philip and Helen Wrigley set out to develop a breeding program for Santa Catalina Island’s wild horses and an attraction to draw visitors into Catalina’s interior. By the 1950s, those efforts evolved into breeding champion Arabian horses, which were exhibited at shows and competitions across the United States. View a selection of the many one-of-a-kind saddles, trophies they won, along with Wrigley family Western memorabilia and history in the Saddle & Trophy Room.
Next, venture up to the ranch’s newly built “Bishop’s Chapel” to enjoy awe-inspiring views of the ranch’s vineyards and Catalina’s windward side and West End. Learn about the cross that once sat atop the entry doors to the downtown Los Angeles Cathedral of St. Paul’s, then spent 30 years on Santa Cruz Island, before being refurbished and gifted to The Bishop’s Chapel in 2021. In addition, guests will learn the history of ‘JORY’s Bell,’ the 130-year-old Baptismal Font and the original stained-glass windows of this simple and moving chapel.
In addition to the tour, guests can enjoy a casual al fresco lunch at mountain-top Airport-in-the-Sky. The total tour duration, including stops and lunch, will be 4 hours.
Pets are not allowed on any Catalina Island Company activity or tour.
This journey travels off-road and may be bumpy, dusty and windy. It is not for individuals who are pregnant, with back or neck issues, or with a fear of heights. Please note: While we often see wildlife on the tour, we can not guarantee sightings.
Tour times are subject to change. Prices are subject to change without notice and do not include Avalon City Admissions Tax or Harbor Use Fees.
*We strongly advise against children 5 and under to participate in this tour.
*Please note: Food and beverages are not allowed on Catalina Island Co. Tours & Activities.