Guided Bison Tours on Catalina Island
Catalina Island bison tours are extremely popular. Bison are one of Catalina Island’s peculiarities. Bison were brought to the island in the early 20th century. Many believe that filmmakers brought the bison down in order to shoot footage and then released them into the wild. If you think that bison population in an island setting sounds dangerous to the ecology of the land, then you’re on to something. This is why authorities control the population of bison.
Where the Bison Roam
Where can you see bison on the island? The general population of bison is approximately 150. When the population grows beyond the 150 to 200, extra bison are culled. One of the tours, the Jeep Eco Tour is two to three hours in length and starts from the Catalina Island Conservancy House. The tour takes tourists through the rugged interiors of the island, near the canyons and coastline. Some of these tours also stop by other sections of the town in order to catch a glimpse at birds. Tours are very affordable for the great wildlife adventure you will have.
An exciting wildlife adventure with the bison on Catalina Island
Other excursions provide opportunities to see bison. The Cape Canyon Tour features a “green” Hummer which has been converted to run on biofuel. This fuel is refined from recycled vegetable oil that is obtained from local restaurants on the island. This is the only tour that runs to the beautiful Cape Canyon. It travels on the Sheep Chute road which is very steep and rugged offering unique viewing opportunities for bison.
The Inland Expedition uses a unique form of transportation – most of the time you’ll ride in a 1950’s flexible bus that has been totally transformed into a touring vehicle. This popular bus follows the original stagecoach route of the 1800’s then continues through an area called Middle Ranch. Here, you will experience the Native Plant Nursery and the habitat of the Island Fox. The nearly 4 hour trip winds through the vineyard and along the Pacific shoreline. This is an area with some of the most memorable photo opportunities. The tour finally reaches the famous “Airport in the Sky” and Conservancy Nature Center before heading back to the Island Tour Plaza.
More Ways to See Bison
Do not conclude that bison tours are the only way to see bison in the wild. What occasionally happens is that old bulls are challenged by young bulls in the wild, leading to a confrontation. One of the parties leaves the herd and roams independently, usually around the hills. Gates are set up to keep wild animals away from town (a bison stealing your meal would be distracting to say the least). But, every once in a while tourists are surprised to see bison roaming the beaches or even a golf course. You can imagine how delighted kids are to see an escaped (but harmless) bison being chased by officials.
Finally, you can actually experience bison while on some the the Catalina Island biking tours. The Ridge Route to Avalon is a self-guided tour that features a drive up and a ride down from the Airport in the Sky. The tour includes a shuttle ride from Avalon all the way up. So, you get to enjoy a fun and thrilling mountain descent as well as the chance to see bison in the wild.
As you can see, the best places to see Catalina Island bison are not necessarily on bison tours but on wilderness tours of the interior of the island. These are called mini-safaris, because of the rugged terrain and the wildlife roaming around the area. It’s no wonder that TripAdvisor ratings for Journey Catalina are nearly all five stars. Come see the island and these beautiful animals where they belong—in the wild!