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Channel Islands National Park

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Overview

Channel Islands National Park is composed of five extraordinary islands, each with a unique pelagic setting. By traveling to these one-of-a-kind environments, visitors have the opportunity to experience the California coast as it existed prior to human settlement. Thousands of years of isolation produced unique flora and fauna, and early human interaction with the islands left behind archeological resources unlike any in the world. A truly remote and pristine location, a visit to Channel Islands National Park is truly an escape from modernity.

More information about Channel Islands National Park can be found by visiting www.nps.gov.

Local Info

Visitor Centers:
There are no visitor centers located within the park although there are two locations that operate on the mainland. Both locations are closed Thanksgiving Day and December 25.
  • Robert J. Lagomarsino Visitor Center (Ventura): Open 8:30 am to 5 pm daily.
  • Outdoors Visitor Center (Santa Barbara): Open 11 am to 5 pm daily.

Visiting Tips

Channel Islands National Park is open 24 hours a day, year-round with the exception of Thanksgiving Day and December 25. While the park is located in a typically moderate Mediterranean climate, visitors should be prepared for rapid changes in weather. High winds, sea spray, rough seas, and fog are all common in the park. Fall is the most popular time to plan a visit, as the likelihood of calm water, warm weather and slow winds occurs between August and September.

Fees & Passes:
There is no entrance fee to visit Channel Islands National Park.

Camping & Lodging

Camping:
Year-round camping is available on each of the five islands of Channel Islands National Park. Each island boasts a Park Service managed campground, where amenities include picnic tables and pit toilets. Potable water is only available at the Santa Rosa and Santa Cruz Island campgrounds. Be aware that transportation to the islands often fills before campgrounds. Camping reservations can be made online at www.recreation.gov.

There are limited backcountry sites available on Santa Rosa and Santa Cruz islands and a backcountry permit is required.

Lodging:
Lodging is unavailable within the park and there are a variety of lodging options available in the nearby towns of Ventura, Oxnard, and Santa Barbara, California.

Food & Drink

There are no restaurants or stores in Channel Islands National Park. Visitors will need to bring all of their own food with them, and most will need to bring their own water as well. Potable water is only available at Santa Cruz and Santa Rosa Campgrounds.

Outfitters, Tours, & Shuttles

Guided Tours:
Channel Islands offers a variety of ranger-led tours, talks, and hikes that vary by season. All programs, unless otherwise specified, are free and open to the public. To learn more about these ranger-led programs and to see the current events calendar, click here.

Shuttles:
While the mainland visitor centers in Ventura and Santa Barbara are readily accessible by car or public transportation, due to the remote location of Channel Islands National Park, it is necessary to find private transportation to and from the islands. There are a variety of options available to visitors, including private and public boat transportation as well as public airplane transportation. For more information about transportation to the islands, click here.

There are two park concessionaires, Island Packers and Channel Islands Aviation who can provide specific information about public transportation. Regulations and guidelines for private boats can be found here.

Other Activities

There are a variety of ways to enjoy the pristine islands that make up Channel Islands National Park. Visitors enjoy various types of aquatic activities such as diving, snorkeling, surfing, and kayaking. In addition, there are many terrestrial activities such as hiking, camping, bird watching, picnicking, and wildflower viewing. If you're looking to blend both the ocean and land, tide pooling, fishing, and aquatic wildlife viewing are also accessible. No matter what you choose, a visit to Channel Islands National Park will help you leave the clamor of everyday life behind. Visit Channel Island's website for more information on the park's variety of activities.

Maps & Guidebooks

To download a variety of free brochures to help plan your visit, click here.

Gems in Channel Islands National Park - 1

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gem Favorite Inspiration point at Anacapa Island!

Inspiration Point

(4) Anacapa…, CA

Recommended Routes in Channel Islands National Park - 2

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Favorite High Mount
Difficult

Santa Cruz Traverse

13.4 mi 21.6 km 2,573' Up 784.37 m Up 2,568' Down 782.81 m Down

Anacapa…, CA
Favorite View of Cavern Point Loop Trail.
Intermediate

Potato Harbor Loop

5.0 mi 8.0 km 511' Up 155.78 m Up 510' Down 155.6 m Down

Santa C…, CA

Channel Islands National Park Hiking

  • 197 Miles 317 Kilometers of Trail
  • 2 Recommended Routes
  • 1 Gem Gems
  • 26 Easy Trails Easy Trails
  • 33 Intermediate Trails Intermediate Trails
  • 15 Difficult Trails Difficult Trails
Hiking Project is built by hikers like you. Share what you know about this area!

Areas Within Channel Islands National Park

Weather Averages


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Trails in Channel Islands National Park - 72

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3.9 mi 6.3 km #1Carrington Point Road
Intermediate
Isla Vista, CA
Intermediate
Isla Vista, CA
0.9 mi 1.5 km #2North Bluff Trail
Intermediate
Anacapa Island, CA
Intermediate
Anacapa Island, CA
1.5 mi 2.4 km #3Lobo Canyon Trail
Intermediate
Isla Vista, CA
Intermediate
Isla Vista, CA
1.5 mi 2.5 km #4Potato Harbor Road
Intermediate
Anacapa Island, CA
Intermediate
Anacapa Island, CA
0.4 mi 0.7 km #5Cathedral Cove
Intermediate
Anacapa Island, CA
Intermediate
Anacapa Island, CA
2.0 mi 3.2 km #6Cherry Canyon Trail
Intermediate
Isla Vista, CA
Intermediate
Isla Vista, CA
0.3 mi 0.6 km #7Pinniped Point
Intermediate
Anacapa Island, CA
Intermediate
Anacapa Island, CA
2.5 mi 4.0 km #8Twin Peaks/Soledad Canyon Road
Easy/Intermediate
Solvang, CA
Easy/Intermediate
Solvang, CA
1.4 mi 2.2 km #9Montanon Trail
Intermediate
Summerland, CA
Intermediate
Summerland, CA
1.8 mi 2.9 km #10Torrey Pine Road
Intermediate
Isla Vista, CA
Intermediate
Isla Vista, CA

Photos of Channel Islands National Park - 86

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Anacapa Island sunrise. with permission from Elena Omelchenko
Sep 2, 2016 near Anacapa…, CA
Inspiration point at Anacapa Island!
Mar 31, 2020 near Anacapa…, CA
Mountain Views
Mar 31, 2020 near Anacapa…, CA
Anacapa Island sunrise with Arch Rock. with permission from Elena Omelchenko
Sep 2, 2016 near Anacapa…, CA
Cathedral Cove viewpoint.
Sep 30, 2015 near Channel…, CA
High Mount
Jan 1, 2018 near Anacapa…, CA
The moors of the island
Jan 1, 2018 near Anacapa…, CA
Santa Rosa Isl: Bechers Bay from Cherry Canyon Tr. Airstrip and Coastal Road in foreground. Pier mid left, across from boat.
Sep 7, 2016 near Isla Vista, CA