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San Miguel Island

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10 mi 17 km




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Visitors to San Miguel Island will be amazed by the varied landscape and unique flora and fauna that call this island home. Four species of seals and sea lions come to the island to breed and give birth, and the landscape is highlighted by pristine tidepools, rare plants, and the strange caliche forest. The island also has a rich history as it was once the home to the seagoing Chumash people before it was discovered by the European explorer Juan Rodrigeuz Cabrillo. For a time, the island was used as a sheep ranch, and today the island is owned by the Navy, but managed under an agreement with the National Park Service to protect and preserve this beautiful island habitat.

For more information on visiting San Miguel Island, visit the park's website.


There is no visitor center on San Miguel Island. A permit (including liability waiver) is required to visit the island. These forms are available at Island Packers, Channel Islands Aviation, and Truth Aquatics. Private boaters can obtain the forms at a self-registration station at the Nidever Canyon Trailhead.

The trail system at San Miguel incorporates several miles of trails. Hikers must stay on designated trails, and no off-trail travel is permitted. The island was a former bombing range and there are possible unexploded ordnance. Visitors must be accompanied by a ranger beyond the ranger station. When not accompanied by a ranger, visitors may explore Cuyler Harbor Beach, Nidever Canyon, the Cabrillo Monument, and the Lester Ranch site. To contact a ranger to arrange a hike past the ranger station, call the park headquarters at (805) 658-5730.

Visiting Tips

San Miguel Island is only accessible by boat or plane. Island Packers offers boat trips spring through fall. Travel time is about four hours. On a trial basis, some flights are offered by Channel Islands Aviation. More information can be found here. Visitors are encouraged to come prepared for fog, wind, and adverse weather conditions as the island is remote and the weather can change rapidly.

Camping and Lodging

Primitive camping is available at the established campground near the historic Lester Ranch site. There are nine sites available for $15 per night per site, and reservations are required. Picnic tables, food storage box, windbreak, and pit toilet are provided. Water is not available.

Maps and Guidebooks

To download a free brochure to help plan your trip, click here.

Food and Drink

There are no goods, services, or accommodations available on the island. Visitors must bring all their own food and supplies, and there is no water available on the island.

Other Activities

Due to the strong, persistent wind, snorkeling, swimming, diving, and kayaking are limited and recommended for the experienced visitor only. In addition, landing and beach access is only allowed at Cuyler Harbor. No fishing is allowed within the marine reserves located around the island. Fishing is allowed outside of these areas with a valid California state fishing license with an ocean enhancement stamp.

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Featured Hike
Featured Hikes

Featured Hikes in San Miguel Island - 1

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Trails in San Miguel Island - 3

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6.9 mi 11.2 km
#1 Nidever Canyon Trail
Lompoc, CA
6.9 mi 11.2 km Lompoc, CA
3.2 mi 5.2 km
#2 Lester Point Trail
Lompoc, CA
3.2 mi 5.2 km Lompoc, CA
Lompoc, CA
0.3 mi 0.4 km Lompoc, CA

Photos of San Miguel Island - 1

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