Hiking Project Logo

Santa Cruz Island

Area suggestions or local tips? Tell us!

Difficulty
Easy Difficult
Distance
mi
 - 
mi
Rating
Distance
mi
 - 
mi
Difficulty
Easy Difficult
Rating
Popular Near Here

Weather Averages


High
 
Low
 
Precip
 
Days w/
 
J F M A M J J A S O N D

47 mi 76 km of trail 1 Featured Hike

Easy Trails 9 Trails Intermediate Trails 13 Trails Hard Trails 5 Trails

Santa Cruz Island is the largest and most diverse of the eight Channel Islands and has a long and varied history that is closely linked to its landscape. Its coastal scrub vegetation, vast grasslands, oak woodlands, and rich coastline sustained the sea-going Chumash people for about 9,000 years. During the nineteenth century, hunters and fishermen exploited the marine life, and mariners found shelter in its coves. Later the island was home to immigrant ranchers, and, in later years, the military took advantage of the island’s strategic location. With such a rich and varied history, visitors are sure to find plenty to explore in addition to the island's stunning natural beauty.

To learn more about Santa Cruz Island, visit the park's website.

Local Info

The island has a single visitor center located in the historic Scorpion Ranch house. Several trails and roads traverse eastern Santa Cruz Island, providing visitors with spectacular hiking opportunities. These trails and roads range from the maintained, relatively flat trails of Scorpion Valley to the unmaintained, rugged, mountainous paths of the Montañon area. Hikers must stay on designated trails, and no off-trail travel is permitted.

While visitors may explore the national park property on Santa Cruz Island, no hiking is allowed beyond the national park boundary onto the Nature Conservancy property. The boundary is the property line (marked by a fence line) between Prisoners Harbor and Valley Anchorage.

Visiting Tips

Santa Cruz Island is only accessible via boat. Island Packers offers trips year round. Travel time is one-hour, landing at either Scorpion Anchorage or Prisoners Harbor. Landing is via a pier at both locations. For more information on transportation options, click here.

Camping & Lodging

Primitive camping is available at the Scorpion Ranch Campground. There are 31 sites available for $15 per night per site, and reservations are required. Water, picnic tables, food storage boxes, and pit toilets are provided.

Maps & Guidebooks

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

Food & Drink

There are no goods, services, or accommodations available on the island. Visitors must bring all their own food and supplies. Water is available at Scorpion Anchorage but not at Prisoners Harbor.

Other Activities

The mixed sand and cobblestone Scorpion Beach is a world-class destination for swimming, snorkeling, diving, and kayaking. With easy beach access, clear ocean waters, nearby camping, amazing kelp forests, and a spectacular shoreline with sea caves to explore, this is a great option for those looking to enjoy the area. 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.

Featured Hikes in Santa Cruz Island - 1

Hiking Project is built by hikers like you. Add Your Hikes

Trails in Santa Cruz Island - 26

Hiking Project is built by hikers like you. Add Your Trails

Anacapa Island, CA
1.3 mi 2.1 km Anacapa Island, CA
Unknown
Update
0.9 mi 1.5 km
#2 North Bluff Trail
Anacapa Island, CA
0.9 mi 1.5 km Anacapa Island, CA
Unknown
Update
3.9 mi 6.3 km
#3 Smugglers Road
Santa Cruz Island, CA
3.9 mi 6.3 km Santa Cruz Island, CA
Unknown
Update
1.4 mi 2.2 km
#4 Montanon Trail
Summerland, CA
1.4 mi 2.2 km Summerland, CA
Unknown
Update
1.5 mi 2.5 km
#5 Potato Harbor Road
Anacapa Island, CA
1.5 mi 2.5 km Anacapa Island, CA
Unknown
Update
Anacapa Island, CA
1.4 mi 2.2 km Anacapa Island, CA
Unknown
Update
Anacapa Island, CA
0.7 mi 1.2 km Anacapa Island, CA
Unknown
Update
4.0 mi 6.4 km
#8 Del Norte Trail
Anacapa Island, CA
4.0 mi 6.4 km Anacapa Island, CA
Unknown
Update
7.2 mi 11.5 km
#9 Navy Road
Anacapa Island, CA
7.2 mi 11.5 km Anacapa Island, CA
All Clear
Update
At 2.6 miles from Prisoners Harbor there is a nice Picknick bench overlooking the island
35 days ago
0.9 mi 1.4 km
#10 China Pines
Anacapa Island, CA
0.9 mi 1.4 km Anacapa Island, CA
Unknown
Update
1.7 mi 2.7 km
#11 Yellowbanks Trail
Carpinteria, CA
1.7 mi 2.7 km Carpinteria, CA
Unknown
Update
1.4 mi 2.3 km
#12 High Mount
Toro Canyon, CA
1.4 mi 2.3 km Toro Canyon, CA
Unknown
Update
2.4 mi 3.8 km
#13 East End Road
Montecito, CA
2.4 mi 3.8 km Montecito, CA
Unknown
Update
4.3 mi 7.0 km
#14 Loma Pelona
Summerland, CA
4.3 mi 7.0 km Summerland, CA
Unknown
Update
Anacapa Island, CA
2.4 mi 3.9 km Anacapa Island, CA
Unknown
Update
1.6 mi 2.6 km
#16 Montanon Canyon
Anacapa Island, CA
1.6 mi 2.6 km Anacapa Island, CA
Unknown
Update
Montecito, CA
2.4 mi 3.8 km Montecito, CA
Unknown
Update
0.3 mi 0.5 km
#18 Oil Well
Toro Canyon, CA
0.3 mi 0.5 km Toro Canyon, CA
Unknown
Update
1.2 mi 1.9 km
#19 Mt. Pleasant
Anacapa Island, CA
1.2 mi 1.9 km Anacapa Island, CA
Unknown
Update
1.1 mi 1.7 km
#20 China Pines Road
Anacapa Island, CA
1.1 mi 1.7 km Anacapa Island, CA
Unknown
Update
0.7 mi 1.1 km
#21 Del Norte Road
Anacapa Island, CA
0.7 mi 1.1 km Anacapa Island, CA
Unknown
Update
1.1 mi 1.8 km
#22 Los Pinos del Sur
Summerland, CA
1.1 mi 1.8 km Summerland, CA
Unknown
Update
Summerland, CA
1.0 mi 1.7 km Summerland, CA
Unknown
Update
0.7 mi 1.1 km
#24 Loma Pelona Spur
Summerland, CA
0.7 mi 1.1 km Summerland, CA
Unknown
Update
1.1 mi 1.8 km
#25 Del Norte Road
Santa Barbara, CA
1.1 mi 1.8 km Santa Barbara, CA
Unknown
Update
0.6 mi 1.0 km
#26 San Lucus Road
Montecito, CA
0.6 mi 1.0 km Montecito, CA
Unknown
Update

Photos of Santa Cruz Island - 52

Hiking Project is built by hikers like you. Add Your Photos

Classes & Events Near You

Find More Classes and Events

Shop REI Adventures

Find More REI Adventures


Hiking Project is part of the REI Co-op family,
where a life outdoors is a life well lived.

Shop REI Hiking