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Santa Cruz Traverse

Difficult
 4.8 (10) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

See summits, chaparral and sweeping ocean views while hiking the eastern Santa Cruz Island.


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Map Key

13.4

Miles

21.6

KM

Point to Point

1,561' 476 m

High

6' 2 m

Low

2,573' 784 m

Up

2,568' 783 m

Down

7%

Avg Grade (4°)

26%

Max Grade (14°)

Dogs No Dogs

Features Birding · Commonly Backpacked · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife

A permit must be obtained for both Del Norte campground and the ferry to and from the island. If you wish to be dropped off at Scorpion Harbor and picked up at Prisoners Harbor or visa versa and you choose the most popular ferry service (Island Packers), you must call their office and ask; it is not an option available for online booking.

Overview

This trail ascends to High Mount and follows the ridgeline of the island, offering stunning views of the ocean, mainland, and the surrounding Channel Islands. It eventually descends to the bluffs that guard Prisoners Harbor where beautiful sunsets can be enjoyed on the island's moors.

Need to Know

The only water on this trail is at its genesis, Scorpion Ranch. Del Norte backcountry campground has none and neither does Prisoners Harbor. All water must be packed in.

Description

The trail starts at Scorpion Ranch as you make your way through the ranch area and campground to the Scorpion Canyon Loop trailhead via Scorpion Valley Road. Once on the trail the path bisects the Scorpion Canyon for roughly 0.75 mile until you bare southeast and begin the steep ascent to High Mount Trail, passing an historic oil drilling sit along the way. Just past the high point of High Mount is a stunning vista that affords a 360-degree view of both sides of the island, Anacapa Island, and the mainland.

This view generally marks the gradual and undulating descent along the ridgeline towards the East End Road. Once on the road, the path is generally flat and enjoyable and the ground significantly less rocky and loose. The road ends into a former Navy road that should be taken north to connect to the Del Norte Trail. Once on this trail, follow it over the moors of the island until you once again dead end into the Navy Road. Take the road north, descending the entire way down to the beach of Prisoners Harbor and relax until the ferry arrives to pick you up.

This route is commonly done as an overnight so you'll have to plan your trip around the ferry schedule. A nice place to camp along the trail is the Del Norte campgrounds.

Contacts

Shared By:

Luke Snow

Trail Ratings

  4.8 from 10 votes

#743

Overall
  4.8 from 10 votes
5 Star
80%
4 Star
20%
3 Star
0%
2 Star
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1 Star
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Recommended Route Rankings

#125

in California

#743

Overall
34 Views Last Month
1,901 Since Jan 1, 2018
Difficult

0%
0%
13%
13%
75%
0%

Photos

High Mount
Jan 1, 2018 near Anacapa…, CA
Just hanging out, hoping for a morsel to eat.
Dec 13, 2016 near Anacapa…, CA
The moors of the island
Jan 1, 2018 near Anacapa…, CA
A rxher turns the corner to view the boat landing at Scorpion Bay.
Dec 13, 2016 near Anacapa…, CA
The start of the trail
Jan 1, 2018 near Anacapa…, CA
Resting on the picnic table.
Mar 16, 2018 near Anacapa…, CA

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Check-Ins

Mar 14, 2020
Dan Cooke
One of the best hikes of my life 13.4mi
Oct 1, 2019
Doug M
Dec 21, 2018
Judson Zhao
13.4mi
Oct 9, 2018
Jao Pan
Sep 27, 2018
Timothée Florent
Jul 3, 2018
Shang Shi
Rewarding! 8.5mi
Jul 3, 2018
Xinning Nina HU
10mi