Exploring Channel Islands National Park

Which Island To Choose

First things first, it’s important to determine what sort of trip you’re looking for. If you’re just looking for a quick seascape adventure and some native wildlife, take the short boat ride toAnacapa Island. For a more rugged hiking and sightseeing day or camping excursion, opt forSanta Cruz Island instead. It’s the largest island in the chain at over 96 square miles, and also features the highest peak, at over 2,000 feet. Farther off, Santa Rosa Island offers fewer camping opportunities than Santa Cruz, but features a wider variety of landscapes to explore. There are sheer cliffs and flat, unassuming beaches, as well as canyons and a grove of extremely rare Torrey pines.

San Miguel Island is the westernmost outpost in the entire park, and its isolated perch leaves it windswept and weather beaten. Still, the island’s 27 miles of protected coastline harbors thousands of seals and sea lions, especially during their respective mating seasons. Many of the lovable, bellowing creatures can be seen on island’s day long, ranger-guided 16-mile round trip hike to Point Bennett.

The final, and smallest, outcropping is Santa Barbara Island, which covers one square mile and rests well south of the rest of the park, where kayakers will rejoice in the easy waters and the plentiful caves that dot the island.

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