CAMPING TRIP TO SANTA CRUZ ISLAND SCORPION CANYON CAMPGROUND
TRIP · 3-day camping trip
FOR · Friends & first-time backpackers
VIBE · Fun & challenging
COST · $$
DRIVE · 1 hr. drive from LA & 1 hr. ferry ride
DATES · June - October
PETS · Not allowed in the park
WHY CHANNEL ISLANDS NATIONAL PARK?
Channel Islands National Park (CINP) has five spectacular islands: Anacapa, Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa, San Miguel & Santa Barbara. Visiting involves some ferry logistics, but don't let that deter you from having a once-in-a-lifetime adventure. Kayak to sea caves and watch a sweeping ocean sunset, CINP is the place for friends & families alike.
For thousands of years, the northern Channel Islands were home to native Chumash communities.
NEED TO KNOW
⛴️ Buy an $84 round-trip ferry ticket via Island Packers Cruises, but time the dates with your backpacking permit (more details below).
💕 CINP doesn't have an entrance fee!
🐭 It does have deer mice though, which may carry hantavirus. The mice are actually kind of cute, but try not to accidentally feed them. Bring a rodent-proof container, like an Ursack, to store your food.
⛺This is a "primitive" and rather remote camping trip so bring everything you're going to need
⛈️Weather can turn quick so pack layers!
EACH CAMPSITE COMES WITH:
- A picnic table
- A food storage locker (to help protect your food from island foxes!)
- Space for six people & three tents
- Shared toilets (on site)
- No trash cans, so pack out whatever you pack in!
SPEND THE NIGHT AT SANTA CRUZ SCORPION CANYON CAMPGROUND
There are 25 campsites and 6 group campsites (for up to 15 people) at Scorpion Canyon. From Scorpion Anchorage, it's a flat 0.5 mile hike to reach the campground. Settle in with native Channel Islands foxes that like to show up around camp, but don't feed them!
There are restrooms and drinking water available, but bring your own H20 for washing dishes, etc. Campfires aren't allowed (cuz' who wants to start a wildfire on an island), but enjoy the serenity & starry skies of Scorpion Canyon.
Nightly rate: $15
DRIVE TO ISLAND PACKERS CRUISES IN VENTURA HARBOR
- Located at: 1691 Spinnaker Dr #105B in Ventura
- Book the earliest ferry so you have backup options in case someone sleeps in. It happens!
DOLPHIN & WHALE WATCH DURING THE FERRY RIDE
- It's about an hour-long ferry ride to Santa Cruz Island
- Keep your eyes peeled for humpback, grey, or even blue whales!
TREK TO SCORPION CAMPGROUND & SET UP CAMP
- It's about a 0.5 mile hike from the harbor
- Prep lunch & explore the campground
SPEND THE AFTERNOON HIKING ALONG SCORPION BAY TO CAVERN POINT LOOP
- It's a 1.6 mile loop with 278 feet of elevation
- Soak up 180 degree views of the Pacific & say hi to some foxes if they're around
RETURN TO CAMP & PREP DIN-DIN
- Enjoy a warm dinner. Spend the rest of the night stargazing & swapping stories
COOK UP BREKKIE & PREP FOR AN EPIC DAY HIKE ALONG MONTANON RIDGE LOOP
- A 9.4 mile loop with 1,734 feet of elevation gain. Hike it counter-clockwise so you're going downhill for the second half of the trail (A shorter, but equally stunning alternative is a 7.7 mile round trip hike to Smuggler's Cove)
- Pack sunscreen, snacks, lunch to-go & plenty of water (at least 2 liters per person) for the trek
- Treat yourself to a picnic lunch at the top of Montañon Ridge
RETURN TO CAMP & CLEAN UP
- Chill & recuperate from the hike
- Near dinner time, pack potable water, your headlamp, jacket, backpacking stove, drinks, meal & dessert into a pack & hike back to Cavern Point for a sunset dinner
- Spend the rest of the evening relaxing & unwinding
PREP BREKKIE & CLEAN UP AROUND CAMP
- Take down your tent, check for litter & pack a lunch to-go
HIKE BACK TO SCORPION ANCHORAGE & GO ON A SEA CAVE KAYAKING TOUR
- Explore the island's beautiful sea caves with the Santa Barbara Adventure Company. CIMP's caves were shaped more than 20 million years ago & Cavern Point Cave, one of the highlights, is 200+ feet deep. This three-hour morning tour costs $161 per person.
ENJOY LUNCH & CATCH THE 4 PM FERRY BACK TO VENTURA
- It never hurts to be early when you're trying to catch a ferry :)
CAMPING IS COMMUNAL
Your outdoor experiences helps everyone have a safe & memorable time in nature. Tell us about your trip to Channel Islands National Park below & bonus points if you used this itinerary!
Yvonne, Bewilder's founder, is planning a camping trip to Channel Islands National Park this July or August! Get a taste of island camping & make once-in-a-lifetime memories with members of the Bewilder community.
There are a limited number of spots available so apply ASAP!
LAST UPDATED: MAY 8, 2021
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