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 an afternoon ferry to dodge the day visitors taking the morning ferries!
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
PREP & ENJOY DINNER
SUNSET HIKE TO POTATO HARBOR
- This is a 3.2 mile out and back trail with 300 feet of elevation
- Bring a daypack with a jacket, camp chair & your headlamp
RETURN TO CAMP
- Spend the rest of the night stargazing & swapping stories
(OPTIONAL) SUNRISE HIKE TO CAVERN POINT
- About a 1.7 mile out and back hike from camp to Cavern Point Overlook to watch the sunrise
COOK UP BREKKIE & COFFEE
HIKE TO SMUGGLER'S COVE
- It's an 8.2 mile out and back trail with 1,447 feet of elevation gain
- Pack a daypack with snacks, lunch to-go, a jacket, plenty of water (at least 2 liters per person), sunscreen, water shoes, swimsuit & towel for the trek. There's no shade along the trail and very little shade at the beach so bring your sun gear!
- Enjoy lunch, swim in the ocean & chill by the beach.
- If you're feeling ambitious, hike 0.4 miles round-trip to Smuggler's Ranch House from Smuggler's Cove
- There's a steep climb back to camp so save your energy!
RETURN TO SCORPION ANCHORAGE & GO SNORKELING
- You can rent snorkeling gear from Santa Barbara Adventure Company for $28/day, or bring your own!
RETURN TO CAMP, CLEAN UP & PREP DINNER
- Chill & recuperate from the day
- Enjoy dinner & games at camp
- 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.
- Pack water, snacks, and a dry bag for your phone if you want to take pictures during the kayaking ride. You're definitely going to get wet!
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
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LAST UPDATED: AUGUST 5, 2021
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