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Channel Islands National Park, Santa Cruz Island

View from Cavern Point Loop Trail, 4/30/11

Santa Cruz Island is located off the coast of Ventura, CA and is one of five islands that make up Channel Islands National Park. 

These islands are undeveloped, you won't find shops or modern facilites.  Here you have excellent hiking opportunites with beautiful views.  The Channel Islands are home to plants and animals that are found no other place. 

Camping (hike in only, no campfires), kayaking, diving or snorkeling are among the other recreational activities permitted.  Some islands were once working ranches.  Some old ranch buildings are now historical sites.  At one time Scorpion Anchorage was a sheep ranch.

On this page, our trip to Scorpion Anchorage on Santa Cruz Island.  We took the 1 day trip on Islands Packers--the boat ride across the Santa Barbara Channel was an adverture in itself, rough waters with views of dolphins and whales along the way.  On the island we hiked the Cavern Point Loop Trail (click here for a map of the island).  This page represents only a small fraction of this island.  To learn more about Santa Cruz Island see the National Parks Service website. 


Cavern Point Loop Trailhead, trailhead by the campgrounds, 2/21/10

The island has several national park rangers on site at all times to assist guests or answer any questions.  Trail maps and interpretive signs are posted near the boat landing.  A fascinating interpretive tour lead by a park ranger is available, great educational experience for children.  The old ranch houses are currently under renovation for future tours. 

Below, pictures from our Cavern Point Loop Trail hike.  Hiking Tip:  to avoid a very steep climb we are going to hike just past the first campground and connect with the trail there.  The trail will then loop back down to the beach/Scorpion Anchorage (ending at the trailhead shown in the picture above).

Really this island was more scenic than shown in these pics; a storm was approaching and these photos were taken under difficult lighting.  See current pics from April 2011 on my Santa Cruz Island Facebook photo gallery (no Facebook signup required).  Click any picture on this page to enlarge. 

The first hike-in campground, 1/4 mile from the beach.

Hillside view from the road to the campgrounds.

Looking back at the campgrounds below from Cavern Point Loop Trail

Lichen covered rocks along the trail.

Santa Cruz Island Cavern Point Loop SantaCruz/2-21-10-096b.jpg
Cavern Point Loop Trail, 2/21/10

Not getting any closer to the edge here! The winds on this side of the island were VERY strong.

Again windy here, this is the opposite side of the island from the boat landing.

"Inland" view from Cavern Point Loop

Back on the boat landing side of the island, trail is steep but downhill from here.

Scorpion Anchorage view from Cavern Point Loop Trail.

View of the old ranch buildings below.

Trail has a "wooded" look as it makes the final descent back to Scorpion Anchorage.

View of the beach near the boat landing (Scorpion Anchorage) from Cavern Pt Loop Trail.

The beach

View from the boat dock.

Near the beach/Scorpion Anchorage.


Places Nearby (other pages on this site)
   Anacapa Island
   Santa Barbara Island
  On the mainland, not far from either Ventura or Oxnard Harbors

External Links (other websites):

Authorized concessionaire to Channel Islands National Park, Island Packers
info, directions to the harbors, parking and more:

Island Packers website, Santa Cruz Island visiting info & boat fares, descriptions, trip schedule:

National Park Service on hiking Santa Cruz Island, trails, maps and island info:

Channel Island National Park Public Notices, NPS website:

National Park Service, Santa Cruz Islands photos, slideshows, virtual tours & videos: