Experience the Channel Islands
Comprising five in a chain of the eight southern California islands that extend along the southern California coast from Point Conception near Santa Barbara to just north of Los Angeles, Channel Islands consists of 249,354 acres, and include the islands of San Miguel, Santa Rosa, Santa Cruz, Anacapa, and Santa Barbara and 125,000 acres of submerged lands.
Although the islands are close to the Southern California coast, their isolation has left them undeveloped and a fascinating place to explore. The islands and their surrounding one nautical mile of ocean, with its kelp forests, compose Channel Islands National Park – so designated by Congress in 1980 because they possess unique natural and cultural resources.
You can enjoy a number of exciting activities on the Channel Islands, including scuba diving, snorkeling, swimming, fishing, bird watching, kayaking, whale watching, sailing/boating, hiking, wildlife viewing and stargazing. The islands are a spectacular place to camp, hike, picnic, and explore tide pools, isolated beaches, and rugged canyons. Although summer is a popular season to visit, migrating gray whales and spectacular wildflower displays make winter and spring a unique time to venture out. Autumn is an also an excellent time for scuba diving, as the days are sunny with minimal winds and clear ocean water. [Top]
Kayaking the Channel Islands
Sea kayaking Channel Islands National Park is a unique and rewarding way to experience its pristine marine environment. You will find solitude and splendor while paddling along the routes used by the first explorers, and face new challenges and adventures. Kayakers may paddle from the mainland across the channel to Anacapa Island. However, the 12-mile paddle is not for the novice or anyone not properly trained and equipped.
Currents, shifting swells and strong winds can stretch a normal 3-to4-hour trip to Anacapa Island into a 6-hour struggle. The strongest currents are often encountered near the island. The paddle from Oxnard or Ventura also takes the kayaker across some of the busiest shipping lanes in California. Potentially dense fog and ship speeds of 25 to 35 knots present a special hazard to kayakers while crossing the channel.
Visitors with their own kayaks who want to explore Channel Islands National Park may contact the park boat concessionaires, who will transport kayaks to the islands on public trips for an extra fee. The concessionaires offer year-round transportation to the islands for day visits and camping trips. [Top]
Kayak Trips & Outfitters
Kayak with one of several outfitters that offer a variety – moderate to strenuous - of kayak trips to the Channel Islands. Most kayak excursions are offered from May through October. And some of the outfitters rent kayaks, as well. For a listing of kayak outfitters, contact the Park Visitor Center. [Top]
Channel Islands National Park is home to a wide variety of significant natural and cultural resources. Over 2,000 species of plants and animals exist within the park, and 145 of these species are unique to the islands and found nowhere else in the world. Marine life ranges from microscopic plankton to the endangered blue whale, the largest animal to live on earth. Archeological and cultural resources span a period of more than 10,000 years! [Top]
Hiking the Channel Islands
Explore miles of scenic hiking and walking trails on the Channel Islands. Near the small visitor center on Anacapa Island, you’ll find a gentle 1.5-mile nature trail that explores East Anacapa. On San Miguel Island, there is a great hiking trail from the landing in Cuyler Harbor across the island to Adams Cove. Arch Point Loop, Canyon View Nature, Elephant Seal Cove and Signal Peak Loop offer great hikes on Santa Barbara Island. Tour Santa Cruz Island on the beautiful trail from Potato Harbor along the east side of the island to Smugglers Cove. On Santa Rosa Island, there is a trail from Northwest Anchorage along the east coast to East Point. Park naturalists conduct interpretive hikes throughout the islands. [Top]
Channel Islands Visitors Center
A wonderful launching point for the Islands, the Channel Islands Visitors Center in Ventura Harbor is great place to experience the natural history and beauty of the Channel Islands. The visitor's center offers wonderful exhibits on the flora and fauna of the islands, graphic relief maps, a bookstore, and an observation tower that provides excellent views of the entire harbor. Boats depart from Ventura to the Channel Islands Harbors year round. Hop on the Island Packers, the official watergoing transportation provider for the islands. [Top]
Santa Paula, CA 93060