Five of the eight Channel Islands are protected, and half of the park's area is underwater. They are home to over 2,000 species of land plants and animals, and 145 are unique to the islands. The islands were originally settled by the Chumash people, and there is a unique Mediterranean ecosystem.
We headed out from camp at 7am. Long, windy, wiinnnnndddy, foggy trail up and over mountains to the other side. It started off cold and crazy windy, but we went down into Lobo Canyon and out to continue onto a route along the rocky coast, so ended up being about a 14 mile hike. Amazingly beautiful Lobo Canyon, and the picnic on a rock cliff , next to crashing waves was great! If you come to Santa Rosa Island, this is the best hike on the island by far.
Took the 4 mile round trip guided hike from Prisoners Harbor. Didn't think I could make it all the way, in fact more than half of the group turned back but when I saw Pelican Bay Up ahead, all I wanted was to rest my sore feet in some cool clear ocean water! Stunning views, learned a lot of how truly unique this habitat actually is.
Great trail with amazing views. If you are going in the summer be sure to leave early before the fog clears off and it gets too hot. Hopefully once you arrive the sun is out, however it will make for a dry and hot hike back. Bring lots of water because there are no places to refill. You basically follow what looks like a fire road. On the way back you can take a number of single track trails cutting between the fire road that make the distance shorter.
I visited the Channel Islands in mid Feb of 2015. Decided to go to Santa Cruz and land at Prisoners so I could do the Pelican Bay Trail. The trail was only 4.5 miles, not 6 as the site suggest, but the difficulty was moderate/strenuous.
The hike itself was absolutely beautiful and our tour guide David did an absolute amazing job informing the group about the plants and wildlife. The Pelican Bay hike is inside the Nature Conservancy which requires that this hike be done with a tour guide. Getting to Pelican Bay was definitely worth the hike! We were able to stop to enjoy our lunch that we brought with us and the view.
I would highly recommend this hike. And we will definitely be back to the channel islands for some camping!
Such an awesome day, a truly unforgettable experience! Got seasick on the ferry over there, had to run the last mile back to catch the ferryat the end of the day, slight heat stroke (very little shade) didn't have a minute to spare to check out the welcome center or relax at the cove turnaround! Can't wait to get back for a second try, loved it. The ocean breeze, the birds that buzzed our heads, the Fox on the trail in front of us...totally worth the trip!
We hiked to potato harbor, though we did not use this exact trail because the first part of it runs through the valley which is very hot in July. We took the steep trail up the wells at the far end of the lower campground up to Cavern Point and hiked the islands coastline out to potato harbor from there. It was a bit further...maybe 6 miles or so, but worth it. Beautiful views & cool breezes.