Looking for a great trail in Channel Islands National Park, California? AllTrails has 21 great hiking trails, trail running trails, views trails and more, with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers, and nature lovers like you. Ready for some activity? There are 13 moderate trails in Channel Islands National Park ranging from 2.4 to 19.4 miles and from 3 to 1,341 feet above sea level. Start checking them out and you'll be out on the trail in no time!

hiking

nature trips

views

no dogs

bird watching

walking

wildlife

beach

wild flowers

trail running

camping

cave

kid friendly

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.

hiking
over grown
4 days ago

Awesome views. Did in April after the big rains and parts of the trail were a bit overgrown but not impassible. Saw about 5 island foxes.

The trailhead from the campground was a bit difficult to find, hang to the right and you’ll see it though.

Perfect lunch location at potato harbor viewpoint.

Went downhill too early, definitely regretted not adding the cavern point loop.

FYI, the hike to scorpion rock via smugglers road WAS too overgrown to pass, especially with the presence of ticks (we did see a few)

hiking
no shade
5 days ago

Very short hike that is a syndication of the Potato Harbor trail. Quick ascent to start and then a flat loop with panoramic views of the harbor from the cliff tops.

no shade
9 days ago

Beautiful hike on Santa Cruz Island starting off with a quick ascent from the landing to the plateau and then mostly flat and paralleling the coastline. No shade. Breathtaking views.

hiking
no shade
rocky
13 days ago

12/10 recommend. Started at 10:00 AM at Scorpion Anchorage, headed to the Montanan ridge radio tower, ate lunch, and headed down Scorpion Canyon to Cavern Trail and back to the Anchorage. Absolutely beautiful views on the way and at the top, sunny skies, great weather. Bring layers for the boat ride, sunscreen, hat, plenty of water (3L) and a nutritious lunch. Had enough time to walk on the beach for a bit then headed back to shore at 4:30 PM.

hiking
no shade
14 days ago

Potato Harbor has breathtaking ocean views and cliffs. It is an exposed trail. Spring was a perfect time to visit with all the wildflowers blooming.

Very easy hike. Took a ferry in and camped the night. Gorgeous view and the foxes were so awesome! Can't wait to come back to the other islands!

hiking
1 month ago

This hike is awesome on a beautiful day like that one we got. The sky was clear and sunny, there was barely any wind, and the temperature was probably in the 60s, maybe 70s the whole way through. We arrived around 9:40 and finished this hike at about 1:30. I accidentally stopped my GPS in the middle but it was probably around 8 miles round trip. We did an out and back (not the loop listed here) from upper scorpion campground, following the trail to the peak, then back along the same trail. We saw island foxes, wildflowers blooming, and the island scrub jay! This hike is entirely exposed, so definitely bring lots of water and sunscreen, and layers to protect from the wind if you don't have a perfect day like we had. We added a little side trip to cavern point and part of potato harbor for about 10.5mi total in 5.5 hours, with about about 10-15 minutes enjoying the summit views and a half hour pause at the campgrounds for lunch. Trail is pretty obvious, once you get to upper scorpion campground and follow the trail on the left side of the campground. I would highly recommend this if you get out to Santa Cruz Island!

Really beautiful hike. Lots of flowers and green vegetation due to the amount of rain lately. The beach was nice, but rocky... would have liked to have been there at low tide instead in order to see more sea life. Would definitely recommend. Great workout too!

Very easy hike- if you still have energy continue down to Potato Harbor for another spectacular view (will make this hike a total of 5 miles). Easy to follow and amazing views!!

hiking
1 month ago

SUCH a beautiful hike. I definitely recommend taking a break and eating lunch at the Potato Harbor. You have beautiful ocean views and the trail is easy to follow. We saw an island fox on the trail! One of my favorite hikes!

hiking
1 month ago

The island was extra green due to A lot of recent rainfall. Paths were generally pretty muddy most of the way.

The hike was very pretty with great views back across the Santa Barbara channel to California.

There were two low water river crossings. We saw a number of small boxes that we have on the island. The park ranger told us they were pretty aggressive about chasing after your lunch if it was more than arm’s-length away.


Would highly recommend this hike to anyone who can make it out to channel islands national Park.

Absolutely gorgeous. I did this going the other direction, from Scorpion to Prisoners. It’s a race. You get off the boat at 10:30/45 and the boat leaves in the afternoon from Prisoners at 2:45. If you miss it you’re stuck overnight. So you have 4 hours tops to do a half marathon (I clocked it at exactly 13.1 from pier to pier). BRING WATER, lots of motivation, and your sense of wonder... because it is so stunningly beautiful.

backpacking
1 month ago

hiking
no shade
2 months ago

Great trail, wonderful views. The trail normally a loop was now an out and back due to a fallen tree closing one part of the trail. The initial ascent is fairly steep but perfectly doable. The rest of the trail is fairly leveled and offers amazing views and lightly traveled. The day started with overcast skies until the sun came out and was fairly intense, so make sure to bring sunblock. The wind began to pick up and it became a challenge to make it to the end with particles blowing it became difficult to keep pressing forward. When I finally made it, it was difficult to stay too long due to the strong winds. It’s simply stunning over Potato Harbor, a definite must do on Santa Cruz.

We traveled during labor day weekend. This is probably the best All Trails map for the hike to Del Norte campground on Santa Cruz from Prisoners Harbor -- on the map, it includes the green to the yellow circle. We also hiked the Navy Road portion of this trail to Del Norte, which many will tell you is "easier" to take on the way back in terms of steepness. It is a little easier at some points, but I'd say just as steep and even boring after a while being more inland and on a dirt road. The evening Autumn fog though was beautiful.

Especially considering the ferry ride out to Santa Cruz where we saw a Grey whale the whole experience was unbelievable. Can't recommend the hike and really the whole island enough.

Did a sunset hike with a park ranger and it was really nice!

trail running
3 months ago

Decent climb! Great trail for exercise. Started on this trail and continued to Smugglers Cove

trail running
3 months ago

Awesome sunset hike! Great trail for trail running

Incredible hike. The most amazing part was the sound dog the waves at the coves hitting the rocks

hiking
3 months ago

Hiked in November 2017. Great hike on a beautiful California day surrounded by ocean views.

700 ft elevation gain, then down to the cove. Leave the same way you came in. Nice open trail. 75degree weather was perfect.

Very easy. Great for picture taking and young kids. Nothing to worry about here :)

hiking
5 months ago

Trail is very easy to follow and well paved. Fairly steep at the beginning but ultimately do-able for almost anyone. Very relaxing and fairly empty of visitors. I would recommend this hike as the first you do in Channel Islands.

hiking
5 months ago

Taking a swim at Tinker's Cove at the end was amazing!

Pretty boring aside from the oil well at the top. Scenery just looks like the rest of Southern California.

After lunch near the Visitor's Center, I went to the Scorpion Campgrounds. I tacked on some extra trail when I had been looking for wildlife around the campgrounds. I then went up the Potato Harbor Road then onto North Bluff Trail and Cavern Point Loop Trail. Great Views.
Virtual Treadmill video of this hike can be seen on my YouTube Channel, copy and paste link below to watch it. Thanks.
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCFO02nxPdM4-CabegFIPlow?view_as=subscriber

hiking
7 months ago

Potato Harbor Trail is an moderate to easy hike and the views are spectacular of the Santa Cruz Island Coast. This hike is well worth doing, best in the spring when everything is blooming and it is not too hot. This day the ride over was a little tough with the swells but not too bad. There is an orientation you should do after getting off the boat, then you can do whatever you had planned. I immediately hit the trail up to the bluff overlooking Scorpion Harbor, then out to Potato Harbor overlook. Bring plenty of water especially if you are hiking inland, hotter away from coast.
Enjoy.

Virtual Treadmill video of this hike can be seen on my YouTube Channel, copy and paste link below to watch it. Thanks.
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCFO02nxPdM4-CabegFIPlow?view_as=subscriber

Load More