hiking

no dogs

nature trips

views

birding

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.

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
19 days ago

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

trail running
19 days 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
21 days 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
2 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
2 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
4 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

hiking
4 months ago

What a special place to be near such extremely rare species of trees. Truly amazing views! Trail was in good condition with some minor parts a bit washed out but manageable. Completed the whole hike in 2.5 hours walking quickly at 1.7 miles every 30 min. As a 32 year old male, this was pretty easy for me. Pack at least 3 liters of water and bring a hat. Had plenty of time to relax at the beach before departing.

Did part of this hike during our day on the island. Nothing too special.

hiking
4 months ago

Some nice views of the other side of Santa Cruz island but not as amazing as we expected from a national park.

hiking
4 months ago

Went to the Channel Islands for the day and this was one of the 3 hikes we did. Cool views, but not quite as spectacular as we were expecting.

Would not suggest this as an out and back because of lack of water. Better to get dropped at prisoners and hike across or even over night at del Norte along the way.

Very beautiful trail that follows the coastline of Santa Cruz Island! Make sure you bring enough water, there is no source for potable water until you get to Scorpion.

A nice, easy hike with gorgeous views the whole way! I was lucky enough to see a peregrine falcon perching on some of the cliffs along the trail. Make sure to bring plenty of sunscreen and water because there is nowhere to stop in the shade on this trail.

hiking
4 months ago

Beautiful ocean views all around. Not much vegetation.

With high temperatures continuously soaring, the landscape hardly had any sort of vegetation. However, revegetation is being carried through to make sure Santa Cruz Island is abundant in life to ensure ecological restoration. Regarding the hike itself, the trail consisted mostly of going downhill. You’ll also be passing though Smuggler’s Canyon Trail. As a result of hiking past another trail, it was difficult to record the actual amount of time and distance it took me to get to Smuggler’s Cove.

The map displayed that the hike towards Smuggler’s Cove is 7.5 miles, but from my experience, it was half that distance. This indicates, to me, that the distance is the total hike of going there and going back, in other words, a round trip.

When you get there, there’ll be few vegetation and the shore is compiled of rocks.

I put three stars because lack of vegetation and good scenic views.

5 months ago

Fun hike on mostly paved road. Water was nice to swim in at the cove. Great scenery and solitude.

Rocky terrain with never-ending western sea gulls, pelicans, and another bird species everywhere. There are spots to take amazing photos though! Kayaking, snorkeling, and camping is allowed.

hiking
5 months ago

I really enjoyed this trail. Awesome, commanding ocean views for the majority of the trail. I could see other islands in the distance and the mountain peaks of the island I was on. The cove was cool, too; I went at low tide and was able to do a little tide pooling. I saw jellies, snails, hermit crabs, anemones, fiddler crabs in the water and tons of lizards and grey foxes on land. Steep hike (definitely got a good glute workout and my knees didn't like me at the end) but a very enjoyable, scenic hike...would do again if I had the opportunity.

5 months ago

Amazing place. Easy.

For an easier climb start at Campsite 22 and come back down the other side. Make sure you take water as there is no shade.

6 months ago

Had the cove to myself. Did some off-trail hiking near the cove, a dry riverbed. Great solitude, sweeping vistas. Fox followed me much of the way back.

great hike. we camped out over the week and plan to set out to east point via torrey pines. we did not make it. It was seasonably hot on july 7. We all packed 3L and a 32 oz bottle of water. we fan out at the end of the torrey pine trail and was just a little past half way. We turned back because we ran out of water. The view from top the trail on the bench is amazing and breath taking.

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