Camp at Scorpion Ranch, Channel Islands NP

    0.5 miles  - Out-and-Back Trail

    Added by Jon Adler

    The best National Park no one has ever heard of...solitude, beauty, and sunsets for days. 

    Accessible only by Ferry, this little known national park is a backpackers dream. You can catch the ferry out of Ventura or Santa Barbara, only a short distance from LA. The ride to the island is around 1 hour.

    We chose to take Island Packers Ferry out of Ventura to Santa Cruz Island. The ferry leaves for the island once or twice in the morning, and picks people back up in the afternoon, heading back to the mainland. We, however, decided to stay the night on the island and take the afternoon ferry back the following day.

    The Scorpion Ranch Campground is a rustic area, very flat, with 31 various campsites spread throughout. It is a short 1/2 mile from where the ferry drops you off. We went in the Winter, and got a bit cold at night, so bring warm sleeping gear.

    Staying on the island overnight is quite an experience. After the last ferry leaves for the night, it's just you, any other overnight campers, and some very cute island foxes (there are park rangers on the island in case of an emergency...don't worry).

    There are a few various bathrooms around the campground, but no showers. No trashcans on the island, so everything you bring on the island must come back with you when you leave.

    From the campsite, there are miles and miles of various hikes ranging from easy to strenuous. Pick a hike, set up your hammock, start roasting some marshmallows and enjoy the pure bliss of the Channel Islands. 

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    Rate this Adventure

    So peaceful and full of cute foxes

    This was such a nice little get away, easy walking distance from the ferry dock but still quiet and feels remote. The campgrounds have a ton of the cutest foxes who will get pretty close to you but also will try to swipe your food, which is also adorable. Beautiful views from the cliff hikes and the best snorkeling I’ve seen in California. Went during the dry season so the hike to the other side of the island was pretty barren and hot but still nice.

    Leave No Trace

    Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

    We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on.

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