• Activities:

    Photography, Running, Hiking, Fitness

  • Skill Level:

    Advanced

  • Season:

    Year Round

  • Trail Type:

    Loop

  • RT Distance:

    7.6 Miles

  • Elevation Gain:

    2214 Feet

Picnic Area
Romantic
Scenic
Wildflowers
Wildlife

El Montanon Trail is a unique, 7.6 mile hike on Santa Cruz Island in Channel Islands National Park. The hike offers jaw-dropping views of the island's hills, canyons, and the surrounding Pacific Ocean.

Bring extra layers, as exposed ridges are very windy. Trekking poles are recommended to help provide stability during strong wind gusts. The views are absolutely breathtaking. If you visit this hike after heavy rains or in the spring, wildflowers are abundant. 

The trail is open year-round. The El Montanon Trail is the perfect place to find complete solitude on Santa Cruz Island. The trail eventually narrows from a fire road through campsites to a single-track trail that can be overgrown with tall grasses and wildflowers. The trail up the ridge can be washed out depending on previous rainfall. As you gain elevation the views become more and more spectacular. One a clear day, you can see Prisoner's Cove on the other side of the island. 

The summit of El Montanon offers panoramic views of the islands and Pacific Ocean. Take more water than you think you'll need. 

Photo: Davey Nin

Pack List

  • Camera
  • Sun protection (hat, sunscreen)
  • Water 
  • Hiking boots, trekking poles
  • Snacks
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Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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