The Channel Islands: Hiking the Island

— As you know, I’ve just had an amazing time exploring the Channel Islands (specifically Santa Cruz Island) and can’t wait to share my trip with you. It’s best if I break it down into the three parts that make up the trip: Getting There, Kayaking + Setting Up Camp and Hiking the Island. —

Part III: Hiking the Island

Our morning plans included mapping out our hike for the day. We had a 3pm ferry to be on, so we had to be mindful of time. We were crazy ambitious, as we planned not only the green marked hike out to Potato Harbor, but we had hoped to loop along Smugglers Road and then back to the campsite via Scorpion Canyon Loop Trail…. yeah that didn’t happen.

I must admit, that I didn’t have a good nights sleep. The wind was hallowing and I was worried my tent would blow apart or worse, a branch from the tree we were under would fall on us. Basically I was up all night worrying, so come sunrise I had pretty low energy. That and we didn’t bring any caffeine. I was in need of coffee… real bad.

We had our packed breakfast of champions (a peanut butter sandwich and some snacks) and then packed away all our gear into the food locker.

Then we began our trek along Potato Harbor Road. The dry rolling hills to our left were a sharp contrast to the blue skies and water on the ocean side.

Eventually this road (which is basically a fire road) levels out as you walk along the plain to the edge of the cliffs.

Finally our walk along the dry hills culminated at the edge of the world (or so it seems). While I took the above photo, we could hear the sea lions barking far below.

Almost at Potato Harbor. If you are making this trek, continue until you can’t go any further. I feel bad that a couple was walking along with us and they decided to try a new path while technically never reaching Potato Harbor. They were maybe 20 ft from it, and they missed it never getting to see the next several views.

Isn’t she beautiful? This bay/beach is only reachable by kayak which explains how pristine and untouched it is. More and more sea lions were barking away, probably swimming with delight. I hope in another life I get to be a sea lion on the Channel Islands.

Once you reach Potato Harbor, the entire loop back is along the cliffs. You’ll take 100’s of photos… as you can see I did. Narrowing which photos to share with you was VERY hard.

I could live right here.

The above photo is the view looking back toward Scorpion Rock (the left little island above).


I love the colors on the island. The browns and yellows of the rolling hills of dried grass with the bright blue sky and blue-green waters. These colors make for a great paint color scheme. Nature provides the best color schemes.

You can see from my photos, we only passed a few people the entire hike.

Once the hike loops back toward Scorpion Anchorage you get a great view of Scorpion Rock (on the left).

We headed back to the anchorage where you can see a wide view of the beach. Also note the red and yellow kayaks on the right of the photo. This is where the kayaking day trip launches from.

Once we reached the valley floor we investigated the historical information on the island.

In addition to a model of the grounds, there are many 3d representations of what life was like on the island long ago. They have a visitors center setup with many videos explaining the history of the island as well as their efforts to save the animal+plant life.

After learning about animals we walked back to our campsite and stumbled upon these fornicating butterflies. Oh how funny you are nature. (We hope it was consensual.)

With our last remaining hour we laid out by the water and awaited our ferry back to the mainland (see our ferry above). All trips must end with reality.

We waved goodbye to Ranger Tim and Cathy, as they watched our ferry depart from the dock. And off we went back to Ventura.

I’ve added an additional post next, exploring Venture Harbor!

1 thought on “The Channel Islands: Hiking the Island

  1. Pingback: The Channel Islands: Ventura Harbor | LifeAbsorbed

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