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Santa Cruz Island

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47 mi 76 km of trail 2 Recommended Routes

Easy Trails 6 Trails Intermediate Trails 11 Trails Hard Trails 11 Trails

Santa Cruz Island is the largest and most diverse of the eight Channel Islands and has a long and varied history that is closely linked to its landscape. Its coastal scrub vegetation, vast grasslands, oak woodlands, and rich coastline sustained the sea-going Chumash people for about 9,000 years. During the nineteenth century, hunters and fishermen exploited the marine life, and mariners found shelter in its coves. Later the island was home to immigrant ranchers, and, in later years, the military took advantage of the island’s strategic location. With such a rich and varied history, visitors are sure to find plenty to explore in addition to the island's stunning natural beauty.

To learn more about Santa Cruz Island, visit the park's website.

Local Info

The island has a single visitor center located in the historic Scorpion Ranch house. Several trails and roads traverse eastern Santa Cruz Island, providing visitors with spectacular running opportunities. These trails and roads range from the maintained, relatively flat trails of Scorpion Valley to the unmaintained, rugged, mountainous paths of the Montañon area. Runners must stay on designated trails, and no off-trail travel is permitted.

While visitors may explore the national park property on Santa Cruz Island, no running is allowed beyond the national park boundary onto the Nature Conservancy property. The boundary is the property line (marked by a fence line) between Prisoners Harbor and Valley Anchorage.

Visiting Tips

Santa Cruz Island is only accessible via boat. Island Packers offers trips year round. Travel time is one-hour, landing at either Scorpion Anchorage or Prisoners Harbor. Landing is via a pier at both locations. For more information on transportation options, click here.

Camping & Lodging

Primitive camping is available at the Scorpion Ranch Campground. There are 31 sites available for $15 per night per site, and reservations are required. Water, picnic tables, food storage boxes, and pit toilets are provided.

Food & Drink

There are no goods, services, or accommodations available on the island. Visitors must bring all their own food and supplies. Water is available at Scorpion Anchorage but not at Prisoners Harbor.

Other Activities

The mixed sand and cobblestone Scorpion Beach is a world-class destination for swimming, snorkeling, diving, and kayaking. With easy beach access, clear ocean waters, nearby camping, amazing kelp forests, and a spectacular shoreline with sea caves to explore, this is a great option for those looking to enjoy the area. No fishing is allowed within the marine reserves located around the island. Fishing is allowed outside of these areas with a valid California state fishing license with an ocean enhancement stamp.

Recommended Routes in Santa Cruz Island - 2

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Favorite Just hanging out, hoping for a morsel to eat.
Intermediate

Potato Harbor Loop

5.0 mi 8.0 km 511' Up 155.78 m Up 510' Down 155.6 m Down

Santa C…, CA
Favorite Just hanging out, hoping for a morsel to eat.
Difficult

Santa Cruz Traverse

13.4 mi 21.6 km 2,573' Up 784.37 m Up 2,568' Down 782.81 m Down

Anacapa…, CA

Trails in Santa Cruz Island - 26

Trail Run Project is built by runners like you. Add Your Trails

0.9 mi 1.5 km #1North Bluff Trail
Intermediate
Anacapa Island, CA
Intermediate
Anacapa Island, CA
1.5 mi 2.5 km #2Potato Harbor Road
Intermediate
Anacapa Island, CA
Intermediate
Anacapa Island, CA
1.4 mi 2.2 km #3Montanon Trail
Intermediate
Summerland, CA
Intermediate
Summerland, CA
1.3 mi 2.1 km #4Cavern Point Loop Trail
Easy/Intermediate
Anacapa Island, CA
Easy/Intermediate
Anacapa Island, CA
3.9 mi 6.3 km #5Smugglers Road
Intermediate
Santa Cruz Island, CA
Intermediate
Santa Cruz Island, CA
0.3 mi 0.5 km #6Oil Well
Easy/Intermediate
Toro Canyon, CA
Easy/Intermediate
Toro Canyon, CA
1.4 mi 2.2 km #7Scorpion Canyon Loop Trail
Difficult
Anacapa Island, CA
Difficult
Anacapa Island, CA
0.7 mi 1.2 km #8Scorpion Valley Road
Easy
Anacapa Island, CA
Easy
Anacapa Island, CA
4.0 mi 6.4 km #9Del Norte Trail
Intermediate
Anacapa Island, CA
Intermediate
Anacapa Island, CA
0.9 mi 1.4 km #10China Pines
Difficult
Anacapa Island, CA
Difficult
Anacapa Island, CA
7.2 mi 11.5 km #11Navy Road
Intermediate
Anacapa Island, CA
Intermediate
Anacapa Island, CA
1.7 mi 2.7 km #12Yellowbanks Trail
Difficult
Carpinteria, CA
Difficult
Carpinteria, CA
4.3 mi 7.0 km #13Loma Pelona
Difficult
Summerland, CA
Difficult
Summerland, CA
1.4 mi 2.3 km #14High Mount
Difficult
Toro Canyon, CA
Difficult
Toro Canyon, CA
2.4 mi 3.9 km #15Lower Del Norte Trail
Difficult
Anacapa Island, CA
Difficult
Anacapa Island, CA
1.6 mi 2.6 km #16Montanon Canyon
Difficult
Anacapa Island, CA
Difficult
Anacapa Island, CA
2.4 mi 3.8 km #17East End Road
Intermediate
Montecito, CA
Intermediate
Montecito, CA
2.4 mi 3.8 km #18China/Chinese Harbor Road
Difficult
Montecito, CA
Difficult
Montecito, CA
1.1 mi 1.8 km #19Del Norte Road
Difficult
Santa Barbara, CA
Difficult
Santa Barbara, CA
1.1 mi 1.7 km #20China Pines Road
Intermediate
Anacapa Island, CA
Intermediate
Anacapa Island, CA
1.2 mi 1.9 km #21Mt. Pleasant
Difficult
Anacapa Island, CA
Difficult
Anacapa Island, CA
1.1 mi 1.8 km #22Los Pinos del Sur
Difficult
Summerland, CA
Difficult
Summerland, CA
0.7 mi 1.1 km #23Del Norte Road
Easy
Anacapa Island, CA
Easy
Anacapa Island, CA
1.0 mi 1.7 km #24Canada de la Calera
Intermediate
Summerland, CA
Intermediate
Summerland, CA
0.7 mi 1.1 km #25Loma Pelona Spur
Difficult
Summerland, CA
Difficult
Summerland, CA
0.6 mi 1.0 km #26San Lucus Road
Intermediate
Montecito, CA
Intermediate
Montecito, CA

Photos of Santa Cruz Island - 54

Trail Run Project is built by runners like you. Add Your Photos

High Mount
Jan 1, 2018 near Anacapa…, CA
The moors of the island
Jan 1, 2018 near Anacapa…, CA
Just hanging out, hoping for a morsel to eat.
Dec 13, 2016 near Anacapa…, CA
The start of the trail
Jan 1, 2018 near Anacapa…, CA
Potato Harbor is simply spectacular.
Dec 13, 2016 near Anacapa…, CA
Peering over Little Scorpion Anchorage on Santa Cruz Island, Channel Islands National Park.
Dec 13, 2016 near Anacapa…, CA
Interesting cemented-sand structures grace the cliffs above Cavern Point
Dec 13, 2016 near Anacapa…, CA
Looking back towards Scorpion Valley
Dec 11, 2016 near Anacapa…, CA