Camp at Scorpion Ranch, Channel Islands NP

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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. 

Pack List

Overnight camping gear (tent, sleeping bag, etc)

Food and cooking ware

Bring layers - Can get hot during the day and cold at night. Pack accordingly.

Water - there is potable water at the campground

Camera - the stars on clear night are incredible, as you are far enough away from the glow of LA

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RT Distance 0.5 Miles
Activities Camping, Photography, Kayaking, Backpacking, Hiking
Skill Level Beginner
Season Year Round
Trail Type Out-and-Back
Features
Beach
Romantic
Scenic
Wildflowers
Wildlife

Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

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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