Hike East Anacapa Island of the Channel Islands

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Two miles of easy hiking trails allow you to fully take in Southern California's most captivating landscape and the abundance of wildlife within.

Leaving from either Ventura or Oxnard via Island Packers, this full-day hike is in the middle of the Santa Barbara Channel on a small island, about one hour from Los Angeles by car and one additional hour by boat. Without a beach on which to anchor, your boat will pull into Landing Cove and idle while passengers disembark. Climb 157 stairs up a cliffside to the surface of east Anacapa while the boat leaves you behind. You, and those who arrived with you, are now the only humans on the island, but certainly not the only life.

Walk to the tiny Visitor's Center which displays a behemoth Fresnel lens, once situated atop the lighthouse that still stands on the east side of the island — an impressive piece of technology circa 1932. Take a brief walk up the eastward trail to observe the lighthouse.

Backtrack southwest and stop at Cathedral Cove to admire the steady flow of gulls and pelicans as they trace the island edge over this dramatic and steep drop off. If visiting during spring, admire gull nests, eggs and/or chicks that line the trails and every space in between. Continue on to Inspiration Point, an epic perspective of the middle and west Anacapa Islands, not to mention Santa Cruz, San Miguel beyond. Capture this iconic photograph of Channel Islands National Park and lay out a blanket for a picnic lunch. 

Take the north route back and climb the hill behind the campsites to Pinniped Point for one last humbling panorama before returning to Landing Cove to climb back aboard. Catch a glimpse of Arch Rock as you head back east and keep your eyes out for pelagic birds, dolphins, sea lions and whales. It's not uncommon for shuttle boats to take whale watching detours for humpback, fin or blue whale sightings. 

Pack List

  • Jacket (the boat ride gets cold if you're standing outside)
  • Hiking boots/sneakers
  • Plenty of water
  • Picnic lunch (pack it in, pack it out)
  • Blanket
  • Sunscreen (no shade here aside from the visitor's center)
  • Camera
Show More
RT Distance 2 Miles
Activities Photography, Hiking
Skill Level Beginner
Season Year Round
Trail Type Loop
Features
Bathrooms
Family Friendly
Scenic
Wildflowers
Wildlife

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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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