• Activities:


  • Skill Level:


  • Season:

    Year Round

  • Trail Type:


  • RT Distance:

    5 Miles


This hike traverses the colossal cliffs of east Santa Cruz Island in Channel Islands National Park and ends in Potato Harbor. Drink in awe-inspiring views and keep an eye out for whales in the waters below. 

The 5-mile North Bluff Trail traverses the colossal cliffs of Santa Cruz Island in Channel Islands National Park from Scorpion Anchorage to Potato Harbor. Arrive via an Island Packers boat to Scorpion Anchorage and, upon disembarking, walk straight ahead. Just past the restrooms (one of only two on the island so make a stop if needed), turn right onto the North Bluff Trail. 

Your first lookout is Cavern Point with a small climb off the trail and an amazing view with staggering drop-offs. Continue on and the trail converges with Potato Harbor Road. At this point, you're moments from Potato Harbor. With its Big Sur-like cliffs and white beaches outlining turquoise blue water, this is a great place to grab a snack or sit and eat your lunch amongst raw, chaotic beauty.  Walk back the same way.

Pack List

There is nothing on the island in the way of food or amenities with the exception of pit toilets and a vending machine, so pack it in and pack it out.

  • At least 1-2 liters of water
  • Sunscreen
  • Gloves/hat for the boat if you plan on being on the outer deck in winter
  • Camera
  • At least one meal and hearty snacks
  • Hiking boots
  • Picnic blanket
  • Sense of adventure
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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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Leigh Maneri

Writer, content strategist, explorer, ponderer. Always go.

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