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The Best Backpacking in Channel Islands National Park

Looking for the best backpacking in Channel Islands National Park? We've got you covered with the top trails, trips, hiking, backpacking, camping and more around Channel Islands National Park. The detailed guides, photos, and reviews are all submitted by the Outbound community.

Top backpacking spots in and near Channel Islands National Park

  • Ventura, California

    Cueva Valdez to Arch Rock Trail

    7.45 mi / 1614 ft gain
    Cueva Valdez to Arch Rock Trail is an out-and-back trail where you may see wildflowers located near Ventura, California.
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  • Ventura, California

    Backpack across Santa Cruz Island

    5.0
    15 mi
    To get to Santa Cruz Island you will need to book a ferry with Island Packers.  On their website you can only  book roundtrip tickets in and out of the same location so for this trip you will need to call and book a ferry in to Prisoner's Harbor and out of Scorpion Anchorage. You can call them at...
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  • Ventura, California

    Del Norte and Montanon Trail to Scorpion Campground

    12.58 mi / 2464 ft gain
    Del Norte and Montanon Trail to Scorpion Campground is a point-to-point trail with scenic views of the Pacific Ocean located in Channel Islands National Park, California.
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  • Santa Barbara County, California

    Climb Black Mountain on Santa Rosa Island

    8 mi / 1400 ft gain
    Words fail in describing the beauty of the Channel Islands National Park and Santa Rosa Island, the second largest of the Channel Islands and perhaps the most diverse in terms of terrain, flora and fauna, and also the only to allow backcountry beach camping. While the opportunities for exploratio...
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  • Santa Barbara County, California

    Beach Camp on Santa Rosa Island

    5.0
    19.72 mi / 3097 ft gain
    This adventure is not for the inexperienced. There is a campground on each of the Channel Islands and even camping at Water Canyon on Santa Rosa Island is moderately difficult, especially in the summer. The payoff is one unlike any other on the West Coast. It is an opportunity to backcountry pack...
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  • Santa Barbara County, California

    Hike to East Point via the Coastal Road on Santa Rosa Island

    One could a lifetime exploring, and attempting to describe, the beauty of the Channel Islands National Park and Santa Rosa Island in particular: its wildly diverse terrain, endemic flora and fauna, and also the only of the Islands to allow backcountry beach camping. While the opportunities for di...
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  • Santa Barbara County, California

    Pier to Ford Point on Santa Rosa Island

    19.72 mi / 3097 ft gain
    The trail is open year-round and offers the chance to see incredible ocean views and wildlife. Occasionally, water is available at Clap Springs (a detour off Wreck Road by a couple of miles). Bring all the water you need to drink and cook - recommended 4 liters per day drinking minimum. 
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  • Santa Barbara County, California

    Hike the East Point Trail

    14.7 mi / 728 ft gain
    The trail will take you through Lobo Canyon and onto a rocky coast. There are great picnic spots all along this rocky cliff. Rock formations line the trail. You can backcountry camp on the beach at the end of the trail, or head back to the trailhead. This trail is open year-round. In the spring, ...
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  • Ventura, California

    Hike the East Anacapa Island Trail

    2.4 mi / 334 ft gain
    To get to Anacapa Island, you must secure passage from Ventura via Channel Islands National Park concessionaire Island Packers. Private boaters are welcome to reserve a campsite, although be aware that there are no moorings available and few protected anchorages on Anacapa's shores.
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  • Montecito, California

    Hike the West Fork of Cold Spring

    If you love the mountains above Santa Barbara but hate the crowds, stick to the canyon trails on the east side. The trails running up Cold Spring canyon offer a variety of experiences without all the noise.To find the West Fork of Cold Spring Trail, take the Olive Mill Rd. exit from the 101 freew...
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  • Ventura, California

    Camp at the Water Canyon Campground in the Channel Islands NP

    1.5 mi
    You can get a wonderfully detailed description of what to expect from the Channel Islands/Santa Rosa Island and how to get there from fellow Explorer Michael Wigle's "Beach camp on Santa Rosa Island" adventure (which I highly recommend you check out for the information and the photography https:/...
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  • Ventura, California

    Hike to Cavern Point & Potato Harbor

    5 mi
    Tucked away in the Pacific Ocean just 25 mile from the coast, the Channel Islands are one of Southern California’s hidden gems. With towering cliffs and isolated beaches that hug the coast, this place makes you feel worlds away from home. Channel Islands National Park is comprised of five islands...
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  • Ventura, California

    Camp at Scorpion Ranch, Channel Islands NP

    4.0
    0.5 mi
    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 le...
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  • Ventura, California

    Backpack to Del Norte Campground on Santa Cruz Island

    5.0
    7 mi / 700 ft gain
    Del Norte Backcountry Campground is located on Santa Cruz Island, one of the islands that makes up Channel Islands National Park. It is California's largest island and is almost three times the size of Manhattan. The easiest way to get to the island is to take Island Packers, a ferry service that...
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  • Ojai, California

    Matilija Falls

    5.0
    4.84 mi / 950 ft gain
    ...If you've read most of my blogs, you'll probably notice I have a fascination for waterfalls! I've done this hike multiple times, but it wasn't until this day where I saw these falls truly in action and what they're meant to look like. Getting here, you'll drive 13.4 miles north on highway 33 f...
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  • Malibu, California

    Santa Monica Mountains Backbone Trail

    64.18 mi / 12910 ft gain
    Santa Monica Mountains Backbone Trail is a point-to-point trail where you may see wildflowers located near Malibu, California.
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