US Park Info: Channel Island National Park

Comprised of five in a chain of eight southern California islands near Los Angeles, Channel Islands National Park is home to a wide variety of nationally and internationally significant natural and cultural resources. Over 2,000 species of plants and animals can be found within the park. However only four mammals are endemic to the islands. One hundred and forty-five of these species are unique to the islands and found nowhere else in the world. Marine life ranges from microscopic plankton to the endangered blue whale, the largest animal to live on earth. Archeological and cultural resources span a period of more than 10,000 years.The park consists of 249,354 acres, half of which are under the ocean, and include the islands of San Miguel, Santa Rosa, Santa Cruz, Anacapa, and Santa Barbara. Even though the islands seem antalizingly close to the densely populated, southern California coast, their isolation has left them relatively undeveloped, making them an exciting place for visitors to explore.

Basic Information for Channel Island National Park

The park is open all year. The Robert J. Lagomarsino visitor center hours are:Labor Day through Memorial Day, 8:30 to 4:30 weekdays, 8:00 to 5:00 weekends; Memorial Day through Labor Day, 8:00 to 5:00 weekdays, 8:00 to 5:30 weekends. The visitor center is closed Thanksgiving and Christmas

Getting There

PLANE - Los Angeles Area Airports

CAR -There are no roads within the park.

Weather & Climate
Climate is mild, with little variation in temperature year round. However, be prepared for high winds, fog, and sea spray at any time. Visitors to the islands should dress in layers, with short and long pants, windbreaker, hat, sunscreen, and waterproof outer clothing. Wear sturdy hiking shoes with non-slip soles

The mainland visitor center is fully accessible. Due to their isolation and transportation requirements, the islands are not readily accessible for individuals in wheelchairs or those with limited mobility. Efforts are underway to provide some wheelchair accessible areas on Santa Rosa Island via air transportation. Please call the park for information.

Camping at Channel Islands National Park

Anacapa Island:
Open All Year
Anacapa has hiking trails, a visitor center, lighthouse exhibits, picnic area and offers opportunities for SCUBA diving, snorkeling, bird watching, and observing marine mammals. The campground is on East Anacapa Island, 1/2 mile from the dock landing, up 154 stairs. There are 7 campsites with a campground capacity of 30 people.

San Miguel Island:
Open All Year
San Miguel has miles of hiking trails, and beaches and offers Ranger-led hikes, marine-mammal observation, beach exploration, and bird watching. The campground is a 1 mile hike uphill from the beach landing and has windbreaks. There are 9 campsites with a total campground capacity of 30 people. Fewer than 200 people per year ever get the experience of camping on San Miguel Island.

Santa Barbara Island:
Open All Year
Santa Barbara has 5 miles of hiking trails, a visitor center, picnic area, and offers opportunities for hiking, bird watching, SCUBA diving, snorkeling, fishing, and marine-mammal observation. The campground is 1/2 mile uphill from the dock landing. There are 8 campsites with a campground capacity of 30 people.

Santa Cruz Island:
Open All Year
76% of Santa Cruz Island is owned by the Nature Conservancy. The National Park Service owns the eastern 24%, where visitors may observe wildlife, hike, camp and explore the newest addition to the park. The campground is in Scorpion Valley and has 40 sites and allows 4-6 people per site. The campsites are spread out along the valley floor 1/2 to 1 mile up the flats from the beach landing.

Santa Rosa Island:
Open All Year
Santa Rosa has hiking trails and offers beach exploration, surf fishing, wildlife observation, ranger-led hikes, vehicle tours, and kayak beach- camping. The campground in Water Canyon is 1 1/2 mile miles across the flats from the pier landing, or 1/4 mile from the airstrip. There are 15 campsites with a 50 person campground capacity. The campground has windbreaks, running water (most people bring drinking water) and an invigorating shower.

Santa Rosa Island Beach Camping
Open All Year
Camping on the beaches on Santa Rosa Island is available for experienced kayakers and boaters on a seasonal basis. For More Information on this campground please call 805-658-5711 for permits.


Things to Do at Channel Islands National Park

Anacapa Island:
Location - The facilities on Anacapa overlook the northern channel.
Closures - Thanksgiving and Christmas
Special Programs - During the summer, park rangers dive into the Landing Cove on East Anacapa with a video camera. Visitors can see, through the eye of the camera, what the diver is seeing by watching video monitors on the dock. Pristine tidepools can be explored. Springtime brings colorful flowers, including the strange tree sunflower, or coreopsis, a plant found only on the Channel Islands and a few isolated areas on the mainland.
Exhibits - Visit the museum on the island, which houses the original crystal and brass Fresnel lens from the lighthouse.
Available Facilities - Museum, visitor center, lighthouse exhibits, primitive campground, and picnic area.

Lagomarsino Visitor Center
Phone - (805) 658-5730
Location - 1901 Spinnaker Drive Ventura, California 93001
Closures - Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Special Programs - Provides the visitor with interpretive programs, a movie about the park, tide pool display, native plant garden, bookstore and island exhibits. The facility is fully accessible and offers a picnic area overlooking the Ventura Harbor. Every Saturday and Sunday we offer several scheduled programs. Programs include Tidepool Talk at 11:00 a.m., and Recreating at Channel Islands NP at 2:00 p.m. At 3:00 p.m., rangers offer programs that look in depth at a variety of topics about the park. Programs are free to the public.
Exhibits - A living tidepool exhibit, three-dimensional models of all the park islands, interactive touch-screen exhibit, a tower with telescopes for viewing the islands, picnic area, a bookstore, and an outdoor native plant garden. Visitors will enjoy the 25-minute park movie, "A Treasure in the Sea", throughout the day in the auditorium. Every Saturday and Sunday park rangers present free interpretive programs on the natural and cultural resources of the park. Throughout the week, other programs and school visits may be scheduled by calling the visitor center.
Available Facilities - Museum, picnic area, and bookstore

Santa Barbara Island
Location - The facilities on Santa Barbara look out over the eastern side of the island.
Closures - Thanksgiving and Christmas
Special Programs - There is an abundance of wildlife on Santa Barbara, primarily sea birds and marine mammals. This is a good area to view the underwater life, in the warmer waters of this southernmost island in the park. Snorkeling in the Landing Cove, visitors can see bright sea stars, spiny sea urchins, and brilliant orange garibaldi. Spring rains bring out the flowering plants, such as the tree sunflower, the endemic Santa Barbara Island live forever, shrubby buckwheat, sea blite, and an annual poppy.
Exhibits - There is a visitor contact station/museum on the island, with exhibits, dioramas, and murals of the natural and cultural resources.
Available Facilities - Museum, visitor center, primitive campground, and picnic area.

Things to Do:

Visitors to the park may enjoy a variety of recreational opportunities, such as SCUBA diving, snorkeling, swimming, bird watching, kayaking, whale watching, and sailing. On the islands, one may camp, hike, picnic, and explore tide pools, isolated beaches, and rugged canyons. Park naturalists conduct interpretive hikes on the islands throughout the year.

Inform yourself about the park, its features, and safety concerns before visiting, by contacting the park for brochures, and the boat and air concessions for schedules.

Because of the time involved in traveling from the mainland to the islands, a full day is recommended to visit the park. Anacapa is a great island for your first visit; it is the closest island to the mainland (1 ½ hour boat ride) and consists of dramatic, steep cliffs, with hundreds of sea birds and marine mammals. Snorkeling, kayaking, and diving are all excellent in the rich kelp beds around Anacapa.

For a multi-day visit, Santa Rosa is a good destination. Rangers will take you to various parts of the island to explore canyons and beaches.

For a feel of a wilderness experience, San Miguel, the furthest out from the mainland, may be your choice. The island often is fog-covered or very windy. Access to many areas on the island is limited due to fragility of the terrestrial and marine resources.

The islands have no stores, restaurants, or overnight accommodations; you must bring all your own food, water, and camping equipment.

















Copyright 2009: All information on this website is deemed accurate. We are not responsible for any changes to the information. For more information, please contact us


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