Santa Cruz Island - Potato Harbor

Santa Cruz Island Cove

The Channel Islands is a large reserve that is basically ”un-tethered” to the mainland. The eco system on Channel Island is very fragile, so there is little influence from the mainland. Only small groups of visitors, park rangers and park maintenance crew regularly visit the island.

Santa Cruz Island is one of 5 small islands in the Channel Island chain. You arrive by ferry from Ventura Harbor. The ferry ride is about 1 hour. Channel Island / Santa Cruz is perfect for a day hike, overnight camping, kayaking, snorkeling or diving. There are no amenities on the island, so you have to come prepared. Dress in layers as it get warm during the day and shed layers as you warm up during the hike. Bring a hat and don’t forget WATER. There are very few places to get water on the island. There are no restaurants or snack bars so pack your lunch. Buy your ferry ticket online at Island Packer to ensure your reservation. Determine which day you would like to visit and the island you want to explore. For most people, your choices are Santa Cruz, Anacapa or Santa Rosa Island. I recommend Santa Cruz. Information on the ferry to Channel Island can be found at Island Packers. You can find more information on individual islands at Visit Channel Island. Remember to pack a lunch and dress in layers. Morning and evenings can be cold, especially when the winds are strong. Once you’re on the island, there are no services. You’re on your own but there are other tourists just like you exploring the island too. Souvenirs can be bought at Island Packers ferry terminal in Ventura. The hiking trails range from 1/2 to 27 miles. Most visitors opt for either Cavern Point or Potato Harbor which is  2 and 5 mile round trip hike respectively. The view is spectacular. 

Small Raft - Santa Cruz, Channel Island

Small Raft – Santa Cruz, Channel Island

Also, there is a visitor museum on Santa Cruz Island near the arrival bridge that will give you a quick overview of the island that was once a working ranch.If you enjoy ocean kayaking, this is your place. Guided kayak tours are available where you will see plenty of close-up marine life. There are lots of small coves to explore that are only accessible by kayak or small boats.

Don’t forget to take Dramamine (motion sickness pills) for the ferry ride to Santa Cruz. Bring hat, sunglasses and sunscreen lotion along with plenty of water. 

Santa Cruz Island - Potato Harbor

Santa Cruz Island – Potato Harbor

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