How do you get to Channel Islands National Park?
We incorporated a trip to visit Channel Islands National Park after a weekend visit to Ojai, California. It worked out well for us, as we were able to tour the charming town of Ojai and then book our trip over to the Channel Islands on a Monday. Ojai is 25 minutes away from the Ventura harbor where we caught the ferry.
Booking the ferry and logistics
What to bring & other tips
- Pack for all types of weather, marine layer in a.m., bright sun in afternoon, wind on the boat.
- Bring water as there is no easy source for water on the island
- You can bring a cooler, a sun shade for the beach, wet suits, food, etc. There is a day storage container if you want to hike without these items. There is a weight restriction. Check the website.
- Leave no trace! As in all National Parks pack in and out what you bring. Be careful not to drop food and do not feed the animals. Our volunteer docent was extremely addamant about that fact.
- We had calm seas, but if the seas are rough people do get seasick on the ferry.
- There is a 72 hr cancellation for the ferry with no penalty (check for current rules) and they cancel & reimburse you if the weather is too rough.
- According to our guide, there are no poisonous snakes on the island..and the top of the food chain is a cute but sly island fox.
- The water is crystal clear..I wish I had brought my bathing suit for after the hike.
The Ferry ride experience
We saw many common dolphins in pods. The dolphins surfed the wake of the boat and entertained us for a good 20 minutes on the way over!
Unfortunately we did not see any whales, but if you check out the board to the left, you can see it is possible.
Arrival at Scorpion Ranch – Santa Cruz Island – Channel Islands National Park
After 1 hour with the guide, we continued on hiking on the Potato Harbor Trailhead that was a 4.9 mile loop with 600 feet of elevation. This is rated an easy to moderate hike in regards to mileage & elevation. It was the perfect amount of hiking, in order to allow time to get back to the visitors center, sit on the beach and chill, and wait in line to board the ferry at 4 p.m.
A few facts about Channel Islands National Park
- Channel Islands established in 1980
- Of the 8 Channel Islands, 5 are protected (Santa Cruz Island(biggest), San Miguel, Santa Rosa, Anacapa, & Santa Barbara Island)
- The 8 islands create an archipelago that extends for 160 miles from San Miguel in the North to San Clemente Island in the South.
- Santa Catalina Island or better knows as Catalina (a popular resort city by boat from LA) is part of the Channel Islands but is not protected.
- 150 unique species of plants found only there and nowhere else in the World including the island fox
- Water surrounding the islands makes up the Channel Island National Marine Sanctuary
- Channel Islands were colonized 13,000 years ago
- The oldest North American human remains found were on the Channel Islands from the time period.