Backpacking the Channel Islands, CA


While in undergraduate, I lived in southern California and I was able to explore a lot of different types of habitats via backpacking. This is one of my favorite places that I’ve ever backpacked. The Channel Islands are located off the coast of Ventura, California just south of Santa Barbara. They are a group of eight islands, 5 of which are national parks and 4 of which are surrounded by a marine sanctuary. Needless to say the wildlife here is spectacular. We took a ferry to the island and saw sea lions, seals, dolphins and a few whales!

The first night we camped right near the beach where we were dropped off. The next day we rented kayaks and kayaked around a good portion of the island. We were situated on Santa Cruz island which houses only researchers and a few military operations, so we were quite isolated. Here’s one of the old buildings on the island:

Six of the islands are home to the native island fox. Each island has a different species  making them critically endangered. Here are two I saw scampering around:

We backpacked about 10 miles covering most of the island. This was out route:

And at the end of the last day we all watched a beautiful sunset as the clouds rolled in:

If I were to visit again, I would definitely bring my scuba gear. That is my only regret. Happy trails! ~B

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