The Channel Islands National Park, established in 1980, is one of the least visited National Parks despite its proximity to Los Angeles. Step back in time and experience the Southern California coast the way it once was.
Camp and explore Santa Cruz Island, the largest island off the California coast. One of the most visited islands in the park, Santa Cruz is the perfect place to hike, kayak and snorkel. Craggy coastline cliffs, giant sea caves, a kelp forest and great underwater visibility makes this island appealing to adventure seekers.
Dolphins, whales, sea lions, garabaldi fish, sea birds, and the endemic island scrub jay and island fox are some of the wildlife we can anticipate seeing.
Santa Cruz Island is also rich in cultural history with over 10,000 years of American Indian habitation and 150 years of European ranching. Remnants of the ranching era are visible throughout the island.
Two-thirds of Santa Cruz Island is preserved by the Nature Conservancy and they are working along with the National Park Service to restore and protect island resources.
Check in at the Outdoor Adventures office before early move-in. Meet your small group. Review clothing and make final preparations before departure. Camp on the beach overlooking the Pacific Ocean just north of Malibu this evening.
Travel by boat to Santa Cruz Island and set up base camp. Learn about the island during a stop at the visitor's center. Look out for some furry local residents: the endemic island fox.
Day hike to some of the island's top destinations, including Potato Harbor.
Meet up with our kayaking guides from Channel Islands Outfitters and get ready for a kayak tour of the sea caves. After paddling we will move underwater for a snorkel tour of a kelp forest.
Day hike to a remote beach or take in the panoramic view from atop Montanon Ridge. This spectacular view is one of the best in California.
Today we depart our island home and return to the mainland. We will travel back to San Diego and return to campus by 6:00pm.
Risks, Hazards and Difficulty
Weather hazards, dehydration, sunburn, heat stroke, wildlife encounters, slips, falls, blisters, falling branches, extended exposure and marine conditions are some risks. This trip takes place 20 miles off the coast and open ocean conditions can vary significantly. The difficulty level is easy, but may be moderate at times. No prior experience necessary.
"Watch the sunrise AND sunset over the Pacific Ocean! Every step has an amazing ocean view and the kayaking is one of the coolest things I've ever done."