Channel Islands Adventure II

Hikers in the Channel Islands
Explore the Channel Islands National Park by foot, snorkel, and kayak during this Pre-O Adventure trip!  Travel by boat 19 miles off the Santa Barbara coast to Scorpion Anchorage on Santa Cruz Island.  This remote island features rocky shores, sea caves, mountains, canyons and a landscape reminiscent of historical California.  The islands feature a number of archaeological sites as well as animals and 70 different plants which are endemic to the islands.  The richness and variety of life forms in this area are rivals for other famous locations such as the Galapagos, the Great Barrier Reef, and the Caribbean.

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, garibaldi 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.

Activities for this trip include: hiking, kayaking, and snorkeling.  Hiking on Santa Cruz island is strenuous on the legs. The trail conditions, while maintained, are very steep at times and fully exposed to the unrelenting sun and wind. We could be hiking for the majority of the 6-7 hours during our full day hike, while other days will include shorter hikes lasting 2-3 hours. Single and tandem sit-on-top kayaks will allow us to explore the rugged shoreline.  Kayaking conditions are dependent on the weather and ocean conditions.  We anticipate moderately challenging conditions that will have us paddling about 5 miles. 

Trip members should be in good physical condition for hiking on steep terrain and capable of carrying a daypack of approximately 10-15 pounds filled with water, lunch and other essentials (covered during pre-trip presentation). From now until the trip begins, we highly encourage you to get in shape. If you can comfortably hike up and down hills and on uneven trails with a 15 pound pack at a pace of about 2 miles per hour—consider yourself prepared for the hiking portion of this trip.

Day 1 Check-in at the Outdoor Adventures office at 9:00am. Get to know your small group of adventurers before we depart campus and spend our first night at a campsite near Ventura, CA.  We'll hang our around a campfire and make sure we are prepared for an early morning ferry to Santa Cruz Island.
Day 2 After a quick breakfast we will travel by boat to Santa Cruz Island and set up base camp while learn about the island during a stop at the visitor's center. (Look out for some furry local residents such as the endemic island fox)
Day 3 Day hike to some of the island's top destinations, including Potato Harbor.
Day 4 Meet up with our kayaking guides from Channel Islands Adventure Company 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 5 Day hike to a remote beach/take in the panoramic view atop Montanon Ridge. This spectacular view is one of the best in California.
Day 6 Depart the island and return to the mainland. We will travel back to San Diego and return to campus by 10 p.m. for our last night together.
Day 7 We are up early for breakfast and goodbyes.  We are finished by 9:00am and some students may depart earlier for flights home.