Channel Islands National Park consists of 5 islands off of the coast of Ventura in California; Its about 70 miles North of Los Angeles and are a great gateway spot when trying to escape the city life for a day or two. However, the chain of islands itself consists of 8 land masses. The 5 islands run from East to West that make up the national park are: Anacapa- the closest to the mainland, San Miguel, Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz and Santa Rosa Islands. The park also consists of over100,000 acres of submerged lands. The park was designated as a National Park in 1980. It is open year round, with the offices closing on thanksgiving and Christmas. The Channel Islands are unique because it has more endangered species that only exist within this park than any other unit of the National Park Service. This means that survival of these fauna and flora depends entirely on our ability to protect their habitat.
Anacapa consists of 699 acres and is a great place for whale or bird watching. The average rainfall is less than 10 inches per year. The slopes on Anacapa are the primary nesting ground for California Brown Pelicans. Arch Rock is a 40 foot high landmark on the island. There are rugged steep cliffs surround the island. It appears that there are no trees and no dock for boats to anchor. Visitors have to climb the ladder to get to the island. It is recommended that you get the permission of a park official before you go to the island due to the delicate natural balance needed protecting the migrating pelicans. If you take the Island Pakers’ boat ride, you would be just fine. There is one main area on the island known as Frenchys Cove; the most popular lunch spot on the island, The island is home to the biggest breading colony of Gulls in the world and it is fully equipped with trails which might take an entire day to explore.
San Miguel Island:
San Miguel Island has 9,325 acres, (37.74Km2) to it. It’s the 6th largest of the 8th Channel Islands. It is the winter home to almost 50.000 elephant seals. They come to breed and leave the baby seals on the island. The island is scattered with archeological sites. The island has a campground, miles of hiking trails, and beaches and offers Ranger-led hikes, marine-mammal observation, beach exploration, and bird watching. It is recommend you stay on the trails if you hike the island. Many participate to hike the 7- mile hike to point Bennett to observe the sea lions. There are few remains of trees. The island is flat and it is the closest to the open seas. The island doesn’t get the protection from the sea as the others do, the wind typically blows across the island at a speed of 25 mph.
Santa Barbara Island:
Santa Barbara Island has 639 acres and has miles of trails to explore; it’s the smallest of the eight Channel Islands. The island is good for bird watching. The highest peak is Signal hill. Santa Barbara Island is home to a large sea lion rookery and seabird nesting colonies. It is also home to the largest breeding colony for Xantus’s Murrelet, a threatened seabird species. It is listed as vulnerable because so much of its breeding takes place on such a small and isolated island.
Santa Cruz Island:
Santa Cruz Island consists of 60,645 acres with a landmass of varied features. This is the largest of the Channel Island National Park. The island is occupied with great scenic beauty with tall trees, two rugged mountain ranges, deep canyons, a wide central valley, springs and streams, the worlds biggest sea caves, 77 miles of craggy coastline cliffs, tide pools and expansive beaches and visitors may observe wildlife, hikes such as potato harbor hike and Scorpion canyon.
Santa Rosa Island:
Santa Rosa Island is made up of 52,794 acres( about 83 sq. mi), making it the second largest island of the park. Its situated about 26 miles off the coast of Santa Barbara. It’s the home for the spotted skunk and well over 195 species of birds. This island is teaming with exotic wildlife and also more than 600 archeological sites have been mapped. The Island has a landing strip that makes the only island would be able to handle small airplane traffic.
The Channel Islands are a beautiful place to visit with all of the oceanic recreations one could normally wish to participate in.