Activities and Amenities
The largest of California's Channel Islands, Santa Cruz is rich in cultural history, magnificent landscapes, and unique flora and fauna. The Chumash Native American Indians inhabited the island for 9,000 years, and Europeans have explored and ranched on the island for a few centuries. Remnants of ancient villages can be explored throughout the area.
Additionally, 600 plant species, 140 land birds, 11 land mammals and a handful of amphibians and reptiles call the island their home. The island fox and spotted skunk are exciting finds, as they're 100% unique to the island.
Scorpion's beaches are a mix of sand and rocks, and face the Santa Barbara Channel. It's one of the five islands that make up the Channel Islands National Park, and the altitude ranges from sea level to 2500 ft. at its rugged mountain peaks.
An ultra-fun activity is ocean kayaking. Kayak novices should hire a guide, and kayak rentals need to be arranged before arriving on the island. Whether boating around the island or simply perched on the beach, look out over the Pacific for a chance to spot whales, seals, sea lions and dolphins.
For camping, fishing, kayaking and private boating information, contact Channel Islands National Park at 805-658-5730 or www.nps.gov/chis.
Scorpion offers 25 campsites and 6 group sites. Access to the island is by Island Packers Cruises or by private boat. Note that no landings are available at the pier. You must anchor off-shore and skiff in.
Hiking options are unlimited and offer spectacular coastal views. Try the Potato Harbor hike for views of the island's mountain peaks, the southern California coastline and a potato-shaped harbor. This popular hike takes you past antique ranching equipment and old buildings for a taste of island history. For more advanced hikers, tackle the 14-mile hike from Scorpion to Prisoner's Cove. Expect to trudge through areas with your hands and feet.