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part ofChannel Islands National Park, National Park Service
Status: Open through Thu Dec 31 2015   Season Dates


For a truly remote getaway full of backpacking and breathtaking scenery, take a backcountry trip to Santa Cruz Island's Del Norte campground. On the way, find nesting seabirds, sea lions and seals, and many other animals and plants on the island. The landscape varies from pine forests, to grasslands and marshes. Chaparral, a region of shrubland, unique to California, also decorates the rolling hills.

How did the island get its name? Legend has it that in 1769, a Spanish priest accidentally left his cross-tipped staff on the island. A Chumash Indian found it and returned the staff to its rightful owner. The Spaniards were so impressed that they named the island after the good deed: the Island of the Sacred Cross.

Natural Features:

Del Norte is nestled in a shaded oak grove and provides scenic views of the island's pristine coastline. Santa Cruz boasts two rugged mountain ranges that climb above 2000 ft., a sweeping valley, deep canyons, and year-round springs and streams. To top it off, it's bordered by 77 miles of coastline cliffs, beaches, tide pools, and sea caves.


Explore the backcountry with lots of hiking and fishing. Ocean sports like snorkeling, kayaking, and swimming are possible, but due to high swells and strong currents, these activities are recommended for experts only.

Dedicated hikers can challenge themselves with the 16-mile Prisoners to Scorpion hike. The hike is best done over two days, making Del Norte an ideal stopping point for the night. Much of the hike is drenched in sunshine, so be sure to pack plenty of water.


The campsite is truly primitive and designed for seasoned backpackers. Entry to the site requires a strenuous three to four-mile uphill hike, and you must carry in your own camping gear, food, and water.

Activities and Amenities

Within Facility
  • Boating
  • Hiking
  • Picnic Area
  • Pit Toilets
  • Swimming
Know Before You Go
  • Boat transportation arrangements to island required before making campsite reservation.
  • Campsites must be reserved prior to arrival on the island.
  • This is a hike-in only facility, requiring a 3-4 mile arduous hike. Must carry all gear to campground.
  • Primitive camping, pit toilets, no shelters. Bring low profile tents, own water, toilet paper, and extra food for weather delays.
  • Bring garbage bags to pack out trash.
  • Food storage lockers available.
  • Smoking allowed only at beach or pier.
  • To protect resources, no cardboard or corrugated boxes can be brought to the island.
  • No stores or services on island.
  • No pets or vehicles allowed.
  • No fires, camp stoves only.
  • No fishing in state marine reserves. California fishing license and ocean enhancement sticker required.
  • Hantavirus in mice, take precautions to reduce exposure to rodents.
  • Upon arrival, meet ranger (if available) at landing dock. Please have confirmation letter or receipt with you.
  • Getting There:

    GPS Info. (Latitude, Longitude):
    34.01083, -119.66028
    34°0'39"N, 119°39'37"W

    To park headquarters in Ventura, CA HIGHWAY 101, exit Victoria or SEAWARD to Ventura Harbor.

    Contact Information:

    Mailing Address:

    1901 Spinnaker Drive
    Ventura  CA  93001

    Phone Number:

    Information:  (805)658-5730
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