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Return of the Natives: Paddling and Hiking Channel Islands’ Lost Gem

After nearly two centuries of ecological havoc wreaked by invasive species, the gem of Channel Islands National Park is becoming a paradise again. ONLINE EXCLUSIVE: Watch a video and see two photo galleries from the island.

Plan It | Santa Cruz island

Season
You’ll have Santa Cruz Island to yourself (and soak up the fairest weather) from October to April.

Ferry
Island Packers ($60 roundtrip for campers, islandpackers.com) runs daily trips from Ventura to Santa Cruz Island.

Outfitter
Aquasports has led Santa Cruz Island paddling trips for 24 years ($175/person/day, islandkayaking.com).

Book and Map
Pair Trails Illustrated #252 Channel Island National Park ($10, natgeomaps.com/trailsillustrated) with A Guide to East Santa Cruz Island, by Don Morris ($13, trafford.com).

Camping
Campsites ($15/night) are open year-round on all five islands in CINP. Check availability at reserveamerica.com.

Contacts
National Park: (805) 658-5730, nps.gov/chis. The Nature Conservancy: (415) 777-0487, nature.org.

The Way
From Los Angeles, take US 101 north 62 miles to Victoria Ave. in Ventura. Exit left, and head 0.8 mile to Olivas Park Drive. Make a right and motor 2.3 miles to Spinnaker Drive. Island Packers and the Channel Island National Park visitor center are down on the right.

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