Channel Islands National Park: Santa Barbara Island Loop Trail

Santa Barbara Island is the smallest island in the Channel Islands National Park. It's the most remote and furthest offshore, roughly 45 miles. One loop trail covers the one-square-mile islet. The windswept isle is home to seals, sea lions, seabirds and the secretive island night lizard.
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Santa Barbara Island is the smallest island in the Channel Islands National Park. It's the most remote and furthest offshore, roughly 45 miles. One loop trail covers the one-square-mile islet. The windswept isle is home to seals, sea lions, seabirds and the secretive island night lizard.

134 - After the Island Packers boat drops you off at the Landing Cove, hike up the steps/trail to the top of the marine terrace where the ranger's quarters are and interpretive signs and maps detail the hike.

135 - Head west past the ranger's quarters with the campground on your left.

136 - At the T-junction head south and to the left to another marine terrace. Listen for thousands of California sea lions bellowing below and to your left.

137 - At the Y-junction bear left and to the south. You'll come to a series of stakes marking the trail. Easy to follow as there are no trees or bushes on this island.

138 - There's a bench here to sit on with fantastic overlook of the Pacific Ocean. You can view the sea lion rookery from here and see Catalina Island to the south.

139 - Head south to Sutil Rock, about an eighth of a mile offshore. Watch swell and currents from the west and south slam this broad rock outcropping, a favorite of roosting seabirds like western gulls and pigeon guillemots.

140 - After a short but steep ascent west, the track levels out and heads east to more stunning, rugged scenery.

141 - Hike along the apex of the island still bearing east. This vantage point offers an entire view of the island.

142 - Head west and to the left toward a lower marine terrace, following the easy switchbacks to a bluff. Carefully skirt the edge of the bluff to see more sea lions and beautiful secnery of offshore reefs, waves and rocky pinnacles.

143 - At the T-junction bear left ascending back up a steep ridge across several long switchbacks to the apex of the island.

144 - At the Y-junction bear right past a stalks of coreopsis, a California native flower down to Arch Point.

145 - At Arch Point you'll see to the south the Landing Cove where kayakers and sea lions play in the protected natural harbor.

146 - At the Y-junction bear left past the ranger's quarters back down to the Landing Cove.

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 8.9

Waypoints

146

Location: 33.480904, -119.031019

16-OCT-09 4:15:29PM

145

Location: 33.486258, -119.030403

16-OCT-09 4:06:48PM

144

Location: 33.483752, -119.034324

16-OCT-09 3:56:10PM

143

Location: 33.480677, -119.03671

16-OCT-09 3:50:24PM

142

Location: 33.476057, -119.037397

16-OCT-09 3:19:14PM

141

Location: 33.47313, -119.039958

16-OCT-09 3:13:43PM

140

Location: 33.471868, -119.041528

16-OCT-09 3:08:49PM

139

Location: 33.468176, -119.039418

16-OCT-09 3:01:05PM

138

Location: 33.47254, -119.032735

16-OCT-09 2:44:46PM

137

Location: 33.478452, -119.034007

16-OCT-09 2:29:55PM

136

Location: 33.480883, -119.030996

16-OCT-09 2:23:25PM

135

Location: 33.480768, -119.029704

16-OCT-09 2:20:37PM

134

Location: 33.481558, -119.029591

16-OCT-09 2:13:57PM

ChuckGraham_SBIsle_IMG_034.jpg

Location: 33.481818, -119.029441

Hiking up from Landing Cove on the south side of SB Island, the only place to access the island from the Island Packers boat.

ChuckGraham_SutilIsland_IMG_030.jpg

Location: 33.46886, -119.039311

Great vantage point of Sutil Rock. On a clear day you can see Catalina, San Clemente and San Nicholas Islands further south.

ChuckGraham_SBIsle_IMG_024.jpg

Location: 33.481245, -119.03635

Overlook at Elephant Seal Cove, a popular haul out for migrating northern elephant seals.

ChuckGraham_SBIsle_IMG_032.jpg

Location: 33.473191, -119.032445

Another fantastic overlook, this one watches over thousands of California sea lions

ChuckGraham_SBIsle_IMG_027.jpg

Location: 33.476377, -119.037251

This shot is below Signal Peak, the highest point on the island at 634 feet.