Channel Islands National Park: Yellow Banks

Explore an abandoned ranch, island fauna, cave-pocketed canyons, and a secluded beach on this 2-mile trek along southeastern edge of Santa Cruz Island.
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Explore an abandoned ranch, island fauna, cave-pocketed canyons, and a secluded beach on this 2-mile trek along southeastern edge of Santa Cruz Island.

-Mapped by Chuck Graham

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 2.9

Waypoints

YEL001

Location: 34.0228, -119.5449

From the tattered windmill at Smugglers Ranch and the Yellow Banks trailhead, hike west and follow the cattle road across a dry creekbed. After crossing the creek, the route begins to climb.

YEL002

Location: 34.02116, -119.5536

Continue up the cattle road to a ridgeline. An old, ranch-era fence will be to the right. Here, there are great views of canyon covered in native vegetations such as island oaks, manzanitas, and ironwoods.

YEL003

Location: 34.01816, -119.5544

Bear L @ the Y-junction, heading southeast on a singletrack trail with the ocean in clear view. Smugglers Cove is to the left; the west side of Anacapa Island is 3 miles southeast.

YEL004

Location: 34.01593, -119.5463

Follow the singletrack as it descends toward the ocean. Yellow Banks will come into view on the right.

YEL005

Location: 34.01488, -119.5454

Pass two olive trees, left over from the island's bygone ranching era.

YEL006

Location: 34.01345, -119.5456

Reach the beach is full of flotsam like cobblestones, driftwood, old fishermen nets, and buoys. Yellow Banks is south-southwest of the entrance to the beach. After exploring, retrace steps back to the trailhead.

Beach at Yellow Banks.jpg

Location: 34.0138941, -119.545455

More than likely, you'll have this rugged beach to yourself whlie visiting the southeast end of Santa Cruz Island.

Ranching and Trail to Yellow Banks.jpg

Location: 34.0217197, -119.5534372

Fencing from ranching era on islands is from the mid 1800s. The canyon is one of many to explore across the southeast end of the island.

Smugglers Ranch.jpg

Location: 34.0234982, -119.5445967

Smugglers Ranch was built in the late 1800s. Connector trail to Yellow Banks is to the left of this photo.

Figs and Raven.jpg

Location: 34.0184829, -119.5542526

There are no crows on the national park, but ravens are prevelent.